Millions of Australians have quickly adjusted to working from home in response to social distancing measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. For many businesses, the most surprising thing is how well it has been working.
“It’s been more positive than we ever thought it could be. Sometimes change needs to be rushed through: in this case we had no chance but to adapt,” says Paul Grubb, Executive Director of DPM Financial Services.
DPM’s 170 employees were ready to work remotely just three days after the measures were announced, once their own laptops were configured with the required security protocols.
“We’d had people working from home on an ad hoc basis before, but we’d never contemplated a 100% shift,” Grubb explains. “This is also our busiest time. We generate 45% of our income in the last three months of the financial year.”
The feedback from DPM’s team is overwhelmingly positive. “Over 90% of our people told us in a recent survey it’s been a good experience from a work perspective,” Grubb says. “Many people feel more productive. They are able to get through more work because there are fewer interruptions.”
According to a recent survey of HR leaders by Gartner, 41% of employees are likely to still work remotely, at least some of the time, once the virus is contained1. DPM’s own survey suggests one-third of its staff would prefer to have the flexibility to work from home at least some of the time – and while Grubb acknowledges this will be role-specific, he’s prepared to have that discussion.
“This crisis has turned traditional assumptions about how we work on its head,” he says.
Dominic Price, Work Futurist at Atlassian, believes this could be an opportunity to shape a better ‘new normal’.
“What are the things we want to stop, when this crazy experiment is finished, and what are the things we want to start? The danger is we just copy and paste from the past, and we don’t take the opportunity to learn.”