Just like all the other aspects of life, the workplace is also drastically evolving, marking the emergence of new work modes. Organizations across the globe are having serious second thoughts about their standard 9 to 5 culture.
Almost two years into the worldwide pandemic, the shift to remote work has become a valid alternative for most companies (both large and small). In the light of COVID-19, numerous employers have come to the conclusion that remote work can be highly effective. According to surveys conducted by PwC, 83% of business executives in the US claim that shifting to remote working has been fruitful in terms of productivity and overall job performance. Additionally, 54% of employees would want to resume their remote work even after the pandemic is over if they have the choice. As a result, it’s clear that where work is done is not as substantial as employers once thought.
Attitudes towards working from home for both employers and employees intersect as they seek flexibility in a post-pandemic dimension. Therefore, questions arise about the future of work. There are many predictions concerning what work habits, schedules, places, and practices will look like in the long run. Opinions may vary; however, many organizations can agree on one thing: major modifications in work culture are on the horizon. These changes are most likely to be influenced by innovations, automation, effective communication, and the purpose of revolutionizing the traditional idea of “work”.
The most common work modes
There are several modes of work that set not only the process but also the behavior patterns in a business setting. The most common ones that we will go over in this article are hierarchy and versatile. Versatile in its turn, has several subcategories:
- Asynchronous work
- Fully remote
The hierarchical structure as described in its name, defines the organization’s hierarchy. It’s based on the chain of command showing the flow of instructions passed down from the senior managers to the general employees underneath them.
In versatile organizations, the structure and work mode is a lot more flexible. There are standard procedures in place but they are not enforced at the cost of flexibility. Versatile companies tend to adapt and respond to new changes.
In addition, ever since the coronavirus outbreak, a couple of new organizational structures have emerged. As a result, lots of doors have opened for both business executives and employees. One of them is asynchronous work. It refers to the workflow in a team where members work during different times of the day.
Breaking down versatile structures and work modes
An essential component of remote work culture is asynchronicity. Asynchronous communication is referred to the transfer of messages between team members whenever their time is convenient. Whereas synchronous communication requires immediate response to messages. Examples of asynchronous communication include sending emails and voice messages.
Asynchronicity is practiced when working remotely or both from home and the office. In a remote or hybrid work modes, employees have the flexibility to create their schedule based on their priorities. Therefore, they have the right to respond to messages according to their schedule. In the traditional office culture, employees tend to practice asynchronous communication as well, according to their tasks and rhythm of working.
Second comes remote work, a working arrangement that provides the flexibility of professionals to work outside of the typical office environment. The concept of remote work is based on the fact that where work is done is not as important as people think. Most of us are very familiar with this mode but we often underestimate its benefits.
Lastly, the hybrid work model refers to a flexible work policy that gives power to the employees on deciding when and where they would like to work. It typically entails balance between fully remote and the traditional office environment.
The difference between hierarchical and versatile structures and work modes
Organizational structures vary, and their characteristics significantly impact the level of flexibility in terms of collaboration.
In a hierarchical structure, for instance, the employees are divided into departments, and they are required to report to their manager. Afterwards, the manager will pass the report to their seniors. The organizational structure is based on several levels, and the highest level holds authority. This work mode, however, is prone to creating poor communication and inflexibility in engagement between employees of different departments and managers.
There is also a risk of getting used to one’s “manager’s signature.” It means that each manager usually imposes their own sets of rules and procedures to regulate the operations in their department. If an employee is assigned to collaborate with another group, the discrepancies in the set of rules will cause confusion and lack of productivity in the collaboration process. In hierarchical organizations, employees have limited opportunities to participate in the company-wide decision-making processes. This ultimately leads to reduced collaboration within the company.
In a versatile organizational structure, the highlight is on collaboration and collective decision making. Versatile work mode suggests that the organization functions horizontally instead of vertically. There is minimal to zero top-down management. Teams working on different projects and with various clients, have flexibility and agency to make their own decisions.
Asynchronous work mode
The asynchronous work strongly emphasizes collaboration in a group where members communicate and work together from different countries and time zones, be that in-office, remotely, or combining both. In addition, it breaks the traditional working hours in which all staff members need to be available. Asynchronous work mode is possible through flexibility and responsibility. Employees respond at their earliest convenience rather than requiring individuals to reply instantly to group discussions. Even though there are no set hours, the manager still expects the employees to “show up” and generate results.
