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In the post-COVID world, employees are the new bosses and here’s what they want

Imagine a workplace role reversal. The boss answering to employees and employees calling the shots

IT postures have to account for new concerns around security, visibility and user experience 88% want to rethink pre-COVID-19 ways of working, as employees now see themselves in the driving seat Social media can no longer be avoided, both for getting to know your customers and for connecting with them

Imagine a workplace role reversal. 

The boss answering to employees and employees calling the shots. 

A dream come true? Not quite, but the post-COVID-19 workplace will look different and employees are more in control.

Changes to expect from a business perspective

Keerti Melkote, Founder and President of Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company asked: “If you’re a business owner, how do you prepare for recovery?”

What’s for sure is that workforces will continue to work remotely.

In a recent article, Antonio Neri, CEO of HPE, said, “Our work-from-home guidance will not be lifted just because government orders are removed. We will modify our sites to ensure physical distancing can be maintained, and we won’t all return at once. Most importantly, returning to the office will be voluntary.”  

Organizations have to adapt their IT postures to account for this new reality with new concerns around security, visibility and user experience. Should IT provide the tools for work at home? What should those tools be? Is it simply a laptop and a set of cloud/web applications or is it more? 

As the Edge footprint increases, our ability to reach out and touch it has vastly diminished, Melkote said. 

Edge infrastructures at homes, branches, stores, warehouses, or other places will all need to be deployed and managed in a zero-touch manner. Cloud-managed solutions with advanced artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) capabilities will play a large role in how these distributed environments will be deployed and managed.

And as the pandemic leaves behind a trail of disruption, everyone will evaluate how they can plan for more resilient supply chains that can withstand future pandemics or similar global disruptions like this one.  

Read: AI plays COVID-19 job stress reliever, but UAE has big plans for the technology

Rethinking Pre-COVID-19 ways of working

A new global research commissioned by Kaspersky of 8,000 SMB workers across multiple industries has revealed that 88% want to rethink pre-COVID-19 ways of working, as employees now see themselves in the driving seat.

Employees are inspiring more agile, accommodating, and humane work cultures. Moving forward, 45% want to leave behind the 9-5 working structure and 39% want to end the five-day working week.

47% of employees see remote working as the third greatest benefit of COVID-19, after spending time with family (41%) and saving money (41%). 

In fact, most of the advantages revolve around pursuing new opportunities for personal enrichment outside of work, as getting that work-life balance becomes even more important.

Given that well over a third (40%) of the workforce actively seeks more technology support from their organization when working remotely, the need to provide the tools and technology to keep users productive, connected, and secure has never been greater.

The full report, ‘Securing the Future of Work’, can be found here.  

Read: UAE’s job market, job seekers and future of work

Employee and customer needs

The crisis has raised fundamental questions for all organizations: How to migrate services online, respond to shifting workplace realities, and answer the need to re- and upskill the workforce for the jobs of the future. 

Petra Jenner, GM and Senior Vice President, EMEA Emerging Markets, Salesforce said that according to Salesforce’s own research, 69% of consumers and employees expect that the practical and cultural shifts we’re seeing now will become permanent: increasing opportunities to work from home, to host and attend virtual as opposed to physical events, and to learn online. 

To meet customer and employee expectations, we’re going to see more businesses re-imagine the ways they work and where.

 The pandemic is accelerating the demand for digital services to the extent that changes we typically might have expected to come about in 4 to 5 years are happening within a couple of months. 

How we bridge existing skills and educational gaps today will determine our success as a society long into the future.

 The majority of employees (60%) said that they’re looking forward to retraining and learning new skills at this time.

Cloud and other technologies help customer service teams to deal with mounting customer queries and has made both the organizations and their workforces more agile.

The post-COVID-19 consumer or client is lacking in morale, security, and even the ability to venture out of their local communities.

Bain & Company recently conducted a survey showing that:  

People want to feel less anxious and more connected.

People are seeking a more balanced, healthy lifestyle.

People are more mindful of their spending, reflecting on what is essential and what is frivolous.

Also, in a post-pandemic world, social media can no longer be avoided, both for getting to know your customers and for connecting with them. A recent study from CMO found that 84% of companies were using social media for brand building and more than 54% have used it for customer retention.