COVID-19 has led to severe disruption in businesses across sectors. Industries such as hospitality, retail, travel have come to a grinding halt. But, as businesses respond to the crisis, there is significant learning as organisations switched literally overnight to the new way of work. They moved their entire workforce to a remote work model to maintain social distancing norms. All meetings and discussions started happening over collaboration tools such as Webex, Microsoft Teams, Skype.
Deloitte's report 'Future of Work accelerated: Learnings from the COVID 19 Pandemic' found that leaders are already seeing the benefits of this 'forced adoption' of technology and the new way of work. The report finds 70% CXOs have reported no impact or increase in individual employee productivity. Employee productivity in certain roles have increased as a result of remote working, especially job roles that require cognitive and creative thinking, independent/project-based work and have low dependence on physical proximity. This is in functions, such as product design, customer service, finance, and content creation.
A whopping ninety per cent CXOs say their teams are putting in more working hours and there has been significantly less absenteeism, during the crisis. Also, they report that there is an increased use of collaboration tools and they are seeing positive benefits from it. While the collaboration tools were there earlier, COVID led to their forced adoption due to much less or lack of choice. But, it has broken significant old mindsets. 60% CXOs have reported improvement in the degree of collaboration, not just within, but across teams as well.
In fact, they have started finding virtual meetings more efficient. Decision making is faster,as meetings are structured with pre-defined duration and agenda. ~75 percent CXOs report that face-to-face connects have in-built inefficiencies, which are eliminated in remote models. One of the key reasons behind the success is how this change in working models is not led by a single person, a HR head or IT head but managers and leaders have taken the onus of driving this change upon themselves ensuring the seamless transition, says Nikhil Kolur, Director, Deloitte India.
Team leads are stepping up to ensure the mental well being of the workforce in the new way of working. Many managers are conducting daily connects, team catch-ups and one-on-one meetings with the workforce to understand and resolve challenges. Moving on, 72% CXOs also believe that the role of the team lead is going to be the most important in leading the organisation through the change.