We are heading into the 3rd Year of the Covid Outbreak. Ever since the pandemic struck, things have never been the same. Everything and Every Sector is getting prepared (or) already prepared themselves for the New Normal. The pandemic doesn't seem to desolate as well. It has become another part of our long laundry list of diseases and looks like it will co - exist with variant after variant.
As the might of the pandemic has subsidized, companies across the globe have slowly started in person operations from their offices. The pandemic has introduced us to a lot of new technical ways in carrying out our processes and activities. As is always the case, we are adept at learning new technologies and processes, when the situation demands and necessitates. Suddenly, many of the in person meetings across organizations seemed to have been reduced drastically and are made viable virtually. Even when the pandemic was at its full force, the business engine of our Global Inc. made sure it kept running and found innovative ways in continuing the operations, which kept the economic balance in place.
This was largely because of the technological factors that helped in ensuring the business continuity process. We saw several technological companies operating in the workspace and workforce tools pivot and deliver solutions catering to the pandemic infused new normal and work conditions pertaining to it. The last major epidemic we encountered was the Spanish Flu in 1918, which as per the NBER report took a toll of an estimated 2.1% of the Global Population and estimated that in a typical country it reduced the per capita GDP by 6%. Fast forward to the current pandemic level, the global growth level is expected to decelerate from 5.5% in 2021 to 4.1% in 2022 as per a World Bank Report. Such is the transformation in economic counter effects that technology has helped us with, in spite of such a major pandemic outbreak.
In the case of a work week, the concept of a 5 day work week started more than a century back in 1908. It became a major mainstream practice, when Henry Ford closed the Ford Plant during Saturdays and Sundays from 1926. This has been the process and practice, companies across the globe have been following all along.
In recent times, companies and certain geographical territories have started practicing and experimenting with a 4 day work week. This method seems to be proving them beneficial and productive as well.
This method seems to be bearing its fruits without the intervention of any major technological or process change within the organizations concerned, as the reduced work time is creating a more vibrant, stress free and productive environment. A trial research conducted in a New Zealand based firm has found out that 78% of the workforce is more productive and is able to have a better work life balance as well. The primary concern and challenge an organization would feel and think of is the hit in its production capacities and the output. This is a century old practice which is being put to adjudication here. The psychological and operational effects it can create are immense. It takes great courage and high visionary thought leaders to experiment and implement something of this sort. But, the modern workforce which is profound in its need for instant gratification at almost everything is adept in adopting these standards. Also, given the technological progress that we have made in the past century is huge. There are numerous technical abilities that can drive this notion ahead.
Virtual Reality is one such technological factor, which can drive this to a greater extent. Ranging from VR based training to collaborative remote operations that can be done with the combined forces like VR & AR, this does seem to be a rather actionable insight to act upon. VR has the potential to increase productivity and output way better than some of the earlier technologies. The Internet has been one of the greatest treasure troves of technology, which enabled and transformed many of the other technological and operational practices. VR is the next form of the Internet, that can create and impact many of our future organizational practices. We are already talking about a future Metaverse, which will transcend geographies and boundaries significantly. It will make many of the current processes and practices obsolete, just like how paper trail has almost become rudimentary in the face of email.
The greatest plus side of Virtual Reality is its ability to block the visual contact with the physical world, this is more effective in this context. It avoids any kind of deviation and keeps you focused on the work at hand and increases the PQ - Productivity Quotient. It also enables remote operations and collaboration as much as any other physical activity. The workforce team will be more engaged and connected at the same time than the current physical self. Employee Engagement, Retention can all touch new highs for the organizations and management concerned. Suddenly, people will never feel dull and bored working again, as they would love what they do and be engaged like never before. The possibilities and activities will keep going on, as the technology progresses and there will be newer and efficient ways of doing things with VR. It becomes more interesting and beneficial, when it's combined with other complementary technological domains.
This list isn't exhaustive and can be further added upon, but there has to be a beginning and definitive action somewhere which can demonstrate meaningful results. We would love to hear your thoughts on this and have a meaningful dialogue for the greater benefit of the global workforce audience. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments and would love to take this forward.
"Vision is the ability to see past, what you don't see."
There was once a visionary named Henry Ford, who changed the paradigm of work week. Let us unite for a greater future for generations to come.