Work culture: Then and Now

Work Life Balance

07 March 2018

Work culture: Then and Now

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Technology has brought the world closer, changing the way we live our lives now than, say, even 5 years back. The change is obvious in our approach towards work and the culture followed by a vast majority of our workplaces.

Imagine the numerous perks that your workplace offers. You enjoy flexible timings. The fact that geography is no longer a barrier is evident from the growing number of the workforce who prefer telecommuting and co-working to ensure that work meets life. You have lunch according to your convenience. You take an adequate number of breaks to return to work with a fresh mind, realizing that you are accountable for your tasks. All this, but not at the cost of productivity. On the contrary, these benefits ensure employee satisfaction that contributes to enhanced efficiency at work.

Traditional work culture, on the other hand, had not been as flexible as this. Right from the time for reaching the workplace, the way of addressing seniors to other parameters of work culture then, there were undisputable norms that couldn’t be overridden. Gradually, the importance of seamlessly integrating work into the conveniences and plans of our personal lives acted as a motivation for innovation. This introduced a drastic change in the way we work today.

Here’s a peek into some of the contrasts in work culture, then and now.

Addressing Seniors: Formal Vs Informal

Remember addressing your seniors as ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am’? There is a huge chance that you never have. You call them by their first names and what’s more, you even give them nicknames. However, calling your seniors by name was unimaginable even a few years back. Today, while some industries may be slower in adapting to this new work culture, it is gradually catching up with the rest. The informality builds camaraderie among teammates across levels and breaks down barriers, making work a positive experience.

Work from office Vs Flexible locations of work

Flexibility is the buzzword now and understandably so. Office spaces are increasingly becoming more receptive to the concept of ‘Work from Home’, freelancing and remote working. We are far ahead of days when operating from office was the only option because the other alternatives were an alien concept.  A wide range of media for communication and better connectivity is making this trend a reality. As a result, companies are also exploring these possibilities to ensure employee satisfaction and hire from a larger talent pool. If your work productivity improves, the location of work does not matter. Does it?

Work culture: Then and Now Image Courtesy: Pexels

9– to –5 Work Hours Vs Flexi Timings

Rigid 9-to-5 working hours is rapidly being replaced by flexible work hours. This is apparent from co-working spaces becoming a preferred option for many – companies and freelancers alike. This helps employees manage work according to their convenience. Who wouldn’t encourage flexible working hours if that improves work productivity without compromising on lives outside work? That way, companies and employees, both, get what they want.

Fixed Lunch Break Vs Flexi Lunch Time

Taking frequent breaks between tasks has become an integral part of our work schedules. In fact, frequent breaks are encouraged now. It gives us the time to stretch and take a break from staring at our computer screen, both of which are a boon for our health. It is also an opportunity to take our minds off work and come back rejuvenated. 9-to-5 work hours, which usually offered one break at a fixed time and for a particular time period, are becoming a story of the past.

Other Factors: Rigid Vs Flexible

Workplaces have moved beyond endorsing a culture where employees are appreciated for their ability to work without taking breaks or focusing on anything other than work. Discussions that do not concern work were discouraged. Listening to music or reading was a strict no-no. Workplaces are experiencing an apparent shift in this context too. While some workplaces have no qualms about their employees listening to music through earphones, some others have no restrictions from them playing music on high volume. Fun activities are organized and active participation in these events is appreciated. Co-working spaces ensure a vibrant work culture that enables co-workers to network with like-minded individuals, along with a host of other opportunities that help them in growing, both personally and professionally.

Work culture: Then and Now Image Courtesy: Pexels

5 Work Practices that will Stay with Us Post COVID-19

Work Life Balance

27 July 2020

5 Work Practices that will Stay with Us Post COVID-19

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

As the world order continues to change, pushing us to a whole new system of working, it has given rise to new trends and practices that will define the future of organizations. Employers will need to rethink operations with a new perspective, make it more purpose-driven, explore newer possibilities, and harness the potential of this new system to work and make it effective. From employee management to process planning, performance evaluation, and customer experience, major business functions are going to see a new day.

Some of the major long-term changes that are imminent are:

Being Digital-first

Businesses have been toying with the idea of transforming themselves to fit into the ever-expanding digital landscape. Now, it has become more of a need than a want. Particularly the customer-facing service industry has woken up to the critical benefits of being digital-first. By integrating cloud-based operations, process automation, machine learning, etc., businesses will not only improve their functions but will also manage their costs better, boost productivity, and balance human and tech resources.

Complete digitalization of day-to-day work practices will continue, whether it is in a physical or virtual office space. Daily functions like project management, customer/client interaction, evaluation, feedback, etc. will also see heavy usage of digital tools in the coming years.

Decentralized and distributed workforce

In the wake of the pandemic, businesses have learned that distributing your human resources will only make your business stronger. The virtual work environment will continue and provide more opportunities for temp roles, independent contractors, stay-at-home parents, etc., thus amplifying the culture of remote working. This will allow businesses to expand operations across geographies without any hefty establishment costs or entry barriers. Thus, the new workforce will be diverse in their skills and can support customer/client needs across different locations, eventually boosting production volumes.

Increased focus on employer branding

The new generation workforce seeks transparency, inclusivity, and security. And now more than ever due to a major health scare. Employees today want to be part of an organization that pays attention to their lives and not just job skills. Organizations which openly communicate about the physical and mental impact of the current situation will stand out to be the progressive ones. Focusing on establishing an employer brand that nurtures and nourishes its human resources, amid all odds, will also attract top talents when hiring and help retain them.

