Yet a new world of work doesn’t have to be a negative prospect. There are plenty of opportunities for businesses in the years ahead, especially those who adapt quickly and put people first and foremost.
Understanding the New World of Work – COVID-19 Was a Catalyst
The workplace has changed dramatically as a result of COVID-19. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, over 40% of Australians are now working from home for at least part of the week, up from 24% prior to the pandemic.
For workers who are in the office, shop or warehouse, things look very different: more face masks, fewer after-work drinks. More sanitising, less job security. More people stood down, and fewer people on the team.
The pandemic has transformed not just where people work but who works, how they work and what they need. Women have borne the brunt of job losses, while migrant workers have struggled to enter the country. Even among those who have stayed in work, many worry about their job security.
As people face increased stress and isolation, mental health and wellbeing have suffered. Workers will need greater support from their company, ranging from the structural – such as flexible scheduling – through to the interpersonal, such as regular check-ins by managers.
Unfortunately, communication has become more challenging and stilted at a time when people most need it. Constant and varied communication helps people who are vulnerable to stay resilient, energised and optimistic. As such, businesses can no longer rely on old-fashioned means of communication, and instead must seek out new systems: app-based messaging systems, engagement monitoring and more.
The Post-COVID World Brings Risk – And Opportunity
It’s not just communication methods that need to change. The economic impact of the pandemic, along with changes to consumer behaviour, means this could be a difficult time for businesses that do not adapt.
It’s not just staff whose needs and wants have changed: customers and clients will also look for different things from companies. The new habits they have formed over the last year may be hard to shake.
Companies across many sectors will find they need to be more responsive and flexible than ever – especially in terms of rostering and shift planning.
The good news is that companies who are informed, prepared and able to adapt quickly will find there are new opportunities for growth. A motivated and resilient workforce will be key to managing these new situations and coming out ahead.
Strategies That Will Enable Your Business to Thrive
While every business will need to find its own route to post-COVID success, those who understand the importance of employee experience, communications and responsiveness will likely bounce back quicker.
To achieve this, companies should:
1. Be People-Centric
From improving scheduling to ensuring good communications, there are many ways for companies to make sure that the employee experience is positive. And when they achieve that, employees will become more engaged, loyal and positive representations of the brand. Ultimately, fostering a sense of belonging and looking after workers’ wellbeing will help staff and businesses alike manage these challenging times.
2. Invest in Communications and Automated Systems
Automated scheduling, app-based communications and streamlined processes: technology can help businesses navigate the new business landscape with ease. By refining processes and upgrading communications, companies will see their flexibility and responsiveness increase. Employee engagement will also improve, while better decisions will be made by more informed managers.
3. Use Data to Make Informed Decisions
Consumer behaviour has changed, and so too have demands for labour and services. The best decisions will be made based on data and external events – not gut instinct or what worked two years ago.
4. Pay Attention to Cash Flow
Cash flow management is key to being responsive. Keep track of the cash conversion cycle, examine your revenue streams and consider if you need to (or can) reduce your variable costs. Look for areas where your cash flow might be squeezed, and be proactive about seeking solutions.
5. Prioritise Flexibility
From scheduling to stock, focusing on flexibility will help you improve your responsiveness while controlling your costs and cash flow. Flexible scheduling will also help workers, especially women, carers and casual workers. Combine this with automation and modern communication systems to ensure everything still runs smoothly.
New Challenges, New Opportunities
In the post-pandemic world, there are challenges but also opportunities ahead for businesses. By remaining people-centric and prioritising the needs and experiences of customers and workers alike, companies can not just adapt but experience increased growth and profitability.
At Humanforce, we believe that good workforce management systems support businesses in improving their relationship with their workers. By automating and simplifying processes, we can help you to enhance employee experience while also improving productivity and efficiency – which will help your business thrive in this rapidly transforming business landscape.
To discover more business strategies and insights that will help your company succeed in the new world of work, register for our Future of Work Summit on the 27th of May 2021.
The event will explore future trends in workforce management and employee experience, how companies are successfully moving forward after COVID-19 and much more. Speakers include Sam Bloom, Janine Waters of BDO Australia, and Jason Averbrook of Leapgen, while topics include:
- Why focus on the employee experience?
- Whole Person Approach to Creating Digital Employee Experiences
- Future of WFM: Designing the experience for the deskless worker
Sign up here to attend.