Companies need to understand that hybrid work model is an undeniable reality: Dilip Yadav

Yadav, Founding Partner, First Partners, discusses why it has become the need of the hour for companies to adapt to the hybrid model with workplaces starting to reopen

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Nov 12, 2021 8:09 AM  | 5 min read
Dilip Yadav

The Hybrid work model has now become an important tool for offices as compared to the traditional work model. There are various agencies and firms that have given the flexibility to work on-site or remotely to professionals. As companies are trying to find the best solution for their employees, it's clear that workers are hesitant to gather in person. The choice is difficult for professionals as it took them 19 months to adjust to the work-from-home system. 

In today’s session, e4m spoke to Dilip Yadav, Founding Partner at First Partners, where he shared his insights on how adapting to a hybrid work model can become an ideal solution for professionals as offices start to reopen.

Professionals have now adapted to the hybrid working model. Do you think it will be easy for them to go back to the same routine as offices are now reopening?

It is true that with the arrival of the COVID pandemic, a lot of things have been altered considerably and quite significantly. Working from home and staying in virtual connected spaces have been some of the prominent manifestations of the new normal, which is sure to pose a major challenge for any attempt to return to pre-pandemic scenarios. For most professionals, it is going to be very daunting to return to the office on a full-time basis. The last two years have seen major adjustments and realignments, both at the professional and the personal fronts. For instance, people who have returned to their hometowns and resettled there may not find it easy to return to their city of work and pull their roots up again. Similarly, other issues like cost of living, work-life balance, flexible timing, safety and security, all these factors will provide resistance to the idea of returning to the office physically.

During the pandemic, the agencies and corporates have recruited many young talents who have been working remotely. Do you think they are prepared for coming to the office physically?

If there is one demographic that has been eager at the prospect of the re-set to the pre-pandemic scenario, it is the younger professionals, particularly those who have just started out fresh. These people are full of energy, eager to excel, and are mentally at their best potential. Every time the world has been faced by a challenge, be it climatic, political, social or even economic, the youngsters have been our frontline defence. With age and health on their side, these professionals are best suited to lead the recovery from the past to the future and it is no wonder that organizations are looking up to these people to bring back the colour to the dark times we have lived through.

How have businesses and firms adapted to the changed norms due to the pandemic?

The way we work and live now is going to define our future contours in the times to come. One of these aspects is working in a hybrid manner with WFH and WFO co-existing in many places. Companies need to clearly understand that this hybrid model is an undeniable reality. The pandemic has clearly demonstrated that skill-sets are not easily substitutable, especially in the communications industry. An environment with a need for highly differentiated skills and a hugely specialized niche media has increased the demand for the specialist-professional. Therefore, if physical presence in the office on every single day of the week is the only option available, it may no longer be possible for companies to retain specialist resources. A hybrid model allows building a team comprising of specialists, irrespective of the location they are based in. Also, another reality of the PR consulting industry is that we need to be driven by the needs of the clients. If our clients are working full-time from offices and expect the agency teams to join in for meetings, we need to be sensitive to their needs. The ideal solution is a healthy hybrid model of working, with travelling once a week to the office. This will minimize the health risks of enclosed spaces and at the same time will offer the flexibility of working from home. Of course, this, like any other major change, will happen gradually.

How will you take care of the employees who recovered from covid-19 disease?

Our real strength and value are our employees. For any organization, it is the responsibility of every member to take care of each other as a family. The COVID crisis has made us deeply aware of the need for being together and for shoring up defences - be it mental, physical, or economic. We have been in constant touch with our affected people and have been proving all assistance needed for them to overcome these challenging times.

What according to you are the changes that communication industry will undergo in the times to come? 

One thing is certain that business opportunities and working towards everyone’s advantage are definitely increasing. Another key change that we envisage is the transformation of the media from a ‘one size fits all’ omnibus model to a niche one where online presence is highly desirable and instantly consumable. Consequently, those skills are also going to be in demand which can map onto the needs of the new media world and provide the higher level of customized client delivery that is now called for. We hope to witness an era of high talent, more focused agencies, a rise of regional focus, and an increase in hybrid, location-independent presences for virtual global agencies.

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