Working in isolation for 18 months has left the workforce coping, adapting, and constantly searching for a sense of balance, as boundaries between personal and professional lives have blurred. The sheen of ‘flexible’ work from home (WFH) schedule has worn off in a short time, and the reality of remote work is far harsher than what meets the eye. The hustle culture has put a stranglehold on a sizable chunk of the workforce, who are now reporting burnouts. According to the latest LinkedIn Future of Work study, one in three professionals in India is burnt out today.
For many professionals, this stress has triggered a reassessment of ambitions, definitions of success, and work-life balance.
Professionals are re-prioritising work-life balance and are now also looking for opportunities that allow for more breathing space. This mass pursuit for balance strongly reflects in our survey that states that today professionals value work-life balance (52 percent) just as much as their salaries (52 percent), and a little more than job stability (50 percent).
Organisations are now rethinking their entire work models, values, and culture, while professionals are rethinking not just how they work, but why they work.
This collective reimagination is poised to become a defining moment in the history of work because its outcome promises to set the tone for the—not too distant—future of work.
Embracing flexibility and trust
After working remotely for nearly a-year-and-a-half, professionals are seeking more human connection and social interaction to sail through these trying times. However, these 18 months have also left professionals seeking more flexibility in how they work and where they work from.
As businesses continue to discern this dichotomous outlook towards the future of work, one of the most probable and popular solutions to meet the need for balance lies in adopting a hybrid work model.
No doubt, achieving the ideal hybrid work model is complex, however embracing flexibility, different work styles, and a culture of trust can help us all navigate it successfully. As our CEO, Ryan Roslansky says, “We trust each other to do our best work where it works best for us and our teams. We’ve learned every individual and every team works differently, so we’re moving away from a one-size-fits-all policy. We’re embracing flexibility with both hybrid and remote roles, expecting more of us to be remote than pre-Covid.”
What is exciting to see is that this moment in time has allowed executives and company leaders to rewrite their playbooks when it comes to hiring, skills development, and engaging their talent. To meet this growing demand for a hybrid work model, organisations will need to invest in malleable digital tools that allow seamless collaboration between their remote and on-ground staff.
Given the asynchronous nature of the hybrid world developing in front of us, it will be imperative for companies to lead with trust. One of the ways a company can do this is by building a strong culture of empathy. Managers and leaders will need to step into the shoes of their fellow workers to build more trusted and transparent relations with their teams. They will need to play an active role in scheduling more time-offs so workers can come back with more energy and accountability. Managers will also need to extend unique flexibility offerings that best suit each staff member—this will be critical to unlocking greater engagement, improved productivity, and heightened well-being.
Encourage employees to find what works best for them
As we learn new things about the hybrid model of work, employees need to help managers know what works for them and make well-being a top priority in this environment. Organisations will accordingly extend more meaningful flexibility offerings and shelter their workforce from stress levels or burnout.
While organisations need to introduce more digital tools to help their teams stay connected, it is crucial for employees to learn to use these tools efficiently. As we enter a hybrid future of work, it has never been more important for professionals to improve their digital literacy and community-building skills to collaborate more effectively in a virtual setup. Technology will be an enabler—helping employees as they transform for hybrid work and reimagine everything from meetings that transcend space and time to a digital employee experience that everyone can access from anywhere.
We are living through a moment of change, unlike anything we’ve seen before in the history of work. As employees continue to seek greater flexibility, better pay, and deeper fulfilment, it’ll be a symbiotic effort between organisations and professionals to embrace these times of change and prepare for a hybrid future of work.
The writer is LinkedIn's India Country Manager.
The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.
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