The Value of Collaboration and the Growing Need for Indigenous Secure Messaging Apps

“Are you confident your company’s most critical information is safe from prying eyes in the digital realm? How much control do you have on shadow IT in your organization?”

In today’s hyper-connected world, data security is paramount. Yet, a concerning trend has emerged: the unchecked proliferation of P2P messaging apps in the workplace. While convenient and popular, these platforms pose a significant risk, exposing sensitive organizational information to public platforms which results in increasing your attack surface.

The consequences are severe: from loss of vital information, reputation damage to financial loss, the stakes couldn’t be higher. As leaders in business and government, it’s our responsibility to address this pressing issue head-on.

I am writing a series of blog articles in which I plan to take a deep dive and delve into the dangers of relying on P2P messaging apps for professional communication. But fear not, I will also provide actionable strategies and tools to steer your company away from this risky path.

It’s time to prioritize data security and safeguard our most valuable assets. These articles will help you understand the urgency and take decisive action to protect your organization’s future while driving higher productivity and organizational engagement.

“Let us work together for unity and love.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

The value of collaboration cannot be overstated. According to research, when employees collaborate, 73% produce better work and 60% are more innovative. Indeed, collaboration and communication taps into our innate psychological drive for belonging and community, thereby paving the way for collective success and better outcomes.

Yet, how we collaborate is often stuck in yesteryear. Organizations continue to overwhelmingly rely on legacy channels like email and phones, and when they do upgrade, the digital transformation tends to be sporadic and siloed. As a result, shadow IT emerges as a big problem.

With so many employees working remotely, there’s a gap between collaboration needs and the available systems. To bypass this, workers frequently resort to using unsecured and unvetted channels like peer-to-peer (P2P) messaging platforms, without the knowledge of IT teams. These platforms aren’t built for secure communication or sensitive data exchange and as a result, leads to a worrying shadow IT footprint.

It’s not surprising, therefore, that a staggering 89% of Indian companies suffered a cyber attack; in 2022 and 2023; shadow IT was responsible for 1 in 5 of these attacks.

There’s an urgent need to overhaul corporate communication and collaboration systems in the country, in the wake of several factors:

  • The pandemic, which has made remote and hybrid work the new reality
  • Millennials, Gen Z, and changing expectations from communication systems
  • Aging systems and processes amid rapid change in technology and the business landscape

In a Hyperconnected World, Collaboration Needs to Adapt

In the last few years, the way we work has undergone a sea change. Collaboration is no longer limited to team members, departments, or business units. Organizations are increasingly adopting (and are being forced to adopt) new, more connected working models. It’s now par for the course to collaborate with external stakeholders on your most critical projects – this could include agencies, freelancers, consultants, regulatory bodies, and your broader supply chain.

However, most of our common collaboration methods aren’t up to the task.

  • For instance, email trails tend to become long, meandering, and inefficient, deviating from the initial idea and objective of the task at hand. Typically, workplace messaging and video conference platforms are also more suited to certain groups of users and lack the egalitarian conversation and culture building capabilities that is the need of the hour. The need of the hour is focused innovation driven collaboration in multi-stakeholder project scenarios, and wide inter-organizational exchange and participation.

As a result, there’s often a disconnect between the tools employees need in a hyper-connected world, and what’s on offer. Research by Harvard Business Review found that for 85% of employees, collaboration tools are among their “most critical areas of focus.”

But existing systems aren’t meeting these needs – 59% said that the tools aren’t aligned with their team’s preferences, and 64% said that collaboration platforms don’t integrate with their organization’s processes. 72% found it difficult to work across teams.

The Challenge with Collaboration Platforms Today

The challenge is even more apparent when you operate within a regulated industry such as the public sector, financial services, and healthcare. Frustrated with gaps in existing systems, employees are likely to turn to P2P communication channels such as WhatsApp or SMS, which don’t have any of the security or compliance guardrails you need.

