The pandemic has altered our work-lives permanently, with a staggering amount of 97% of employees choosing to continue working remotely for at least 2-3 days in a week. And why not - we’re no longer spending hours commuting; companies are saving on overhead costs.
Global leaders like Slack, Twitter and Salesforce have already announced their plans for hybrid work. But more importantly, apart from the obvious cost and time benefits to both companies and their employees, working remotely has successfully obliterated geographical and opportunity barriers, greatly furthering the cause of accessibility, inclusion, and flexibility. Remote work options have opened the door to a world of opportunities for many underrepresented demographics, fostering general wellness and productivity in the process.
Companies now have access to talent from tier 2 and 3 cities:
Earlier, companies were restricted in their hiring process. They had access only to applicants in metropolitan cities, located within a 30-mile radius. With physical presence no longer being compulsory, companies, especially in tech, now have access to a highly diverse and unrestricted talent pool comprising professionals from tier 2 & 3 cities. Tech giants around the world are able to scout highly qualified talent from cities like Pune, Mysore and Indore. Additionally, with zero costs of setting up physically, global expansion has become increasingly achievable.
This increase in accessibility has been life-changing for talent from tier 2 & 3 cities, with a marked rise in their standard of living. Thanks to remote working, a dev-ops engineer in Kanpur gets to work with mammoths in San Francisco’s Bay area. In the last 1.5 years, remote workers have been moving back to their hometowns from metro-cities, effectively reducing their cost of living.
Rise in the number of women in tech jobs:
While most companies maintain an equitable gender ratio in the 25-35 age group, it is common to see fewer women in leadership roles in technology. Sadly, even in this day and age, a sizeable chunk of the female workforce has to battle multiple hurdles to gain access to opportunities that are easily available to their male counterparts.
For example, working mothers often have to settle for lower paychecks when they resume working post maternity, owing to a time and skill gap. As primary care-givers for young children and elders, the flexibility of being able to choose their working hours and spaces, acts as a catalyst in helping women relaunch their careers after a break.
Needless to say, a more inclusive, empowered and gender-balanced workforce is an asset to every company. It is positively refreshing to see many new age companies champion the cause of inclusion by providing support to women in tech through upskilling programs, flexible hours, childcare and elder-care support.
Flexibility is key to productivity:
As we set up our home offices and figured out weekly agendas on Zoom, we realised that it was possible to extract the same (if not greater) level of productivity even when we didn’t adhere to the traditional 9 to 5.
Flexibility at the workplace has enabled companies to onboard highly talented individuals, who greatly value the ability of being able to decide what they work on, when they work, and where they work from. A recent phenomenon is the rise of the “digital nomad”, referring to individuals who choose to work while being location independent, choosing to travel and explore while simultaneously working. As people who were used to conference rooms begin to chart the territories of video conferencing and alternative communication, they find themselves having greater agency over their work-life balance, in turn, adding to their overall productivity.
Global work has revolutionized in the past year, with individuals taking greater control over their career decisions. Workforces today value flexibility, benefits and opportunities for skill-growth over fat paychecks. From here on, leaders must focus on being human-centric, inculcating the goals of accessibility, inclusion and flexibility into their agendas in order to thrive in the future of work.