The world is changed. Beyond the health crisis, COVID-19 has reshaped workplaces, the economy and how businesses operate. Its impact will continue to influence our lives for years to come, writes Eddie Megas, Managing Director, ADP Australia.
According to a recent article from McKinsey & Company, there are five stages every company will face during the pandemic. The first two are underway: managing the health emergency, and the immediate adjustment businesses have made in response to the crisis, such as the mass movement to working from home during lockdown.
Rethinking business in the new normal
The three stages yet to be overcome are planning for the new normal, rethinking business according to the new reality, and understanding the changed market. To embrace this change, businesses need to be more adaptable than ever.
Technology has long been the driver of change in business. Industry 4.0 has seen artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and machine learning revolutionise many industries. The businesses that had taken steps to utilise these technologies pre-pandemic had an edge, but the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of this software across the market.
Supporting flexible work
During the lockdown in Australia, almost half of the working population shifted to work from home arrangements to some degree, compared to 28 per cent pre-COVID-19.
To support the move to working from home with minimal disruption and maximum efficiency, businesses have needed to implement smart technology solutions and reinvent established processes to be more digital. Digitisation has demanded new ways of thinking about the world of work, both practically (as organisations increase the number of digital tools being used by the workforce) and culturally (as a shift in mindset is required to adapt to the new way of delivering products and services).
Keeping up with payroll changes
Other changes have been more challenging. Some internal processes, including payroll management, have long been run on legacy systems that have struggled to keep pace with the rapid regulation updates for compliant payroll. In Australia, JobKeeper allowances have required payroll managers to regularly change payroll processes. Without an agile, accessible cloud-based solution, this has not always been possible for those that are now forced to work remotely.
Before COVID-19, many companies in Australia were exploring the adoption of cloud-based solutions and the internet of things to provide a competitive edge. However, the new reality demands that companies embrace these solutions as the minimum for continued operations and success.
To be ready for a future that is still uncertain, companies must start a modernisation process that involves the acquisition of flexible technologies. This will be key to facing the next series of challenges during this transitionary period, and making a company more resilient and ready for what lies ahead.
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