As the world has adjusted to the ever-changing landscape of work during the pandemic, the once novel concept of remote work has now evolved into the hybrid work model. To learn more, I interviewed Paddy Srinivasan, CEO of GoTo, which provides GoToWebinar and other communication and collaboration tools, about the future of work and how companies can leverage this new paradigm to their advantage.
A Proven Model for Success
Remote work is no longer the uncharted territory it once was; it has grown into a proven model for successful business operations. As Paddy Srinivasan eloquently puts it, “This remote centric model is now a proven model, where companies have started expecting employees to work from anywhere using digital technologies to collaborate with each other.” Companies have adapted to the digital age, seamlessly transitioning to using platforms like GoTo’s communication and collaboration software to bridge the gap between employees and customers.
The traditional office model comes with a hefty price tag. The expenses of real estate for companies and the burden of commuting for employees can be overwhelming. Srinivasan points out that “getting to work is expensive, it’s expensive for the company, because of real estate and things like that it’s expensive for employees, sitting in traffic in different parts of the world.” Moreover, employees often have to rearrange their personal lives to accommodate the inflexibility of office-based work.
The Hybrid Work Model: A Competitive Advantage
The remote centric model has opened doors for companies to tap into diverse talent pools. Srinivasan shares his experience with GoTo, a billion-dollar company with a global presence: “We are a remote centric workforce of 3,500 employees. And what we have found is, we are now able to attract talent from different parts of the countries that we are operating in.” Talent dispersion allows companies like GoTo to attract, retain, and nurture talent from all corners of the world, giving them a competitive edge.
The hybrid work model is the lovechild of necessity and innovation, a silver lining that emerged from the pandemic. This new model offers companies a competitive advantage by reducing costs, increasing employee satisfaction, and enabling them to access a global talent pool. Srinivasan states, “I’m very optimistic that what started or what accelerated as part of the pandemic, because it was the essential need of that time, has now started morphing into a different type of model where companies like ours are using it as a competitive advantage.”
Technology for Hybrid Work
Srinivasan points out that essential capabilities for hybrid work include nailing internal collaboration and IT systems, as well as having technologies that facilitate communication and collaboration with customers outside the organization. He emphasized the importance of having specialized tools that cater to specific needs rather than settling for shallow, one-size-fits-all solutions.
When it comes to the process and behavioral aspects of remote work, it is crucial to level the playing field for all employees, whether they are working remotely or in-person. This involves introducing small changes, like ensuring everyone has the same meeting “real estate” and using virtual facilitators to include remote attendees in the conversation. These behavioral changes can prove challenging, especially for managers who have spent decades managing in-person teams. To address this, companies should invest in user experience and prioritize onboarding, security, and seamless collaboration.
Key technologies mentioned by Paddy include:
- Collaboration tools that facilitate communication and teamwork among employees.
- IT systems that ensure data security and manage digital assets such as software applications and devices.
- Customer collaboration tools that allow businesses to connect and engage with their customers effectively.
The Future of Collaboration: AI and Virtual Reality
Srinivassan also shared his thoughts on the future of collaboration, highlighting the role of artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) in transforming the way we work. He believes that AI will play a central role in improving productivity and automating tasks, while VR and augmented reality (AR) will revolutionize meeting experiences and collaboration.
Some potential applications of AI and VR in remote work include:
- AI-powered assistants that help employees manage their schedules, prioritize tasks, and automate repetitive processes.
- AI-enhanced customer service, using natural language processing to provide smarter and more efficient support.
- VR and AR-based meeting platforms that create immersive and interactive experiences, bridging the gap between remote and in-person collaboration.
Conclusion: Adapting to the Hybrid Work Future
Like a chameleon adapting to its surroundings, the business world has embraced the hybrid work model as a new standard. The great dispersion of the workforce has proven itself as a viable, successful model that benefits both companies and employees alike. Companies that want to thrive in this new landscape should seize the opportunity to make the most of this revolution, leveraging the power of remote work to boost their competitive advantage and create a brighter future for their employees and customers. The hybrid work model is here to stay, and those who adapt will reap the rewards.
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Image credit: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels
Originally published in Disaster Avoidance Experts on April 5, 2023.