Imagine a scenario where a mortgage lender is working with a number of stakeholders to speed up the loan approval process. They are working with a title outsourcing company on one hand, to ensure the property is in order, and a credit report specialist on the other hand, to perform credit scoring. This involves a large volume of just-in-time information sharing and sensitive data exchange that simply cannot happen across the usual channels.

Or, think of a healthcare clinic that’s processing a patient’s payment. They’ll need to work closely with the insurance provider to complete a full or partial claim. They’ll also collaborate with a diagnostics department to calculate the consolidated payment amount for the patient. Again, sensitive data will be changing hands – P2P messaging platforms are not sufficiently secure, while email lacks efficiency.

An Indigenous Secure Messaging App is the Need of the Hour

The future of enterprise success will be built on a foundation of flexibility, collaboration, and multi-stakeholder productivity. To facilitate this, the tech team at Nexaei introduces Colab, an integrated collaboration and productivity tool that offers 100% visibility and control of your hybrid workspace. Unlike several other tools, we are focused on reducing the learning curve and the barriers to entry so that the benefits of collaboration are available to everyone instantly.

Colab is made in India and developed using indigenous technologies, infrastructure, and innovations. To meet the needs of both today’s and tomorrow’s workforce we have designed stringent security policies, enterprise-grade compliance, and multiple admin roles with 2 GB free storage per user, and geo-tagging for team attendance for distributed teams, file sharing with secured viewer, administrative permissions and controls, you pave the way towards limitless productivity.

An indigenous messaging app built in India for India’s unique collaboration use cases is clearly the need of the hour. Reach out to us to know how Colab could revolutionize your workplace today!

Email us for a personalized conversation. Please follow me on Linkedin to get notified and to stay ahead.

Why is Cross-functional Collaboration Important for Team Empowerment?

McKinsey’s research shows that CxOs that unify teams and drive cross-functional collaboration are 1.4x times more likely to build accountable relationships. Read on to know why it’s so important for employee engagement and a holistic collaborative culture – and how you can make it an organizational habit.

Defining Cross-Functional Collaboration

Cross-functional collaboration is a strategic approach where individuals from diverse departments or functional backgrounds within your organization collaborate to achieve shared objectives. It transcends traditional organizational silos by fostering an environment where expertise, ideas, and resources are shared freely across boundaries.

This collaborative culture is marked by several key elements: first, it brings together individuals with different areas of expertise, such as marketing, finance, engineering, and operations, allowing for a better understanding of complex issues. Second, cross-functional teams operate with shared goals, aligning the efforts of team members toward a common purpose, and increasing employee engagement.

Third, effective communication is fundamental, ensuring that information flows seamlessly between team members, enabling coordinated action and decision-making. Additionally, roles within cross-functional teams are often flexible, allowing you to contribute your skills and knowledge beyond your primary areas of expertise.

Moreover, decision-making in such teams is collaborative, drawing upon the diverse perspectives and insights of all stakeholders.

Read More: Data-Driven Decision Making: Harnessing AI in Collaborative Work Environments

The Undeniable Value of Cross-Functional Collaboration for Enterprises

Today, cross-functional collaboration is not just beneficial – it’s essential for thriving enterprises like yours. Here’s why:

1. Enhance innovation

When diverse teams come together, they bring a plethora of perspectives, expertise, and ideas to the table. This amalgamation sparks innovation, driving your company to develop groundbreaking solutions and stay ahead in the market.

2. Optimize problem solving

Cross-functional teams leverage the collective intelligence of members from different departments. This enables them to approach challenges from various angles, leading to more comprehensive problem-solving strategies and quicker resolutions.

3. Improve decision making

By incorporating insights from multiple disciplines, you ensure that decisions are well-rounded and consider various implications. This reduces the risk of oversight and enhances the quality of strategic choices made within your organization.

4. Accelerate learning and development

Collaborating across functions provides employees with opportunities to broaden their skill sets and deepen their understanding of different areas of the business. This continuous learning fosters personal growth and cultivates a workforce equipped to adapt to evolving demands.

