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Will the new ‘normal’ of work be a hybrid solution? (Includes interview)

A return to normalcy could be with us at the end of 2021, given the pace of vaccine roll-out (at least in the more wealthy countries on the planet). However, it is unlikely that work will ever quite be the same again. In other words, the future of work will be re-shaped. This leads to the essential question: What does ‘normal’ actually mean in a post-pandemic world and how can businesses start to prepare?

There will no doubt be competing perspectives on this question. Put forward one perspective is Peter Jackson, CEO of the visual collaboration platform Bluescape. Jackson sets out how the pandemic has laid the foundation for the future of work.

In this future-state model, Jackson is of the view that hybrid work is here to stay. Based on this supposition, Jackson tells Digital Journal that winning companies will not be those that make it back to the office first. Instead the optimal approach, and hence the more successful future model company, is a firm that can merge remote and on-site work tactics most effectively.

Jackson’s key points are:

Eliminating the traditional, 9-5 workday, once and for all

Jackson says: “The pandemic has ushered in a new way of working – one that is more flexible and employee-friendly. As we move forward, companies would be wise to stop measuring work to time and location and instead, give employees the freedom to work when and where they are most productive. Because at the end of the day, all that matters is getting the job done, not holding employees to a strict time regimen. The new normal is when we can accomplish our responsibilities on our own terms and work collaboratively without having to depend on geographical restrictions.”

Finding new ways to use co-working space

Jackson explains: “As the workplace continues to decentralize, so will co-working spaces. As such, companies will need to evaluate new ways to use office space – and ensure they have a plan in place to provide safe meeting spaces when bringing employees together in-person. It will be imperative for companies to rely on (and implement) technology that unites people no matter where they are: in different rooms in one office, at home, or some mix in-between.”

Paying even more attention to data security and employee safety

Jackson tells Digital Journal: “Even as companies get more comfortable in a hybrid or remote setting, we cannot loosen our grip on security. It’s when we stop paying attention that we put the company (and its employees) at risk. At the same time, transparency into how companies monitor/collect employee data is becoming more important. A black box policy won’t cut it, and it’s up to leaders to implement technology and policies that balance privacy and transparency, while ensuring employee experience remains at the center.”

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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