September 2021

DIGITAL WORKPLACE – WHEN ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME…

Shraddha Dedhia
Chartered Accountant | Jigar Shah
Company Secretary

In the previous article we spoke briefly about the ‘Digital Workplace’, its advantages, limitations and so on. ‘Digital Workplaces’ are evolving very quickly; while there are many who feel that these will replace existing physical offices completely, others believe that these will go out of fashion as soon as ‘normalcy’ returns. However, we believe that just like every other technological change, starting from computers to mobile phones, the ‘Digital Workplace’ will not replace the existing way of working but it will co-exist with the existing office environment; however, we will see a digital transformation in the way we work.

Digital transformation is a journey that every firm will have to undertake in its own way with multiple connected intermediary goals, striving, in the end, towards ubiquitous optimisation across processes… and the business ecosystem of a hyper-connected age between people, teams, technologies, various players in ecosystems, etc., is the key to success.

Before talking about the alternatives, we are sure everyone reading this article is aware that a Traditional Office was the basic or primary way that an office existed. A professional wanting to start a business or practice would first look for an ‘Office Place’.

The ‘Office’ had its own advantages and limitations but it was the only way we used to work. Many employees complained about having to get to the office daily, or getting half a day’s wages cut for punching in five minutes late and spending so much critical time travelling to the office. A study by MoveInSync1 found that Indians spend 7% of their day getting to their offices. However, with the outbreak of the pandemic, everything has changed, starting from the perception of individuals to realistic circumstances. Since travelling has not been permitted for the major portions of the years 2020 and 2021, businesses have been left with no option but to switch to digitalisation and to a digital office. In India we call this ‘jugaad’. But the ‘jugaad’ worked! Almost everyone adjusted to the new normal and somehow survived the toughest of times. After the two ‘waves’ that have come and gone and the threat of a third wave looming large, some of the businesses have already restarted and switched back to the traditional office concept. People are taking precautions to the extent possible and are resigned to their fate, but feeling that they do not have any other option, offices are resuming normal work.
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1 https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/jobs/indians-spend-7-of-their-day-getting-totheir- office/articleshow/70954228.cms

But is it true that we do not have any option other than to just move back to our physical offices despite all the inherent dangers? Or can we have better alternatives and take maximum benefit of the learnings from

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