5. Increase efficiency and productivity

Streamlining workflows across departments eliminates silos and bureaucratic bottlenecks, allowing tasks to be executed more smoothly and swiftly. As a result, projects progress at a faster pace, enhancing overall productivity within your organization.

6. Drive employee engagement

Cross-functional collaboration promotes a sense of belonging and purpose among your workforce. When employees collaborate across departments, they feel valued for their contributions and connected to the broader goals of the organization, leading to higher levels of engagement and motivation.

7. Build a collaborative culture

Encouraging collaboration creates a culture where teamwork is celebrated, and individuals are empowered to share ideas openly. This not only strengthens internal relationships but also cultivates a supportive environment where colleagues trust and respect one another.

Read More: Why Are Business Messaging Apps a Better Choice Than Unsecured Messaging Apps in the Workplace?

How Can You Promote Cross-Functional Collaboration?

To promote cross-functional collaboration within your company, it’s essential that you first cultivate a collaborative culture – one that values teamwork and collective problem-solving. A great way to do this is to create opportunities for interdepartmental interaction and communication.

Encourage cross-functional meetings, brainstorming sessions, and workshops where team members from different departments can exchange ideas. Platforms such as digital collaboration tools or project management software also play a crucial role, as we’ll explain. They facilitate coordination across teams, regardless of their physical location.

Additionally, incentives can act as a powerful motivator for employees to actively engage in cross-functional initiatives. Recognize and reward collaborative efforts, whether through formal recognition programs, performance evaluations, or incentives tied to project outcomes.

Encourage leaders to lead by example by actively participating in cross-functional activities and demonstrating a willingness to listen to input from all team members. Managers need to create an environment where everyone feels heard, valued, and empowered. This strengthens interdepartmental relationships, laying the foundation for deeper employee engagement and inclusion.

Read More: The Future of AI-Powered Enterprise Collaboration and its Impact on Business Growth

Using Tech Tools to Level Up Your Cross-Functional Collaboration Capabilities

Cross-functional collaboration doesn’t happen in isolation. You need a strong collaborative culture as well as the right toolkit that actually encourages employee engagement in collaboration. The tool you choose needs to have the following features:

  • Unified communication: Ensure the platform offers integrated messaging, video conferencing, and voice calling capabilities to facilitate real-time communication among team members.
  • Document sharing and collaboration: Look for features that allow for easy sharing, editing, and co-authoring of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in a collaborative workspace.
  • Task management: This includes task assignment, progress tracking, and deadline management, to keep cross-functional projects organized and on track.
  • Integration capabilities: Seek out a platform that integrates seamlessly with other essential tools and applications your teams use, such as email, calendars, and project management software.
  • Customizable workspaces: Opt for a platform that allows users to create customizable workspaces and channels tailored to specific projects or teams.
  • Search and knowledge management: Features like tagging and categorization will help users quickly find relevant information and resources across cross-functional teams.

Discover Colab, the Cross-Functional Collaboration Enabler

Team collaboration platforms can be the ultimate catalyst for cross-functional collaboration in your company. These tools provide a centralized hub where teams from different departments can seamlessly communicate, share documents, and collaborate on projects in real-time. Features like chat, video conferencing, and file sharing streamline communication and break down silos, enabling teams to work together more efficiently regardless of their physical location.

That’s why we offer enterprises the complete cross-functional collaboration tool, Colab. By harnessing its power, you not only foster a collaborative culture but also, drive innovation, employee engagement, and collective motivation.

Speak with our experts to demo Colab today!

Preparing for a Challenging 2022 and the Road Beyond

Automation, hybridization, and digitization – the three tech trends of 2021 required agile, focused, and compassionate leaders; leaders who could influence their teams and make them reskill/upskill themselves to fit the new hybrid workspace perfectly. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic and everything else that came along has made it very clear that businesses will no longer be ‘usual’ after this. So, the big question is – how should the leaders prepare themselves for a challenging 2022 and also the road beyond?

