Who knew that efforts to future-proof work environments with hybrid practices would come to fruition during a devastating pandemic? Decades before COVID-19 would wreak global havoc, we were already, unknowingly, setting the foundation for recovery toward the next normal. The digital transformation of businesses helped many survive during the pandemic, albeit in circumstances different from what experts once imagined. This genius pivot by businesses shows that the human potential for reimagining and adapting to new environments can be greatly beneficial.
Although this fundamental shift does not present a one-size-fits-all solution, it does provide a blueprint for businesses. As each one comes up with their own style of hybrid operations, one fact is certain: there is no going back to the business practices we once knew. Businesses are now entering the “next normal” on a path lined with digitised operations. Now that we know how effective hybrid solutions are, why would we revert to pre-AI, pre-digital workforce practices?
Take a look at what this “next normal” means to businesses.
Remote work is here to stay
At the beginning of the global lockdowns, a few companies took a definitive step towards alternative work arrangements. Facebook, for one, announced that they would use the next decade to permanently shift their operations to accommodate a remote workforce. Similarly, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey told his employees, via email, that they could keep working from home even after the pandemic ends.
Other major companies—such as Google and Airbnb—are extending their back-to-office operations until at least the third quarter of 2021. And even then, the option to work from home part of the week is open.
Video content is king
If there is one thing the pandemic has revealed about marketing trends, it is that videos get the job done. Decades ago, marketers used videos to introduce their brand identity to their audience. Today, though, videos can do much more than that. They can also sell, perform customer service, help with fund-raising, and enrich a livestreamed event.
Hybrid events amp up inclusivity and reach
Thanks to technology, events are being reinvented. Instead of giving just one event experience, hybrid events provide two—a physical one and a virtual one. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this set up is necessary for health and safety. However, as event organisers have discovered, hybrid events also increase their reach, and are just as effective as physical events.
Additionally, with the physical events pre-pandemic, attendees were limited to those who could go to the venue. Hybrid events, on the other hand, are not limited to physical attendance. Livestreaming the event draws in audiences who cannot leave their homes, essentially doubling your attendance.
Work policies are now people-centric
Companies did consider employees’ needs before the pandemic. However, today, employers have a renewed focus on these needs. As businesses shuttered at the beginning of 2020, the only way employers could see their business eventually opening was to ensure that their people were safe. After all, how would their business stay afloat if not for their people?
Hence, employers are placing a premium on job security. They have established employee-relief funds. Additionally, they are raising salaries of frontline workers, and are making sure employees stay on the payroll despite lockdowns.
The physical health of everyone in the company is also being prioritised. Companies keep work areas sanitised, provide medical assistance, and make sure the mental health of each one is given attention.
No turning back
Now that we have seen how effectively and efficiently we can all function when fully immersed in the hybrid age, businesses are settling comfortably. While the world is still adjusting to this necessary shift, it is, nevertheless, committed to moving forward with it. This is the next normal. It was a long time coming, but we are now ready.