Almost a year since the 100th Covid-19 case was recorded in March 2020, Australians are working from home more than they were before the pandemic – and they expect this pattern to continue, according to data released yesterday (Wednesday) by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
ABS Head of Household Surveys, David Zago, said the latest Household Impacts of Covid-19 Survey showed two in five people with a job (41 percent) worked from home at least once a week in February this year, compared with 24 percent at least once a week before March 2020.
Nearly half expect situation to remain unchanged
“Employed Australians expected work-from-home arrangements to continue throughout the year,” Zago said.
“In the next six months, 47 percent of employed Australians expected the amount of work from home to remain the same, 11 percent expected a decrease and 8 percent expected an increase.
The Bureau of Statistics findings tie in with a range of recent studies which show work-from-home is likely to remain at far higher levels than prior to Covid and will become a permanent or semi-permanent feature of working life for many. So much so, that CBDs around Australian cities are undergoing permanent change.
Sea change in the way people will work in future
Deloitte Australia’s human capital leader, Pip Dexter, told the Australian Financial Review there is a “global groundswell” for a sea change in the way people work post-Covid-19. She believes that the momentum for change is now unstoppable.
“I don’t see us snapping back to the old ways of working,” Dexter said.
“There are two reasons for that: people have experienced what a different way of working – a better way of working – looks like, and a lot of leaders have realised that people have been more productive in this new hybrid way of working.”
A year of experimentation and learning in 2021
Although the hybrid workplace will feature more prominently this year, Dexter expects 2021 will be “a year of experimentation and learning” for organisations as they “reimagine what the new world of work will look like and how to make it better than before”.
A survey by recruitment group Hays of 2,500 working professionals in November 2020 found that 61 percent believed a hybrid working model was the most productive.
The study also discovered that almost half of employers were open to retaining working from home as part of their workplace mix.