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News and resources on the latest trends in IT training and professional development

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When the world shut down, it was hard to imagine what the future of work would look like. 2020 forced businesses to transform their business models, processes, and operations to survive. Now, as we transition into the tail end of COVID, organizations are faced with three different work models:

  1. On-premises: Also known as going back to the office and the way things once were. For some, this is the best option for anyone who wants to return to a work culture that their employees can lean on. 
  2. Hybrid work: The buzzword. The model where there is a mix of employees in the office and employees working from home. Many companies have also given their employees the option of choosing which days they want to stay home and which days they want to work.
  3. Remote work: Work from home describes work being done remotely, instead of at an office. Many organizations transitioned their employees from the office to a work-from-home model during the COVID.

Drivers and Alternatives

Having different approaches and alternatives to your transition can aid employees and management when weighing options. COVID created an urgency for IT departments globally. Now, organizations must assess their work and make decisions based on these drivers:

  1. Executives’ attitudes toward virtual work: Because Executives and IT departments were informed by local governments to stay home due to the pandemic, your future workplace now depends on your senior management and their attitude towards virtual work.
  2. The company’s economic condition: A company’s economic position can be an additional driver in the right or wrong direction. Is the company struggling? Does the company need less office space? Asking the correct questions can help make the decision on which model your organization should choose.
  3. The company’s core product line: If the company's product line is virtual, like an IT consulting firm, there is a high chance you'll be able to move forward with remote work. If you work for a manufacturing company and need people in the physical workplace, assessing the organization can help when choosing your model.
  4. Industry-specific trends: Many industries have no problem transitioning back into the office. However, there are many high-level tech companies that are beginning to see pushback from their employees.
  5. Employee willingness: Finding tech talent is hard to do, especially in uncertain transitional periods like this. Accommodating the needs of your employees and finding a comfortable middle ground is essential for the organization’s future.
  6. Post-COVID workplace culture: Whether your company has become a fine-tuned machine or is struggling with efficiency, assessing the last 18 months can be vital when deciding on your organization's next steps.

Finding a middle ground to stand on could be difficult for some, but taking a step back to look at what your company has accomplished in the past year can help drive you toward success.

The Future IT Workplace

Getting everyone to work from home was no small feat. Continuing down the path of improvement will be just as difficult. So, what does this mean and how can you get ahead in this period of transition?

  1. Don't be a late adopter of technology: Late technology adopters will lose forward-thinking talent. Now that there is a "war on talent," making sure your team is ready and prepared for anything means organizations must take the first steps toward next-generation technology like the cloud.
  2. Good news for early and mainstream technology adopters: If you were on the right side of history and were already investing in next-generation technology, then COVID accelerated your business processes and aided in your workplace's digital transformation. Digital transformations also created a more significant job pool for hybrid and virtual jobs to be filled. With no need to go into an office, companies can hire top talent from miles away.

In the not-so-far future, organizations will have to adopt enhanced virtual communication products like Microsoft Teams to stay in touch with co-workers in and out of the office. Many organizations have embraced the shift to remote by increasing the number of employees from different areas. Opening the talent pool creates a broader range of talent that isn't limited to a physical location. As a direct result of this, companies will begin establishing continual reviews of work-from-home policies.

Hybrid work isn't a new concept; in fact, many high-level companies had specific work-from-home days in the past. As we transition into post-COVID life, surveys are finding employees ready to embrace the hybrid work model. In "The Return to the Workplace" report released in March 2021 by software vendor Envoy, 48% of the 1,000 employees surveyed wanted to work some days remotely and some days in the office. PwC’s U.S. Remote Work Survey released in January 2021 found that 55% of employees want to work remotely at least three days a week once the pandemic receded.

Creating a balance between work and home was difficult for many to achieve when lockdown began. Now that we transformed our work model, it is time to change the way leaders think. How can organizations continue to support a hybrid workplace? What are the tools, policies, and processes that need to be re-thought to accommodate a hybrid workplace? Finding balance is never easy. As executives begin to embrace leading from a distance, many will face new challenges head-on.

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