Use technology as humanly as possible

Adapting to the latest technologies at work is necessary, but technology should be used as a supportive tool and not something that disturbs human psychology. With the extensive utilization of virtual and augmented reality, leaders need to keep an eye on the role of these new systems in augmenting the quality of work but the quality of human lives too. With the face-to-face social interactions missing these days, the demand for VR is soaring. As a result, organizations must recognize that need and leverage these technologies responsibly and as humanly as possible.

Rebuild the company culture with diversity

The past year has seen a lot of changes in company cultures. With the new normal spreading its wings, companies needed empathetic and approachable leadership, both on face and screen. With hybridization and innovation taking over workspaces, leaders needed to rule out the old ways and cultures and replace them with the new ones. Similarly, 2022 also needs an inclusive organizational culture to run better and excel. Another trend that seemed to bloom in 2021 was the growing diversity in the workforce. It has helped to enhance the work quality. In the coming years, organizations, as well as leaders, will have to promote diversity too.

Make teamwork a business imperative

The boat keeps afloat only when the rowers are in sync. Similarly, every team member should be pursuing one goal being in the same loop. In a hybrid work environment, teamwork can do wonders when it comes to business performance. For a smooth future in the new normal, leaders must ensure teams possess similar strengths, skills, and mindsets to row the boat together. A team needs a pool of stars that can lead and follow, as per the need of the game.

Teach leadership to the employees

n organization as a whole must understand the concept of leadership clearly. A leader does not need to boss around; instead, the job of a leader is to influence and inspire. A bossy boss will only cause burnouts in employees, whereas a leader will bring about the desired action. So, teaching leadership to the employees will encourage them to work towards organizational and personal success. When employees start understanding leading in the right way, they will automatically take proactive steps to cultivate the skill.

To sum it up, it is essential to understand that business is human. Even though the pandemic has made organizations take up the technology massive, certain crucial aspects of the business will always remain human. Technology and automation can never replace morality, judgment, or empathy, which are the cornerstones of success in any business standing today. Not machines but humans run companies, even today. Automation can enhance work but it cannot make us better employees. So, the road to a successful 2022 and beyond can only be covered seamlessly if leaders can balance the human and tech resources efficiently.

What Goes Into Creating A Truly Empowered DEI Workplace Culture?

In the post-pandemic marketplace, for an organization to survive and function efficiently, the assets like diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI) need to be on point.

A diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization is more productive and innovative, plus the employee engagement quotient is comparatively higher amid the DEI culture. Such an organization exhibits better productivity and retention, which renders it a good reputation amid clients too. Employees suffer from low morale when they cannot speak up or face discrimination of any sort. Such events jeopardize their performance as well as mental safety.

When it comes to achieving goals, every organization should ensure making arrangements for a top-notch employee experience because employees make achieving goals happen. And over the years, it has been proved that organizations perform better if their workforces are diverse. An efficient workspace is supposed to have diverse minds working in it. With the changing landscape of business, empowering diversity at work is a priority today.

Equity, which is not synonymous with equality, is all about making the game even for all. It provides every employee with their required distinctive resources so that they can have access to their opportunities. It bridges the gap between employees by addressing every differing need. Implement workplace equity by prioritizing remuneration equity, ensuring diverse cross-level representation, and implementing education programs.

An organization does not become inclusive by just hiring diverse employees. Inclusivity shows when the diverse workforce feels involved, acknowledged, trusted, and empowered. Diversity cannot succeed without inclusion. Therefore, to create an inclusive workplace, educate the workforce, especially the leaders, communicate transparently, and embrace every employee with distinct traits and skills.

Now that you know why the DEI workplace culture is so significant currently, here’s how you can achieve them –

Chalk out a plan with hands-on participation of the employees

Before everything, you need to define some organizational terms and conditions for achieving the desired DEI culture. Once done, it’s important to chalk out a plan to track its efficiency. With the active participation of the employees, your organization can lead by example in terms of accumulating more employee buy-in and demonstrating employee acknowledgment. This way, you can nurture a DEI workplace culture.

