What’s next for a physically and digitally split workplace?

Woman using tablet for video call

4 mins, 9 secs read time

We’re living in an era where many companies were forced to shift from a physical office space to an entirely distributed workforce – sometimes in a matter of days. This is a time of significant change, and many are still struggling with the aftermath of adjusting to remote work so quickly.

Employees have been left divided and, as the world slowly returns to a new normal, we’ve already started to see a dual workplace emerge, consisting of a collection of remote and in-office teams. Through the pandemic, businesses have learned to be flexible and agile. And many are now prioritizing creative spaces alongside physically safe spaces. Where it’s possible to choose between a physical or digital space – many employees now have this option— it’s a huge step for personal work benefits.

However, what repercussions will this change have on a now divided workforce? In this article, we’ll explore some of the implications of the dual workplace and its effect on culture, recruitment technology and productivity.

3 changes to look out for in a dual workplace

Culture will need to be omnichannel

Culture may now be one of the trickiest things to manage and improve. For employers who are maintaining an entirely remote workforce, it’s easier to build culture trends using remote-first technology.

When managing a mixed workforce, however, it can be challenging to create the same culture for remote workers as you do for in-house teams. Over 50% of remote workers say they feel disconnected from in-office employees.

I think companies will need to make an extra effort to create a culture of belonging. It’s hard to feel you belong to a company when you work remotely all the time – companies will need to rethink their processes. Companies will need to change how their team members live their company culture, on and offline.
Yusuf Okucu, Senior HR Business Partner Lead at PepsiCo

We’ll begin to see companies adopting new inclusion strategies and innovative ways of building culture that translate digitally as well as physically. Part of this will come down to technology, but a large part of it will rely on leadership nourishing culture anew and identifying values and goals that can be felt and driven company-wide.

Recruitment technology will shape HR processes

Recruitment is one of the areas that has been hit the hardest by the pandemic. How can companies maintain hiring processes, display culture and run effective interviews when they can’t physically meet someone?

Shifting to remote hiring seems like a daunting task for many, but it’s one area that has resulted in surprisingly positive outcomes for businesses adopting the right tech. Many companies will continue to host remote-only interviews with candidate selection tools, even when they can safely host someone in-space.

We helped Microsoft perform 100+ remote interviews every day using Codility’s platform throughout the crisis. We also helped Okta increase their candidate pipeline by 600%. We have similar success stories for other businesses that adopted new technology into their recruitment process during COVID. Remote hiring has been largely more efficient than in-person recruitment processes.
Natalia Panowicz, CEO at Codility

Regardless of whether businesses return to the office or not, it looks like some areas of recruitment will continue to have a remote aspect. It’s quicker, easier and, for the instances when a technical skill assessment is needed, it helps mitigate bias in the process.

Productivity works differently

There are plenty of ways you can respectfully and thoughtfully boost working from home productivity. There are also many ways to keep employees productive and engaged in the office. So how can they be combined for a dual workplace?

The truth is, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Productivity and engagement tactics that work in a physical space most likely won’t have the same effect at home. There’s just so much more to consider when an employee is working in a more independent space.

Businesses need to take into account living situations, family obligations, time zones, internet access – the list goes on. What’s important is that both in-office and remote work are assessed fairly in terms of productivity, and the goals are the same regardless of location.

It’s the employer’s responsibility to make a working environment work, no matter where it is. Consider how you can best support workplaces. Perhaps that’s with a home-office stipend, a tech stipend, workshops and classes or health and wellbeing opportunities.

Whatever you decide, you should adapt it to an employee’s physical location and working style. That way everyone feels included and supported to deliver their best work.

There’s absolutely no question that we have some challenging times ahead. Looking at everything that businesses have already overcome this year, the road may be long and involve more hurdles.

The divide between physical and digital workspaces will be apparent. However, with the right skills, leadership and technology, there’s no reason any business can’t continue to thrive in a dual workplace.

Ray Slater Berry

Ray Slater Berry

is a freelance writer for Codility with over nine years of content, social media and positive initiative experience. He specializes in tech, travel and employee wellbeing. Ray is also a published fiction writer, with his first novel Golden Boy.

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