COVID-19 pandemic has irrevocably altered our traditional workplace status quos to modern, flexible alternatives. It has ushered in the era of hybrid work models that are being adopted in different avatars by companies globally.
A hybrid work model is a system where employees work partly in a physical office and partly work remotely, depending on the business requirements and overall productivity. Though hybrid working isn't entirely a new concept, it gained spotlight amid global pandemic challenges, challenging the universal belief that an office is just a physical space.
Hybrid workplace is now a permanent variable, especially in the technology sectors, and companies that haven’t already, are now aligning their business trajectories with this new way of working. A recent NASSCOM survey reported that almost 70% of the companies are trying to make a hybrid framework more effective in the long run.
Though the economy has begun to recover due to intensive vaccination programs, it still seems difficult for many people to return to office in full capacity.
Setting the foundation for future of work
There are reports and increasing individual testimonies that remote work helps to boost performance and productivity, with an added benefit of work flexibility. Even though there is an accelerated demand for remote work, especially from digital talent, there is also a persisting attachment to physical workspaces. As per a JLL HR survey, more than 70% of the participants agreed that an office environment helps to connect with teammates, collaborate on crucial projects, and interact with leadership. These dual philosophies are driving the HR heads and corporate management teams to design models that can combine the best of both worlds.
Every sector has responded differently to this new reality, but the core of most hybrid models is common- businesses must prioritize people, not just profits, and factor in the intrinsic value of flexibility to manage a truly healthy work-life balance.
This foundation that HR leaders are building today will set the benchmarks for the future of work in India and globally.
Hybrid work models in the agtech sector – the future of agriculture
In the first two months of lockdown, the agriculture sector faced huge losses, from farmers struggling to procure/sell their products to consumers scrambling for quality foods. It was the moment of truth for the agtech industry to act as the catalyst for circumventing pandemic-induced challenges and help the agriculture sector stay in the green. At the same time, most of the agtech sector was quick to transition its workforce to work from home.
This helped to drive the push from a traditional market mindset (example- mandis) to a digital platform, for addressing the issues hampering supply chain, logistics, procurement, assessment, monitoring, among others. Fast forward to the end of 2021, there is a growing recognition and appreciation that agtech is the future of agriculture. But the on-going workplace transformation into the hybrid culture will be challenging for the agtech sector.
Agtech exists at the crossroads of conventional agricultural and the contemporary technology sectors. The hybrid model then has to factor in the fact that people with predominant expertise in the agricultural domain may not be technologically inclined, and vice versa. So to manage productivity at a large scale, the hybrid models must leverage the strength of right talent, right partnerships and innovative technological solutions to make the best of both the worlds.
Working in a hybrid reality
Similarly, hybrid work models offer lucrative opportunities and benefits to all companies, especially to the small-scale start-ups, in terms of borderless hiring, a fluid workforce, lower overhead costs and access to an unlimited talent pool. Another added benefit is the opportunity to build flexible work schedules with solutions tailored to the needs of teams and even individuals.
It is evident that an underinvestment in remote or hybrid work models will bottleneck not only productivity but also growth opportunities. The changed dynamics of shifting workspaces from physical to virtual setting is a trend which is here to stay. The companies that recognise and adopt it will join the wagon to a high-growth path. Others will also have to catch up soon.