Leverage technology to monitor the DEI procedure

Even though technology does not solve our complex problems, it at least automates them. With the fittest data backing the technologies in use, the outcome looks way better. So, much more than embracing the DEI culture, the regular monitoring is essential, and leveraging technology for the same will always be proven right.

Administer pay equity audits and gain better insights

The contribution of pay equity audits towards eliminating workplace discrimination is massive. Any discrimination against employees, whether intentional or not, disturbs the organizational culture. It is known to put the employer at legal risk too. With the help of equity audits, you can ensure pay equality and several other equal employment practices in your organization too. Insights gained from the audits can help you identify the areas you need to put your efforts on.

Share accountability and practice collaboration

Without effective collaboration, an organization cannot nurture its culture. It strengthens the core of an organization and helps in maintaining shared accountability too. In an equitable organization, responsibilities are shared and not carried on lone shoulders.  Similarly, for an organization to achieve DEI culture, the entire workforce needs to collaborate. It is not a one-man show.

Hold on to your humanity 

In embracing the DEI culture, you must not overlook humanity. Only a ‘human’ workforce culture can be diverse, equitable, and inclusive. Instead of relying solely on data and technology for several organizational functions and thereby snatching every opportunity from the underrepresented human pool, find means to make technology, data, and humans work in unison.

So, take your baby steps towards achieving an empowered DEI organizational culture, make way for a fair and exemplary workplace, and root for a high-performing workforce.

Building an Effective Workforce Post the Pandemic

Getting our employees to work safely from their homes, building a new remote work culture for them, and providing them with all the necessary resources were the first few things to do when the pandemic hit. And doing so has successfully helped industry leaders in keeping their businesses from drowning.

But now, it’s time to move ahead of the pandemic era and plan for a long-term and sustainable post-pandemic future. And the HR leaders are all charged up to make the post-pandemic workforce happen.

A post-pandemic efficient workforce will require reliable leaders, clear-cut understandable expectations, and most importantly, able psychological support.

Reliable leaders make resilient workforces

A future-ready workspace will need efficient and compassionate leaders on whom employees can rely. Only a dependable leader will succeed in making the employees feel heard and valued in the post-pandemic workspace. Making the employees feel acknowledged will increase engagement and efficiency. On the other hand, an unreliable leader will only lead to disengaged and unproductive employees. And a post-pandemic workspace will have no space for an unproductive employee. Businesses from here will get critical and hence will need authentic leaders for assessing employee performance fairly.

Well-defined organizations demand clear-cut expectations

The post-pandemic workforce being a hybrid one, will need to have a clear understanding of the new ways of work. This way, not only will they be sure of their goals but feel physically and psychologically protected too. Unclear expectations will lead to chaos and will eventually pull the organizational balance down. Evaluating the past experiences and estimating the future course will result in a well-defined organizational structure and clear goals.

Able psychological support helps fight anxiety and burnout

The lockdown has got people to slip into various psychological issues. The effect was visible in their professional lives equally, burnout being the most common manifestation of all. A sane and efficient future workforce will need an able psychological support system in place. The emotionally exhausted employees will seek a safe work culture, and the inability to provide that will jeopardize the business.

Tips for building an effective post-pandemic workforce

Firstly, a psychologically secured workspace will have to encourage limitations. Employees need to be relieved from being available all the time. It is about time that organizations embrace work-life negotiation and promote a healthy working pattern. Secondly, both the leaders and their teams will have to make genuine connections for open discussions. Lastly, the post-pandemic hybrid workspaces will demand inclusivity for people to voice their points of view without being fearful of judgments or unlikely repercussions.

Employee Experience – An HR Opportunity & Not Just A Fancy

Employee experience, as we knew it a year and a half back, is not the same today. With a pandemic in our kitty now, the entire landscape of work has changed. This sudden transformation has changed employee expectations too. 2020 has been significantly crucial for the HRs because they were creating something unique for the very first time, a wholesome hybrid working experience.