Asynchronous work mode heavily relies on technology. With the latest innovations, the workflow of asynchronous mode is carried out easily through a variety of tools, such as emails, task management platforms, instant message apps, document sharing platforms or collaborative spaces like Microsoft Teams that encompass all of the aforementioned. The use of digital solutions is crucial to create efficient communication between colleagues working across the globe, in addition to managing projects and maintaining team organization.
Head over to this article to learn how to connect global teams with Microsoft Teams.
Not everyone loved the idea of working remotely when COVID first started. Some still don’t but the benefits of remote work are undeniable. For example,
- Promoting a work-life balance
- Reduced administrative expenses
- Decrease in commute time
- New approach to measuring productivity.
This work mode is changing everything as it has successfully reshaped the rules of a traditional office work culture. For instance, employees have the opportunity to complete their tasks and maintain efficient communication from wherever they are rather than commuting to their office on a regular basis to perform the same operations. The beauty of remote work is that individuals can create a flexible work schedule that best corresponds to their personal lifestyle.
There are various ways of working remotely. Fully remote work pushes employees to solely utilize digital platforms to stay connected and collaborate. The most common use of technology includes professional communication and collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Teams, in addition to applications used to execute and manage projects.
Hybrid work mode
Recently, there has been a shift from fully remote to hybrid work. It has become the new trend in the post-pandemic era. As the traditional 9-5 workday is being retired, people are seeking flexible schedules and less commute. As a result, several businesses are shifting to a hybrid work mode. Individuals have the capability of choosing their working hours and locations, whether they desire to work from home or from the office. Team members at home and the ones at work still mainly connect with the use of technology and online tools rather than a shared working space.
The pandemic has been a catalyst for new developments in the traditional work culture as a variety of modern work modes have emerged. Although the new workplace modifications are not suitable for all types of businesses, tech-savvy organizations embrace the changes very quickly.
The future of work is shifting to remote ways of working. It comes with numerous benefits and has positive impact on many aspects of work and work environment. The use of technology has helped individuals adapt to the changes in work culture. It has also opened lots of doors to more flexible experiences.
How Teams solutions support integration into the new work modes
In the fast-changing world we live in today, businesses around the world have adapted to the use of modern technology to maintain their internal organization, and hence their productivity. One of the prominent cloud-based tools used for firms is Microsoft Teams.
The application is up to speed with the latest IT trends in the world of work. It allows employees to experience seamless company-wide integration into the shift in work modes. Additionally, Microsoft Teams provides a wide range of capabilities that help business executives ensure their employees remain productive while working remotely. It enables them to keep up with their tasks, actively engage with others, and more!
One of the key advantages of Microsoft Teams is the support in maintaining effective communication with your remote-working staff. You can create groups to discuss projects with your peers, in addition to inviting members from other departments to equally contribute to the collaboration process. Moreover, with the purpose of supporting synchronous and asynchronous work, Microsoft constantly adds new features to its products, such as the addition of the new Fluid components for Teams meetings, OneNote, Outlook, and Whiteboard, thus supporting synchronous and asynchronous collaboration across Teams and other Microsoft apps. The application is also available for smartphones, providing flexibility to team members to stay connected.
In a remote work environment, it is crucial to have all employees actively contributing to a certain project or discussion. Microsoft Teams offers the PowerPoint Live features that support collaboration during a live meeting. For instance, you can use the translation feature to see the presentation translated into the language you desire. The features are designed to create effective communication even during video conferences.
Coping with stress
Working remotely, especially under pressure, can cause an individual to stress or burn out. Fortunately, Microsoft Teams allows users to meditate and access mindful practices with its provision of the Viva Insights application. Using the app, company-wide members can disconnect from the pressured environment when they’re out of the office, and their supervisors can stay up-to-date with their employees’ mental health.
At SalesTim, we aim to help organizations excel in their collaborative processes and integrate easily into the new work modes. Coping with the latest work trends can be a challenge. Our team of professionals is ready to help you in finding the best solutions for your business needs. Talk to our team