It’s business, but not as usual.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, remote work and shifting company priorities have become the new normal for most employees. Many organisations are transforming entire business models. Teleconferencing, digital collaboration tools, online products and services are fast becoming the norm.

While the shift towards digital was in play before the pandemic hit, COVID-19 has accelerated change in workplaces across Australia. We take a look at the biggest impacts that the coronavirus will have on the world of work as we know it.

1. Technology will become more integrated into the workplace

Although plenty of companies have embraced technology as a driver for change, many were still behind the curve and playing catch-up. However, the coronavirus and the resulting work from home reality has forced workplaces to amp up their technology to better support remote workers. Even those that didn’t have the technology have had to quickly pivot, adapt, and make do with the existing systems in place. This, in turn, has identified areas of tech and IT that were either severely lacking or non-existent, requiring businesses to act fast to ensure WFH success for the majority of their workforce.

Looking ahead, we’ll likely see more organisations invest in upgrading to robust, modern tech infrastructure, in order to ensure they are well prepared for situations like this in the future.

2. Virtual collaboration will be the norm

With more employees working from home, teams have turned to virtual collaboration tools to run meetings and work together. According to CNN, virtual conferencing tools like Zoom have become essential in connecting teams during the lockdown.

Going forward, organisations will be better equipped to use virtual collaboration tools to work together and managers will be more comfortable with managing remote teams. On top of this, many companies may take this as an opportunity to completely overhaul their processes and shift to an online way of working.

3. Greater support for flexible working

Australian workplaces have been opening up to flexible work arrangements for a while now, and the coronavirus is a catalyst that is already accelerating this transition.

With more employees working from home, leadership teams have been forced to adapt to a remote workforce. Although we will see many office-based once the pandemic is over, this experience means more companies may introduce flexible working options in the future. Plus, they’ll have better digital tools and IT infrastructure to support it.

4. Placing the focus on people and CSR

With the economic slowdown already happening, organisations have had to take a long look at what they stand for, what their purpose is, and how their people contribute to their overarching culture and values. COVID-19 has shifted the focus from bottom lines and business as usual, and instead is forcing companies to put the spotlight on culture, mental health and CSR.

On top of adjusting business practices and policies to protect employees, companies around the world are ramping up their CSR efforts. Optus, for example, have launched an initiative for consumers to donate their data to kids so they can access online learning while schools are closed.

5. Rethinking products and services

Periods of change require companies to innovate, create, and adapt. From online shopping and takeout to virtual classes and consultations, organisations are rethinking and overhauling their products or services during these trying times. While many of these have been introduced as a temporary fix, some organisations may discover new ideas that become part of their permanent business offering in the future.

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