Employee experience & its urgency

Employee experience is a journey that encompasses every aspect of your employees’ timespan in your company. It counts the various interactions made, the job roles and responsibilities played, the impact of the workspace on employee wellbeing, and every other organizational aspect that you can recall.

When the pandemic made it compulsory for the HRs to think about efficient innovations and better technologies for the companies, a new kind of leadership for the employees and, a completely different set of healthcare guidelines for employee safety and wellbeing, the urgency of achieving top-notch employee experience became all the more visible. In absence of apt technologies, the HRs could not provide the much-needed support to the hybrid workforces working overtime and facing burnouts. This dearth had certainly taken away from the employee experience of various organizations.

The significant benchmarks

Talking without any data or statistics makes no sense today. Analytics has become a practice today, and organizations all over are deep diving into analytics for digging data on benchmarks that matter. Before facing any problem head-on, you need to know its origin. If you have the answer to the ‘why’, you are almost there. As far as employee experience is concerned, one significant benchmark acknowledging the employee sentiment and analytics come in handy here.

Another significant benchmark is the business data. To gauge the overall organizational performance, you need to have a firm hold on the business data. Analysis of the same data will expose tons of issues in front of you, responsible for organizational inefficiency or low productivity. Those details will guide you in prioritizing problems and solving them in succession. The entire exercise will fetch your expertise and help in improving the employee experience. Unless you start at the root of the problem area, you will not reach the pinnacle of it.

The hybrid work innovations

COVID-19 pandemic has led to a quick paradigm shift in the working patterns and culture. Organizations all over the world were hell-bent on devising solutions to assist in building an excellent employee experience in today’s hybrid ecosphere too. The idea behind all of these efforts was to keep the workforce connected, irrespective of their locations.

Next is the employee experience toolset that has been a huge driving factor in this scenario. Professionals have designed all-inclusive portals besides chatbots via which employees accomplish every organizational operation in no time. Even with all the tools in possession, an organization cannot boast of radiating excellent employee experience if it lacks the right kind of leadership.

Future of employee experience

The main deal here is to achieve high employee productivity; without compromising on employee health and wellbeing, and the industry leaders are on it. They are making every possible effort to make the employee experience of their organizations impeccable. Employee experience in the age of hybrid working is not just a fancy; but a huge opportunity for the HRs to grow, be more functional, design-oriented, and analytical!

Courage is Destiny – Reimagining Leadership in the Hybrid Workspaces

Having all the necessary tools in possession yet not having the courage to use them is like not having them at all. Likewise, if you are a leader with all the skills and qualities to lead the new-age hybrid workforce effectively, but you are not courageous enough to implement them, then you’re not being true to yourself.

Leading with Courage

Leading an organization is no easy job and doing the same with utmost courage does not happen overnight.

You need to allow and persuade yourself to take some necessary risks that will push you forward. It works best if you build yourself a courage ladder, shrug off the fear of taking risks and start facing the risks courageously, one at a time.

You can start by taking small risks and gradually proceed to the bigger ones, continuously reskilling and upskilling yourself along your way. This way, by the time you reach a point where you need to make big organizational decisions or strategies amid high stress, you are perfectly ready for it.

So, you see, it is significant that you have an adequate understanding of the risks that you are willing to take, arrange them in an ascending hierarchy, and then start making your moves.

Climbing up the courage ladder is supposed to be a great learning experience too. With the less risky incidents, you get the chance to weigh your ideas, approaches, and check which of them work and avoid the ones that don’t. Again, as you climb up carrying all your successes and failures, you learn to enhance your flexibility and manage your team better.

Being Proactive

Again, as a courageous leader, you must be proactive. You must work towards enhancing your own proficiency, sensitivity, knowledge, and equity, and most importantly, ensure that your workforce has faith in your direction.

You need to align your actions properly for your people to understand that your intent is sincere. “Practice what you preach” is an old saying, but still holds true. This way, you will not only be a courageous leader but an inspirational one too.