Transition from readiness to resistance

While operational efficiency is essential, resilience is needed to sustain the efficiency. And resilience comes from agility. As of today, companies that have made themselves adaptive to change are stronger than ever and are the ones who can thrive better in the future. The agility of business functions comes from cross-functional training and expanding skillsets of your workforce. There will be more emphasis on skill upgrade and flexible work practices so they can thrive despite disruptive scenarios.

Evolved work ethics

The pandemic has brought to light a lot of ethics concerns with respect to work practices, organizational decisions, and overall employer-employee experience. This has been a learning period for all, and organizations are now realizing its impact on the bottom line. In the coming time, we can expect to see more well-defined work ethics in terms of awareness and being proactive to health and safety, work-life balance, and improved organizational culture.

Some of these trends can be seen as an impact of current circumstances, while the others are only a step- up from earlier practices that were long due, only accelerated by the changing times. No matter what the cause, the effect will only be of an evolved work landscape.

How to keep your team connected when working remotely?

Work Life Balance

20 July 2020

How to keep your team connected when working remotely?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

In the wake of the global pandemic, many organizations are now working remotely from their homes. While the work environment has changed, the need to keep it running smoothly hasn’t. In fact, constant communication, especially within teams, has become more necessary than ever. Despite innovative tools and techniques, people still feel something is amiss in the new set up. Whether you are a seasoned remote worker or a WFH newbie, virtual team management could be a challenge and yet is vital to ensure that the new work setup is a success.

Here are a few tips to make your internal communication more effective and teams more collaborative.

Make the most of communication tools

While working from home, one of the major issues that both employers and employees face is staying connected constantly. Thanks to online communication tools that issue can be easily dealt with. As of today, almost every office operation can be managed using collaborative tools for project management, communication, meetings, and more. You might not have the flexibility to talk across your desks and get an instant response, but you can still recreate the same system using instant group messaging tools like Slack and Google Hangouts. To make the most of team meetings, use video calls and conferencing apps instead of audio-only options so you can maintain your original team environment.

Be responsive at all times

Whether you are a team lead or manager or just a team member, being responsive is vital to stay connected to your coworkers and ensure that work is flowing smoothly. However, since WFH keeps you away from a visible office environment, it can make you lax. To avoid that, be online at all times and respond to queries and approvals instantly, so your team knows you are around and available. It also helps in resolving issues and addressing problems without any time lapse.

Set meeting schedules

WFH or virtual office is still pretty new for a lot of people. To streamline the workday, it is important to set a schedule and maintain a routine, just like you would in a physical office space. If you used to have a daily team meeting at the start and end of the day, then continue to do so, only inform your team in advance and stick to the set times, unless, of course, there is an emergency.

Be proactive

Being proactive is the key to an organized work practice but more so when you are away from your team and other coworkers. When taking breaks, inform your team members, so everyone is aware and know when and when not to expect you. Encourage the same from other team members as well.

Be inclusive

Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. People might be working remotely, but they still have the need for socializing and sharing their day-to-day events. Encourage people to interact with their work buddies as much as possible. If feasible, plan group lunches on a video call and use the time to talk about things of common interest and bridge the gap that often comes with a virtual work environment. From problem-solving to brainstorming creative ideas, do it as a group, and bring the human touch to your team communication.

Making your team members feel connected and included at all times, especially in these challenging circumstances, would only ensure better coordination and thus higher productivity.

6 Must-Have Remote Work Tools to Help You Work Seamlessly from Home

Work Life Balance

24 June 2020

6 Must-Have Remote Work Tools to Help You Work Seamlessly from Home

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Although the idea of virtual office space and remote working is no unicorn in the professional landscape, the Coronavirus pandemic has pushed us to adopt this culture more widely and seriously. And now that it has become a norm, it’s important to master the practice and use the right tools to increase productivity and continue to work efficiently.

Here are some of the best remote work tools to have:

TeamViewer

If you need basic desktop access, this is the perfect tool to use. With instant file transfers, clipboard transfers, and video-enabled interactions, you can easily replace your physical office space. Maintain social distance and yet be present for your team. TeamViewer is available for Windows, OS X, iOS, Linux, and Android, and it is free for personal use.

Slack

Contrary to its name, this communication platform will never let you slack on your work updates. You can create workgroups, lock confidential messages, alter message retention for security, and integrate it with your Google Drive, Dropbox, and Mailchimp for instant file transfers and uploads. It also allows you to enable instant notifications on your email or phones while you are away from your work desk.

Zoom

Video conferencing is now made easy with apps like Zoom. It is best for teams that require frequent meetings. It’s an open-source app, available for all devices, so you don’t have to spend a dime. You can enable chats while conferencing and ensure 360-degree communication. Zoom meetings are now password protected, which makes it more secure than ever.

Drawpile whiteboard

Sometimes, while briefing, it is easier to draw it out than talk or write. Whether you miss scribbling notes in a meeting or pen down creative ideas, Drawpile lets you present your thoughts graphically. It also fulfils the need of a whiteboard in a meeting room. It’s real-time, allows collaboration from other connected users and is great for designers, planners, and work that requires artistic application/visual presentation.

Basecamp

Ever since it was launched, this web-based project management platform has been a go-to tool for people working virtually. With key features like task management, instant messaging, email, team collaboration, file sharing, message scheduling, creating reports and more, it makes your day to day office tasks easy and efficient. For an annual cost of $99, and available for unlimited users, Basecamp also makes it worth the investment.

Toggl

While instant communication and seamless project management are essential in a virtual workspace, it is also important to keep track of how everyone is utilizing the available time. Toggl works as a time tracker to assess the work hours spent and find out how productive you have been. It is great for time-bound projects, and it’s a free tool, available for all devices.

Whether you are working out of your home office space, or in a co-working space, these essential work tools and software will keep you connected to your teams and make your remote working as much effective as the physical one.