The way we work will never be the same after COVID-19, but that’s not a bad thing.
In the space of a year, Australian businesses have had to adopt and master workforce trends that were once on the distant horizon.
Practically overnight, organisations had to shift to remote work, adopt new procedures and new tech, and digitally transform their businesses. Manual, outdated systems have been digitised, processes streamlined and decentralised, and remote working embraced as the new normal.
So how have Australian business owners felt about this sudden overhaul?
DocuSign surveyed 2,008 office workers around Australia to understand how COVID-19 has changed attitudes towards the future of work.
What they found is a telling snapshot of how Australians are adapting to change – and finding they don’t want to look back.
The sudden shift to remote work wasn’t a huge change for many workers. DocuSign research discovered that three in five (59%) workers were able to work remotely prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
One year on, 80% of office workers have embraced remote working — and many don’t want to look back.
The report found that flexibility needs to become embedded into the way we do work, but we also have to embrace the importance of in-person interactions — both for team building and productivity.
Today, just 32% of workers believe they’re more connected to their colleagues when they’re working from home compared to the office.
Embracing remote work requires organisations to take the lead with technology that fosters connection and meaningful interactions while at work.
And with 52% of Australian workers saying they prefer the structure and stability of full-time office hours, there’s scope to create flexibility by allowing the option of working from wherever suits employees best.
The change to full-time remote work was very different to working from home once a week.
Maintaining motivation amidst a pandemic — with children, housemates, pets and family members under one roof — was difficult for many workers, crowded at kitchen tables or taking conference calls in their bedrooms.
Maintaining motivation was cited as the biggest challenge of remote working by 44% of respondents. Another 41% said ensuring work-life balance was the most challenging aspect, while 34% struggled the most with feeling disconnected from their team.
But in the face of motivational and technological challenges, Australians have shouldered the load and are working strong.
An overwhelming majority — 82% of Australians — believe they can do their job effectively while at home, and 81% are able to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
As Australians settle into remote working, 80% say they are working as hard or harder than when they were in the office.
Despite the fact that the majority of Australians say they’re working harder, less than half (49%) of all workers believe they are more productive working from home.
It’s now up to organisations to drive productivity by introducing tech solutions that reduce manual effort and allow for meaningful, strategic work to be done.
More than a quarter of office workers believe that having access to the right technology fosters higher productivity, and 28% say it improves the level of work they do.
The organisations that are proactive in adopting technology to enhance their workforce are the ones that are well-placed to adapt to whatever disruption the future holds.
The future of work is well and truly here. As we look beyond the horizon, it’s up to organisations to listen to what the workforce is saying and embrace flexibility, collaboration and efficiency.
With people eschewing the daily commute for flexible hours and work-life balance, the line between work and home is blurred. Organisations should take advantage of this shift and foster a culture of trust and open communication, all underpinned by technology that allows people to do great work, no matter where they are.
DocuSign helps organisations connect and automate how they prepare, sign, act on and manage agreements. As part of the DocuSign Agreement Cloud, DocuSign offers eSignature, the world's number one way to sign electronically on practically any device, from almost anywhere, at any time. Today, more than 750,000 customers and hundreds of millions of users in over 180 countries use DocuSign to accelerate the process of doing business and to simplify people's lives. For more information, visit our website or call 1800 255 982.