Trust the Timing

If you can pick your battles wisely and focus on the timing, you are already a step ahead of being a courageous leader. Remember, not every fight is your fight. A leader needs to understand personal as well as organizational objectives well enough and negotiate accordingly or set up a new strategy.

Competent leaders do not make impulsive moves in the name of displaying courage. They pay attention to the timing, think the situation through, and finally, act. You must wait for the right time to set off because that is what successful practitioners do. Being courageous is all about right timing, every other time you’re merely irrationally aggressive.

Therefore, in order to be true to your skills and thrive as a courageous leader you should weigh your options before fighting every battle so that you can be the enabler of your success and that of your team, not an unwanted organizational naysayer!

Happy working!

‘Work-Life Negotiation’ – What is the buzz all about?

We have talked a lot about work-life balance and its significance, more since the COVID-19 pandemic had hit us. But how many times could we achieve that balance and not merely stress ourselves over how to reach there?

The concept was pertinent to a pre-pandemic world where we were supposed to work during the day and were free for personal engagements after that. But with Work From Anywhere becoming the new norm, the lines got blurred.

The new-normal digital workspace has become a little more favorable for the employers than the employees. They expect the employees to take care of work, at any given time now. It has led to exhaustion, which in turn has given birth to burnout. Recent reports suggest that burnout is on a scary upsurge since the middle of last year.

Even though organizations are trying to achieve that perfect and unreal work-life balance, it’s not working. It’s about time we think of a more practical and considerate approach that will make sense today and even tomorrow.

When it comes to balancing two priorities, stress and apprehension are evident because personal and professional lives have forever been at odds with each other. Work-life is either perfectly balanced or no; there is no grey zone. Hence, organizations need to disrupt this concept and replace it with ‘Work-Life Negotiation’.

The only way we can deal with two clashing priorities is by negotiating. Work-life negotiation eliminates the constant need to balance. One day work is a priority, and on some other day, the personal life beyond work is.

Nowadays work seems to demand our me-times, and even the balance seems to get disturbed. In critical times like this, negotiation ensures that you will have a personal life, either tomorrow or the day after, if you chose the work-life today.

Industry leaders need to disrupt the concept of work-life balance so that negotiation can step in. There will be obstacles in the way but overcoming them will lead us to a whole new professional world of immense possibilities.

Employers should further focus on the output instead of the hours the remote employees put in. If the employees fail in backing the organizational goals, leaders should step in, take charge, not only as mere professionals but also as human beings, and help the employees get back on track. And for the office goers, employers should consider leveraging technology at its best so that the employees are not unnecessarily burdened.

The pandemic has given us a golden opportunity to create a new history. Let us not waste such a chance, bid adieu to the old-normal work-life balance, and empower ourselves to negotiate. Doing so will lead us to the most constructive professional (and personal, to some extent) experience ever.

Happy working!

From Workplace to Workspace – Working-from-Anywhere and Remote Collaboration

The concept of work from anywhere or WFA has been fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously organizations used to be sceptical about allowing their employees to work from home but a year into pandemic and lockdown have turned the tables.

Today organizations are planning to roll out a permanent hybrid work structure shortly. The WFA concept has placed the word ‘workspace’ in our minds. Tomorrow, your workspace can be your office or your drawing room or a coffee shop or a park, or any other place. It will free employees from the routine of sticking to one place when it comes to working.

With organizations going completely global in their hiring attempts and leaving no stone unturned for providing their distributed workforces with every required resource, WFA is bound to be a prime way of working going forward. One vital facet associated with WFA, collaboration is the topic of discussion today.

It is no secret that WFA collaboration is way tougher than our regular in-office collaboration. But, it is meaningful and fruit-bearing. All you need to do is follow certain principles that have been proved to yield augmented productivity and employee satisfaction as well as reduced costs.

Employees need to be the prime focus of WFA collaboration

Technology is undoubtedly a matter of high significance here but WFA collaboration should first be about the people. If the employees do not know how to work in sync or how to collaborate, there is no point in overwhelming them with a plethora of tools and software.

