Flexible workspaces can bring back the much needed work-life balance – The Hindu BusinessLine

Clipped from: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/flexible-workspaces-can-bring-back-the-much-needed-work-life-balance/article33366031.ece

With facilities made available that equally foster productivity and even relaxation when needed, working out of a flexible workspace provides the perfect office vibe in a safe manner as employees gradually start their return to the office

The year is almost coming to an end, and we all have been impacted by it in unique ways. With businesses and industries being impacted, workspaces have evolved newer strategies and business models to stay afloat. The employee workforce has done its fair share of adapting by seamlessly shifting to working from home virtually. But this also has an adverse side.

Opinion poll

Earlier in October, LinkedIn conducted a week-long opinion poll on whether employees prefer a four-day work week as concerns over long working hours have been rising. In today’s corporate set-up, the five-day work week spills over into the weekend and the need to be available 24/7 has shot up during the pandemic. In India, employees work beyond 48 hours a week, crossing the International Labour Organization’s working norms. This does not paint a healthy picture and is affirmed by a survey conducted that shows that Indian employees feel a four day work week is at least five years away.

A decline in workforce productivity could be a direct impact of an overworked workforce that does not have time to relax and rejuvenate. Employees getting burnout and contributing to high attrition rates could result from the increasing amount of stress and anxiety faced as a result of disappearing boundaries between personal and professional lives.

As the return to office is underway and is gradually scheduled to happen over the next few months, companies need to address this growing concern by taking practical and implementable measures. Here is where solutions provided by flexible workspaces that are customised to evolving workplace needs, can play a key role.

With a number of office spaces in a city, employees returning to work can choose the office closest to them in order to reduce travel stress. In addition to saving time this would also add a layer of safety that is a priority and will continue to remain so. Workplace safety would be imperative for employees to thrive in the future.

With facilities made available that equally foster productivity and even relaxation when needed, working out of a flexible workspace provides the perfect office vibe in a safe manner as employees gradually start their return to the office. Employees across industries and fields with diverse sets of office space requirements come together in a flexible workspace, finding it to be the ideal workspace that is adept at maintaining the highest of safety standards.

From conference rooms to game rooms, these workspaces continue to provide an environment that is perfect for fostering creativity and is safe — something that the workforce of today seek. With health concerns likely to increase in the coming time period and safety continuing to be a priority across companies, flexible workspaces have the expertise to maintain health and safety guidelines across each of their offices and will continue to ensure these are strictly followed by all.

Healthy culture

Alongside this, with its strong emphasis on fostering a healthy culture where the community is your support system, employees enjoy the added benefit of being part of a diverse and talented network of individuals, something they have been missing these last few months. This not only opens up numerous networking opportunities but also increases productivity levels leading to a healthy workplace culture.

Leveraging the digital medium to continue engaging with the community with innovative sessions and events that cater to mental and physical well-being has been a priority across community teams of flexible workspaces. These regular activities that keep up the community spirit continue across the spaces to bring members back to the new normal, albeit in a safe manner. The unwavering focus on culture and continuation of engaging sessions and activities is imperative as everyone gets back to the new normal where the much needed sense of belonging needs to be re-established.

The next normal would require flexibility along with a focus on creating a culture that values and insists on a work-life balance. A workforce whose time is respected is one that would flourish. Flexible workspaces could be a means in fostering this culture, bringing the community together and paving the way to a healthier workplace.

The writer is CEO, WeWork India

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