One unexpected outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic is the acceleration of trends in the way we work. We probably all expected that with greater connectivity, and innovation in digital communication platforms that remote work would become the norm for many, not that we would be catapulted from the office to the lounge in mere weeks. Similarly, flexible, outcome oriented working schedules, once the exclusive domain of silicon valley tech firms, are considered not just necessary for talent acquisition, but a boon for creativity and productivity regardless of industry.
Then there are the less obvious shifts: The acceleration of e-commerce and automation, for example, are expected to require up to 25% more workers than previously estimated to switch occupations. This isn’t necessarily a ‘robots are coming’ moment, but it has created ripples in the way certain industries organise labour.
Perhaps the most interesting trend that has emerged in the last two years has been a broader acceptance of the idea of sharing staff: The Pandemic caused demand for some roles to skyrocket, while others plummeted, causing a need for companies to temporarily re-allocate staff accordingly. Secondments between departments and even between companies were rapidly normalised to incredible success, giants including ANZ, Amazon, Boeing, Nokia, Toyota, and Uber all took to the concept, mobilising their existing workforce into alternative roles to meet the changing demands of the post-pandemic environment.
The question now is whether these trends will continue: The answer depends: For some, a return to normal will not come quickly enough. For others, the dust of uncertainty has begun to settle, with the rapid shift into the future of work already paying dividends. Flexible working arrangements are reducing overheads, experiments such as four-day work weeks are being turned out with startling success, and companies the world over are discovering the value of the shared labour force as a means of saving on labour costs in slower times, and growing with greater certainty, in busier times.
Workable NZ is New Zealand’s first staff sharing platform, it hosts a community of construction and technology employers and contractors who connect regularly to support each other’s staffing requirements.
Read more about how Workable helps kiwis grow their businesses and save money here