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Work From Anywhere Platforms For Employee Wellbeing While this concept has plenty of benefits, working from home also comes with challenges, especially concerning employee wellness

By Annil Chandel

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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The "new normal' (since the global pandemic) fastened the inevitable digital transformation for most businesses. Studies show that the global spend in digital transformations of businesses has already touched $1.3 trillion in 2020. Working from anywhere can be expected to continue, not just with the rising COVID-19 cases in India, but also because of the various benefits it brings. Companies such as Infosys and Tech Mahindra have announced that their employees can work from home indefinitely.

While this concept has plenty of benefits, working from home also comes with challenges, especially concerning employee wellness. Studies have shown a growing feeling of isolation among employees along with unforeseen barriers to working efficiently. As per the study conducted by Buffer, a US-based software company, 19 per cent report loneliness. Another challenge has been to establish an effective and constant mode of communication within teams. In a physical office space, there exist perhaps more than enough opportunities to engage in formal and informal conversations which build a sense of belonging. But while working from home, teams can feel isolated with reduced face-time with colleagues.

As per the recent Gartner research, by 2030, the demand for remote work will increase by 30 per cent as Gen Z will enter the workforce. It is therefore imperative that organizations evolve and create policies that safeguard and nurture the wellbeing of their employees. Technology is the only reliable partner in this transition and investing in the right work-from-anywhere platform is essential.

One of the biggest benefits of "going to an office' is that building team relationships and forging an understanding among teammates is easy when all interactions are face to face. Feeling connected to co-workers can have a positive impact on employee productivity and mental health. But as we transcend to working from anywhere, there are higher chances of gaps in communication. Transitioning to reduced social contact with colleagues can cause those relationships to fade or restrict to work related discussions only. According to the study by Stoneside, a US based company, nearly 56% of respondents said the pandemic had strained their relationships with co-workers. Given the amount of stress the pandemic has brought on, it is easy to deduce that it could have impacted even the best working relationships. However, companies can enhance these relationships by using inclusive work-from-anywhere platforms, that keep teams connected regularly than just facilitate video calls. This not only helps team work together, from anywhere but also coordinate while completing their tasks, saving time and effort. At the same time, a platform that replicates the physical office space virtually can help create hyper productivity pockets (HPPs) for employees so that they can maintain work-life balance. HPPs are short intervals where one is far more productive than usual, due to reduced external noise. Companies that leverage a work-from-anywhere platform effectively to put employee wellbeing at the core of its approach, will be far ahead of those that use video calling platforms to connect teams sporadically. Through technology, companies need to deliver an experience to the employees that they feel part of the larger ecosystem. To capitalize on hyper productivity pockets, work from anywhere platforms allow employees to work from the comfort workspaces of their choice. These platforms give the employees flexibility to manage their work schedules efficiently by reducing interruptions, ergo stress levels. Work from anywhere platforms that replicate the physical office space virtually also create an "office-like environment" which further boosts the employees' efficiency.

Lastly, since the outbreak has forced employees to isolate themselves, teams can revive the "play' element through effective work-from-anywhere platforms that a physical office space offers. There are no limitations to creative interaction opportunities, virtual water cooler moments and employee engagement that can be construed by using technology. One of our clients have used our virtual platform to recreate their Friday evening social events to keep their teams connected. Another client, a reputed university, used our platform to create study groups for their students as they are unable to gather in a physical room.

Ultimately, employees and their well-being are paramount to any organization that prides itself on efficacy. While employee wellbeing is a promise that companies can offer through a mix of policy and empathy infrastructure, an effective work-from-anywhere platform brings it all together on one screen. There is a realisation that "work' is not a "place' but a vibe. And that vibe can bring us all together, especially in these moments of uncertainty and crisis.

Annil Chandel

CEO, Wurkr

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