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Dhaka Tribune

OP-ED: Towards a hybrid work culture

How organizations can adapt to the new normal

Update : 07 Oct 2020, 12:15 AM

So it’s been more than six months -- we are living the pandemic of Covid-19, which has totally changed our work and daily lifestyle. 

Covid-19 was first detected in the Chinese city called Wuhan. Still, we are adjusting with it. Many people get infected and recover as well. Many have lost their lives due to coronavirus. Although the infection and death rates are a little lower now in many regions of the world, people are still getting infected and dying.

Meanwhile we are preparing ourselves for the second wave of corona, because winter is coming. Our honourable PM has already alerted us about it.

Scientists and pharmaceutical companies across the world are working tirelessly to invent vaccines for this deadly virus. Some of the vaccines are in its third or fourth clinical trials phase. Thus, at this point of time, we have nothing to do other than wear masks, follow a healthy lifestyle, maintain a healthy diet, sleep, stay active, and stay in touch with dear ones via the internet or phone.

Due to Covid-19, the economic condition across the world of every county went into a sharp fall. Big companies and/or organizations around the globe could not operate their business in a normal way, many of them became bankrupt and shut down their operations. As a result, many people lost their jobs and saw their incomes reduce.

On the other hand, to some companies, this pandemic came as an opportunity for business growth. They are mostly tech-related. They are also hiring a good number of people. There is no difference in that regard in Bangladesh either.

We are also reinventing our work in the new normal. We are in the process of making and adapting a hybrid work culture, ie both work from office (WFO) and work from home (WFH) or remotely. Now it can be easily said that the post-Covid-19 world won’t be the same again for office-goers, because hybrid work culture will remain and continue. 

Perhaps, many business organizations are already starting to rethink a few things. For example, do we really need this costly huge office space if some of our staff are able to deliver their work from home efficiently? As we know, huge office space means, huge rent, huge maintenance costs, and huge utility bills.

In the hybrid work culture, we should think more and more outside the box. Work from home doesn’t mean making someone a free bird. We should make sure that people working with you are committed, not complying. They are connected and engaged.

Disruption is everywhere, just think about a situation when you are in the middle of a Zoom meeting or at an important task, at a time a hawker is shouting on the street “aai murgi” … or your kid is constantly bothering you.  

We have to think more humanely now. When someone gets burnt out, as a manager/supervisor we have to listen to them generously and we should develop a tendency to ask them “how can I help you?” Be supportive.

Managing performance and productivity in the virtual environment no longer remains on the dictation of the managers whenever and wherever subordinates are doing their assigned tasks to meet a deadline. Because someone can do it in the morning or someone can do it at midnight to avoid disruptions as per their own situation. 

Diversity, inclusion, and belonging are the main mantras to run an organization now. 15-20 minutes, virtual tea/coffee breaks, or happy hours during or after an online meeting for asking casual questions is going to be a new normal thing. Similarly, introducing a virtual onboarding buddy for new hires could be useful.

In the hybrid work culture, depending on the job nature, some might need to come to the office regularly/often, and some might need to come to the office very seldom. Or some might need to do both alternatively, which is just fine -- it doesn’t mean someone has more importance and someone hasn’t.

Everyone is equally important and this should be made clear by the respective supervisor, otherwise people will start feeling low.

We should break the silo. Top management/executives should think about the business dynamics of their organization. If needed, the business vision can be reviewed and refined through virtual/horizontal integrations if budget permits. Or else, they should think about a diversification growth strategy by finding alternative revenue channels to run the business.

No matter what your position is in the organization, if you have an idea, just step in to share it. That might help to overcome the crisis.

Muhid Bhuiya has been a Human Resources Manager since 2010, and has worked in various industries in Bangladesh.

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