Sep 2021

Worklife balance after Covid – the shorter working week back on the agenda for Australian accounting firms.

By: Odyssey General, Outsourcing
Tags: COVID19, Worklife Balance

One of the longer term Coronavirus affects is likely to be a rethink of the previous office benefits that have likely languished over the past year or two: free yoga, lunchtime breakout rooms for mediation, onsite chefs, fusball tables, bean bags. Likely many accounting firms have seen any benefits fall by the way side as less important as employees are likely going to be pushing towards a better work life balance, especially in the light of burnout and stress associated with multiple lockdowns and instability in the workplace.

As Australia hurtles towards sufficient population vaccination, there are starting to be discussions on what a post-pandemic Australia might look like.

The AFR recently floated the idea of the 4 day working week, alongside the knock off after lunch every Friday. At the same time, they indicated the free yoga and other benefits weren’t sufficient to offset the digital connection of employees, often resulting in increasing working hours, zoom fatigue and challenges of digital load management.

In the same article research suggested that employers need to prepare for high staff turnover in the next 12 months, with 44 per cent of enterprise workers planning to switch jobs next year.

So as many firms are looking at reduced working hours, or at least working days, there begs the question of how this will work. If everyone in the firm takes the Friday off, but has twice as much work on Monday to get through, then this isn’t resolving the issue.

Many questions remain: Will the productivity remain the same, will the employees work the same working hours but in a 4 day week, will employees be able to switch off on their days off, if productivity isn’t the same will it be up to outsourcing offshore to offset the costs of reduced productivity.

One choice available to employees is to a trend known as ‘downshifting’, voluntarily reducing income and hours. Downshifting frequently involves a change in values, such as prioritising health, spending less and de-connecting our self from our job through creating space and then challenges outside the workforce.

Certainly the future post covid is still unclear, but it is certain there is resistance by employees to a “return to normal” if there was any concept of normal in a post covid world.

In the meantime, if you need help with formulating an outsourcing strategy, then drop us a line.

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