The policy of strict early lockdown and aggressive quarantine protocols has been effective in bringing down the number of COVID-19 cases in Australia. Their intensive contact tracing strategy since the starting of the pandemic has added to the recovery of human lives as well as the economy to a greater extent. As businesses in Australia are marching and preparing to re-start in the post pandemic world, here are few trends that are seen to be the focus in the coming months.
Remote working is here to stay
In a recent survey by PwC on global workforce including more than two thousands Australians, three quarters of Australians stated that their ideal work environment is a mix of remote and in-person working. However, as the post pandemic era too is marked by anxiety about the future; so around 16% of respondents still prefer a wholly remote working arrangement when it comes to work. In fact, many employers have planned to permanently shift employees to remote work after the COVID-19 crisis ends.
Companies like Megaport, Stanwood, Appen, Hometime, Anchor and Red Guava have already embraced the remote work culture.
The tech giant Atlassian, headquartered in Australia recently announced that they would allow their employees to work remotely if they choose to. They also have been supporting their workforce with special five days of paid leave for volunteering purposes and also have allocated a dedicated budget for their employees home office setup cost.
Fear of uncertainty, anxiety and job security on the rise
Businesses are evolving their models amid the current economic fluctuations of the post pandemic environment. The business landscape is still punctuated by the uncertainty of the pandemic and more than fifty percent of the workforce has feelings of insecurity. On an average more than two in five workers are seen reporting personal stress levels rising. They are worried about their jobs and the employment landscape of the future. Especially in the hospitality and leisure industry, the workforce wants the government to intervene in matters of protecting their employment as it is one of the hardest hit industries. Also, with the rise of technology, it is seen that the Australian workforce feels automation to be a big concern.
Re-skilling of Australian workforce: Top priority
Australian business ecosystem has always been dependent on migration of skilled resources. With the global movement restrictions, relying on cross border talent movement is no more an option. To fill skill shortages and meet the demands of rapid technology growth, leaders have to re-align their workforce into re-skilling and up-skilling. Around 75% of Australians are seen to be ready to learn new skills to stay employed.
Atlassian, the creator of major collaboration tools used worldwide like Trello, Jira and Confluence have allotted an annual education budget for growth and development opportunities for their employees when it comes to reskilling and up-skilling.
Shifting focus on employee well-being
The pandemic has put back the focus on creating a healthy, happy and engaged workplace by all companies. While battling loneliness, isolation, and burnout; staying productive has become a daunting task for leaders to achieve. Leaders are making every inch of effort to create an effective wellness program to help build credibility and trust within employees. This consequently will be helpful in enhancing organizational productivity leading to greater job satisfaction, and a secure long term sustainable competitive advantage for businesses.
KellyOCG’s commitment to staff wellness strategy has helped to attract and retain workers while providing superior customer service to their clients.
The company had introduced a third-party platform just before the pandemic for employees needing assistance with work or mental wellness that helped their workforce to stay engaged and healthy during the pandemic.
Increased challenges of data privacy and intrusion of personal space
In March, 2021 the Australian Signals Directorate's Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) had confirmed Australian organizations that over 7,000 servers locally had been affected by a hack for those using Microsoft Exchange products and urged the Aussie corporations to urgently patch their software after it was compromised by hackers. The rise in cyber attacks and hacks have left Australians skeptical when it comes to sharing their personal data.
Employees are seen to have contradictory ideas and mixed feelings about being monitored at work. Around 42% of Australians seem to be unwilling to give their employer access to their personal data, which also include social media profiles and other personal details.
It is quite evident that disruption from the pandemic is seen to continue and will create ripple effects on the workforce. But despite the turbulence in the business ecosystem, many Australian companies are making real efforts to enhance employee’s morale and keep their spirits high. Trends ranging from transitioning to a fully remote work to developing wellness programs are seen to make up for better days ahead and despite the feeling of uncertainty looming around, the majority of the workforce feel buoyant about the year ahead.