The first step is to make the employees aware of all the rules and regulations of the WFA environment, and also highlight what all is expected from them. You need to have proper WFA policies in place and employees practicing them. And as leaders, you need to commit yourselves to the WFA environment and thereby set the standard for your organizations.

Participation of teams should be mandatory in WFA decision-making

WFA or hybrid teams succeed only when each member is invested in it. Whether it is a decision-making session regarding the implementation of a new tool or the rolling-out of a particular strategy, various teams should be involved in the cause. When you fill the decisions with multidisciplinary perspectives, you fare better in meeting the needs of every team and in turn, the project.

Movement fluidity needs to be encouraged and tracked

As the name suggests, the WFA model is essentially fluid in nature. The fact that people can move to various places while working needs to be handled well, and organizations must be ready to adjust accordingly. There will be days when only 20-30% of the employees turn up, and similarly, there will be days when 90% turn up.

Organizations will have to be up and functioning effectively for both scenarios. You will need an effective tracking system for better resource allocation in a WFA model. In such cases, countless possibilities might turn up; all you need to do is rework and revamp your WFA strategy constantly.

Define the workspace digitally

A WFA workspace is all about being digitally enabled. A digital workspace where every employee, irrespective of their physical location can come together, collaborate, and work. Hence, every facet of a WFA workspace needs to be digitally defined and tech-enabled. A WFA environment demands a digital-first mindset. Starting from tools and technologies,

even the attitudes and approaches need to adopt the digital wave. The digital workspace should be the new HQ for uninterrupted collaboration and smooth functioning.

Even though the WFA concept is new but its challenges should not intimidate us. The concept is here to boost employee satisfaction, increase productivity, and attract as well as retain talent.

3 Essential Leadership Lessons We Learnt during the Pandemic

With a constant spotlight on industry leaders, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the role of leadership in dealing with a crisis. How an ideal leader should look like in the new normal or the next normal had been a collective question. With the first and second waves of COVID-19 bringing about the biggest crisis starting in 2020 and continuing till today, it has become imperative to churn out some major leadership lessons from the age of pandemic.

Even though nobody could define what lies on the other side of this pandemic, one thing that has come out very distinctively is that not every business organization has performed equally in battling COVID-19. Some have fared better than others, and how did they do so should serve as a lesson(s) to direct leadership from now onwards.

I. Female leadership is comparatively more successful in responding to a crisis

The pandemic has particularly highlighted the need to shift from traditional leadership to female leadership. Researches have shown that feminine power functions better in showing empathy, connecting with people, building an environment of trust, and mainly responding more effectively to a crisis. Even though some traits of feminine power have been active in the business for some time now, the COVID-19 pandemic has only emphasized the need to change positions.

II. Bad communication & lack of responsibility jeopardizes leadership efforts in trying times

A crisis demands an honest and transparent flow of communication. Organizations that practiced an unambiguous communication network could function better when the nations went under lockdown for the first time. In absence of a clear communication channel, the management had to face rising employee mistrust. It had jeopardized the ability of many organizations to function. When dived deep, this failing leadership was linked with bad communication and lack of responsibility. Leaders, who have succeeded in creating a transparent and honest environment, have also succeeded in tackling the crisis better.

III. Dealing with risks becomes easy when efficient collaboration is in place

Not every nation is fighting the pandemic with the same capacity. Similarly, every organization is not equally capable or equipped to manage a remote or hybrid and decentralized workforce of the new normal too. The risk that was imposed on us by the pandemic could not be mitigated alone, and efficient collaboration had to step in here. Organizations need to work with an inclusive perspective so that the entire chain can be made stronger.

Taking the pandemic leadership as a benchmark for tackling the crisis and maintaining business continuity, one can easily chalk out the traits that need to be fostered among the leaders to come. It took the world one pandemic to teach that empathy, responsibility, communication, and collaboration are the keys to effective leadership!