The Covid 19 global pandemic has changed the total dynamic of the workplace. It has upended long-established views and perspectives about work and productivity – maybe forever.
According to a survey conducted by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, regular work-at-home arrangements have increased by 216 percent since 2005. This is a significant growth that is 54 times faster than the self-employed population, which rose by 4 percent over the same period.
This trend is reflective of the changing views of working from home and telecommuting. The pandemic has forced us to rethink the definitions of what productivity means. Before the pandemic, there was still a prevalent view that an employee can only be productive mostly when they are within the four walls of their office. While there are certainly advocates for telecommuting because of the inherent benefits it possesses—lower overhead for the company, decreased stress brought by traffic, and better work-life balance—it was not a widely popular philosophy. Only the most progressive companies had robust work-at-home or telecommuting policies.
But because of the safety concerns caused by the pandemic and strict quarantine protocols put in place by various governments all over the world, telecommuting has become the norm. And with this is the realization that there are tangible benefits to this work setup.
The rise of hybrid working arrangements
The new realities organizations are now facing are melding the old, established practice of working in an office and the new practice of telecommuting. This has been evidenced by the significant increase in the number of companies that are now implementing or looking into hybrid working arrangements for their workers.
In a study released by Robert Half, almost half of the employees they surveyed (49 percent) said they like a hybrid work arrangement more than the old “working style” or full remote work. More revealing is the finding that of the employees surveyed 34 percent said they will quit their jobs if they are asked to work full-time in the office.
The hybrid working model is now getting more traction not just among employees but even among the C-suite. This is due to the realization that this flexible work arrangement does not impact productivity levels among those who work remotely. This was a major concern before and the main source of resistance among decision-makers in organizations. In a survey conducted by WeWork, 79 percent of C-Suite plan to implement flexible work arrangements for their employees.
Workforce management systems
Because of the inevitable change in work dynamics, organizations need to adjust how they manage their workforce more efficiently. Now more than ever, workforce management systems are becoming more integral in ensuring that hybrid work arrangements in organizations are managed well.
Effective workforce management means being able to adjust to the unique peculiarities of a hybrid work arrangement. Guidelines need to be clearly set to ensure that tasks are identified – and which ones need to be done remotely or in the office. Time and resource management are more crucial with hybrid work and workforce management systems can play a significant role in helping the organization achieve this well.
Recent advancements in workforce management systems have helped organizations manage their organizations more efficiently and be able to adapt swiftly to hybrid work arrangements.
One of the thorny issues that have often come up when the subject of remote work is brought up is time management. This has become even more of an issue now because hybrid work means having to take into consideration the unique situation of having to track efficiency in two different locations.
Being able to accurately track when an employee begins and ends their shift at work is crucial for hybrid work arrangements. You want to be fair to employees but also be sure that time allocations for work are being met. Using a high rated time clock app is a great way of monitoring employee productivity and this is now included in robust workforce management systems.
The best apps out there even go beyond mere time-keeping functions. It is far more intelligent with features like monitoring employee wellness before they begin their shifts. The system would then prevent the employee from clocking in if they have concerning symptoms and will automatically alert their managers. The system can then swap shifts in real-time.
Navigating through mandated policies for employees can be tricky sometimes. But the best workforce management systems have advanced their features to include this.
With compliance monitoring, the process of ensuring that wage and hour laws are complied with automatically. Break reminders can be automated. Systems can even give out an alert if a break has been missed.
Even the calculation of premiums can be automatically tracked and monitored, which would lessen the headaches for the administration and HR departments.
The workforce management systems of yore were disjointed systems that operate in silos. An app for employees will be different from the apps used for managing schedules, etc.
New learnings in how organizations work and how more intuitive systems can affect productivity have resulted in a holistic approach to WMS. It is not uncommon now to see systems where employees are given a level of control that is unprecedented. For example, more tools are now provided to employees and teams that will allow them to swap shifts on the fly. This enables them to better manage their own time and of the team’s time, minimizing downtime. This also gives them a level of flexibility that would be unheard of years ago.
New systems also integrate a feature that is usually found in separate apps – a task management and communication system. This is actually a no-brainer feature that was sorely lacking in old iterations of WMS. By fully integrating these productivity features – employees can monitor their tasks, managers can assign tasks, and the whole team can communicate wherever they are, without leaving the same app they use for scheduling their shifts.
Advancements in Workforce Management Systems have made embracing the new work realities brought on by the Covid pandemic. These timely new advancements ensure that work and productivity do not suffer even if organizations embrace a new way of working.