The Role Of Data & Analytics In The New Hybrid Model Of Work

While the pandemic has normalized remote working, one the biggest question still looming is what the future holds and if this new normal will transform workplaces permanently?

It has been a year since the world has been ravaged with COVID-19 and the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic. Millions have lost their lives and jobs, while others are working remotely as companies are taking measures to protect their valued employees. While the pandemic has normalized remote working, one the biggest question still looming is what the future holds and if this new normal will transform workplaces permanently?

Ushering in a new era of work

In a recent survey conducted by Gartner in December 2020, 90% of companies plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time, even after the COVID-19 vaccine is widely adopted. 65% of respondents reported that their organization will continue to offer employees flexibility on when and where they work by offering the technical infrastructure to support internal and external collaboration, and the data insights that give leadership teams the confidence to adapt policies with agility.   

This acceptance of ‘the new norm’ of working from home is showing how the pandemic has changed corporate culture. The complete shift from primarily office-based to an equal balance of working from home and office is similar to a move from people using technology to being empowered by technology, as this is not just about locations. In short, a hybrid model is likely to emerge, balancing the benefits of remote work with the benefits of social interactions, as well as the creativity and innovation produced by working with others in person.

Prioritizing collaboration to avoid data siloes  

What’s needed will depend on the company, the industry they operate in and the role of the employee themselves. That said, there will be some consistencies, drawing on the experiences of 2020 – the ability to communicate, collaborate and create within teams that might not be in the same room, and the ability to access and digest information to make informed decisions without elongated discussions, meetings and ad hoc informal catch ups. Underpinning all of this is a need for data and there comes the role of adopting required data driven solutions - a proper integration of data and real-time analytics.

It is the leaders who will need to ensure that having a mixture of physical and digital workspaces does not lead to data becoming siloed. More specifically, they must deliver access to trusted, cleaned and governed data, in real-time and in the right context. If these parameters are met, then decision-making, sharing information, and actioning data-driven outcomes that deliver value will become a reality for an organization, irrespective of where their teams are working from. 

Data literacy to empower employees

The digital transformation has resulted in a data explosion, and in order to avoid wasting data, businesses need a large and data-literate workforce. In a pre-pandemic study from Accenture and Qlik, 75% of C-level decision makers believed that all or most of their employees could proficiently work with data, yet just 21% of the global workforce said they felt confident in their data literacy skills.

The lack of knowledge on using data can be draining for both individuals and organizations in today's digital-first environment. In every organization's data analytics pipeline, professionals that are uncomfortable with data are a weak link. Data literacy is a vital piece in connecting the potential of data with the enablement of dispersed workforces – without it, worker productivity will be restricted to when they have access to specialist teams, or even when those teams are available to meet. And fundamentally, it will undermine the effectiveness and competitiveness of the business. 

And as data and analytics technologies constantly evolve, employees must also upskill. Data literate employees will be better able to survive and succeed in the current market turmoil – and, by extension, will be able to help their companies do the same. They can help organisations respond better to planned and unforeseen changes, as well as proactively prepare for contingencies to ensure smoother business continuity, thanks to insights that only data can provide. As a result, leaders must ensure that data literacy training, which can be done both in the workplace and at home, is a key component of their organization's data strategy, with these employees encouraged to ask questions about converting data into a better output. 

Hello! hybrid workforce 

Organizations that get it right in the battle for talent, with policies that workers favor and workplaces that are purpose-designed to be vibrant, promote teamwork, and productivity for the new way of working by this hybrid working culture, will emerge victorious from the coming talent crisis. To make this approach successful, leaders must continue to build on the digital foundations established in 2020. By closing data silos and upskilling their employees in data literacy, they will foster a culture of data-driven decision-making amongst the workforce that caters to having both physical and digital teams. It’s time to say hello to (and prepare for) the hybrid workforce, it’s here to stay.

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hybrid model Data & Analytics COVID-19


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