Covid-19 has exposed both opportunities and weaknesses in every organization. We’ve all been wondering what the new world will look like after the pandemic. What is the next normal? What will the future of work look like? No one knows the exact answers to these questions, but thankfully, the time is here to prepare for what your organization will look like as the pandemic eases in certain parts of the world.
Companies are finding that there are many reasons to create a hybrid workforce. The pandemic has brought to light the efficiencies of having people work from home instead of in the office full time. Employees learned the value of a flexible work environment including the time and money they save by not having to commute any further than their own home office. And employers are realizing that happy employees are productive employees.
According to McKinsey, “The future will be more hybrid. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the majority of organizations required employees to spend most of their time on-site. But as the pandemic eases, executives say that the hybrid model—in which employees work both remotely and in the office—will become far more common. The majority of executives expect that (for all roles that aren’t essential to perform on-site) employees will be on-site between 21 and 80 percent of the time, or one to four days per week.”
Few challenges employers have faced have been bigger than determining how to have people continue doing remotely the things they were doing in the office and face-to-face. But they have figured this out over the last 15 months. Now it’s time to figure out how or whether to bring people back into the office. This includes both employees and gig workers. Companies don’t want to cause their employees anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty by being unclear on what the new expectations are and how to continue to do their jobs effectively. Therefore, they need to meet this moment by embracing change and technology.
Although the hybrid approach has many benefits to both employees and employers, there are also some pitfalls that need to be addressed. Talent is scarce and skilled labor wages are increasing. Remote employees are experiencing burnout from a variety of causes. Many of those causes will resolve themselves with school and economic re-openings, but some of them need to be proactively handled. Technology is a concern if employees do not have the tools to do their jobs with speed and flexibility. Employers, recognizing the benefit that remote work options have for sourcing and retaining the best talent, are looking at upgrading technology to create a sustainable home workplace environment for their employees. Employers are also recognizing that they can expand their pool of gig worker talent by expanding their search to consider the best talent regardless of physical location. In order to experience these advantages, home workplaces need to be equipped with adequate broadband, appropriate cybersecurity and data privacy controls, as well as adequate communication and automation features. In finance and accounting, employees need to be able to do many things such as: execute and sign off on SOX and regulatory controls, close the books with speed and agility, plan, predict, and execute forecasts and outlooks, and communicate and collaborate about where things stand during the closing cycle without direct face-to-face interaction.
Innovating for Successful Remote Working
When looking to upscale or implement cybersecurity, data privacy controls, and advanced analytics, it is important to look at security access and identity management tools to meet all your hybrid workplace needs. From an accounting and finance perspective, these tools provide role access controls and the highest level of governance in the marketplace. With Cloud applications, you can benefit from AI and machine learning embedded in the digital enterprise. And you can access technology from any mobile device. This enables collaboration and accountability, making your organization more agile and resilient. This also allows your employees to spend more time working with customers and performing more value-added activities through actionable insight. In short, digital transformation creates resilience.