Envisioning Experience Parity In The Hybrid Workforce

The digital economy has given rise to the need for ‘digital parity’, but today, there is a need for organizations to think beyond digital and technological equality and focus on ‘experience parity’ to provide employees a wholesome, inclusive and equal experience in all aspects of their work.


In the current age of digitization, the economy is highly dependent on transformational technology and innovations. Considering the pandemic-induced economic constraints, it is critical for businesses to become more digitally resilient and optimally utilize their technological transformation in order to respond to external market shocks and be absolutely prepared.

After the onset of the pandemic, digital resilience gained traction in the second phase of pandemic, and was correlated with notions such as cybersecurity and online literacy. Yet, in the latter years, digital resilience has enhanced the several routes the organizations are using for digital tools and their systems to swiftly rebound from or adapt to a state of emergency. During the pandemic, it became common for businesses to resort to digital technology for sustaining their day-to-day operations. Businesses of all kinds have turned to digital platforms to promote their growth and become contributors to the economic revival of our country.

According to a recent study by a leading analyst firm - IDC, 17–19% of firms' technology investments in 2021 and 2022 are projected to go towards initiatives addressing the need of flexible workforce, End User Experience, or agile operational models related changes caused by the COVID-19. The pandemic has imposed enough constraints on individuals and organizations, resulting in the development of a ‘hybrid work culture’ as compared to the new normal. However, a survey conducted by NASSCOM in association with job portal Indeed on ‘Return to Workplace’ shows 50% of the workforce is likely to return to offices by January 22. Further, the survey indicates that 70% of the organizations are looking at hybrid work model beyond the pandemic while 40% of the workforce expect to work from office premises up to three days a week.

These developments in the workplace necessitate equitable availability of technology and digital tools. To put it in another way, an efficient hybrid workforce involves digital parity, which pertains to the availability of identical devices, degrees of connection, and capabilities within peers. Therefore, today's businesses must ensure that every workforce has secured access to the resources they require to accomplish their assignments, regardless of where they connect from. In this ‘new normal,' technology determines the success or failure by providing flexibility and choices to the workforce. This will help in better collaboration at work and also continues to be part of their journey.

Most organizations have recognized that ‘digital parity’ may not be enough in these difficult times, and must look for more. According to IDCs Unisys Digital Workplace Insights poll, 64% of business leaders plan

to employ a customized and focused operating model than in the pre-pandemic scenario. This will not only ensure employees' safety but also enhance their experience and performance that will align to the business needs.

With the exception of technical accessibility, organizations must also provide 'user experience parity,' which means that employees who are associated with the firm have similar working experiences and work towards a long-term goal. Studies have shown that organizing mature employee experience programs helps boost organizational resilience, resulting in more devoted, productive employees with longer tenure, all of which contributes to faster recovery periods and higher retention rate aiding to minimal productivity disruption and aide cost effective operations.

To begin with, it is essential to maintain the health and safety of employees. It can be another essential aspect of HR policy moving forward to reconfigure office spaces, increase sanitation, redesign work schedule and offer flexible shifts. By ensuring realigned spaces and immaculate hygiene practices, it is a great way to provide leaders and their staff a better physical environment to work in taking into consideration the changes in colleague dependencies that the pandemic had brought in. Business leaders must also focus on designing an IT and assistance strategy that prioritizes employee experience while maintaining security at all levels. The implementation of parity in employee experience across businesses functions shall serve as a major gateway to digitally inclusive communities. The focus here is to reinvent how firms handle the workforce and hence, they must be more sensitive to employee demands; after all, an organization is only as strong and resilient as its employees.

(The views expressed in the article have been penned down by Ram Bhattiprolu, Director Delivery - End User Experience, APAC, Unisys especially for BW People publication)

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