What the COVID-19 pandemic taught us about productivity and the future of work

What the COVID-19 pandemic taught us about productivity and the future of work

The Covid-19 pandemic has forever changed the future of work but it has also taught us a far more important lesson - to always be prepared. 

When faced with extensive lockdowns, a lack of preparation meant that new operating parameters needed to be fast-tracked to ensure productivity continued. The result was that many employees began working from home but with no clear policies in place to protect either workers or SMEs. 

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, few SMEs were comfortable with employees working remotely, this changed with Covid-19. 

Remote working has become a popular and flexible work option, a recent study found that employee performance increased by up to 13% and productivity by 77% when working from home.

Here are five other major changes to consider in our current working environment:

1. Leverage cloud storage

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that cloud storage is essential for the future of business. It’s enabled a working from home model that’s shown itself to be surprisingly resilient and successful. With many employees working online from home at least some days per week since the beginning of the pandemic, leveraging the potential of cloud storage has become a fundamental part of running a successful business.

2. Embrace technology

Another change was the Australian Government approval for GPs to hold telehealth video consultations with patients, which continues to be widespread, another major technological advance. This type of technology was not only used by doctors to consult with their patients, but also accessed by technicians and engineers to assist onsite workers when their expertise was required during lockdown. Embracing technological advances is a strategy that is a significant advantage for many SMEs as they continue to deal with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

3. Explore automation

Many SMEs increased their use or added new technology during the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in the service and information sectors. Businesses, such as factories and fast-food outlets turned to new types of technology to keep their businesses operating, due to social distancing rules. Other SMEs already using technology for operations, such as onboarding and offboarding processes, were able to pivot this technology to assist employees working from home. Utilising new technology has been a strategy that has and is helping many SMEs optimise productivity or get back on their feet.

4. Adopt flexible working

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, few employees were working from home and four-day weeks were practically non-existent. Due to the pandemic and lockdowns, employees commenced working from home and some have been reluctant to return to the workplace for a number of reasons, including new waves of Covid-19 and are actively seeking employers who offer flexible working options. With the current employee shortage, adopting a more flexible working environment may well be an ongoing legacy of the pandemic. 

5. Promote employee wellness

Since the pandemic, compassion, empathy and employee wellness have become even more important elements of managing a business. With many employees working online from home, Covid-19, sickness and stress, achieving a work-life balance has become essential, particularly for parents with kids at home, or elderly relatives. Many employers have risen to the challenge by providing a range of networking events and mental health initiatives to support these workers. After all, happy employees have lower absenteeism, lower resignation rates and better work outcomes.

Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic had had some devastating consequences, we have learnt many lessons that will continue to shape the future of work in Australia far into the future.

However, if you’re considering embracing working from home, remote online working or four-day weeks as a model for your business, don’t forget to access your insurance risks and policies, including the increased risk of cyber-attacks. It’s worth consulting an insurance professional, who can provide advice to help you protect your business and minimise your company’s risks related to the new technology.

Find your local insurance adviser today to discuss your risks and to find a policy tailored to you. 

Important Information 

This communication including any weblinks or attachments is for information purposes only. It is not a recommendation or opinion, your personal or individual objectives, financial situation or needs have not been taken into account. This communication is not intended to constitute personal advice. This type of insurance product is designed for small and large businesses, that want to be covered against financial loss relating to accidents or personal injury involving contractors or sub-contractors.

We strongly recommend that you consider the suitability of this information, in respect of your objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. This document is also not a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or a policy wording, nor is it a summary of a particular product’s features or terms of any insurance product. If you are interested in discussing this information or acquiring an insurance product, you should contact your insurance adviser to obtain and carefully consider any relevant PDS or policy wording before deciding whether to purchase any insurance product.

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