How COVID-19 will change our working models

Friday, 01 May 2020


    The abrupt shift to remote working will have lasting impact, writes Uschi Schreiber AM, EY fellow of digital society and innovation.

    It is remarkable how our world has changed in just a few weeks. Until recently, I was talking to chairs, directors and executives as part of EY’s effort to create a national conversation about Australia’s position in a connected, digitally driven world — a world already struggling with the swift changes brought on by technology, the impact of climate change and an uncertain geopolitical situation.

    These issues have not gone away, but we are suddenly preoccupied with economic and personal survival.

    We have had to adjust daily to a rapidly changing situation. Nobody expected a few weeks ago that whole nations would move to social distancing and remote working. We did not expect our hospital systems to be so quickly overwhelmed. Business and community continuity are essential now.

    It turns out most organisations are not as good at “working from home” as they thought. Working remotely requires different skillsets from all sides, but especially from managers. Many organisations will discover the potential cost efficiencies inherent in having a remote workforce and effective use of technology will become the lifeblood of businesses and determine their workflow.

    Managers must manage themselves with a high level of awareness as they have a big role in helping people settle into a new “normal” — getting people to a new “business as usual is essential” for business continuity.

    Humans are social beings, but now we need to be “physically distant” but stay “socially connected”.

    Let’s get creative about staying in touch.

    This is an edited version of a LinkedIn post by Uschi Schreiber AM, EY fellow in digital society and innovation, and former EY chair global accounts committee/vice-chair global markets.

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