Working from home expected to remain high post-pandemic

'LONG TERM CHANGE:' Owner of Peninsula Personnel, Lisa Bousfield, thinks working from home is here to stay. Picture: Geoff Jones
'LONG TERM CHANGE:' Owner of Peninsula Personnel, Lisa Bousfield, thinks working from home is here to stay. Picture: Geoff Jones

What will the workforce look like in a post-pandemic world? A lot more working from home, experts suggest.

According to a recent survey of more than 200 Sydney business leaders by the Committee for Sydney, 82 per cent of organisations expect their employees will at least partly work from home in a post pandemic world.

Lisa Bousfield, director of beaches-based recruitment firm Peninsula Personnel, said she'd already noticed changes in the work force between this lockdown and the last.

She said when she heard the news of the latest lockdown she expected a flurry of emails from employers cancelling the personnel they had hired through her company. But that barrage never came.

"The northern beaches is filled with all size organisations, from those small little home office scenarios to huge non profit organisations and corporations," she said.

"There's some businesses which have had to close all together, but the majority have managed to sustain in some way. And the people who are working from home are grateful for it too."

They've spent that time wisely, between the original lockdowns to now, getting people set up to work from home in roles that have never had that option before

Lisa Bousfield

In the previous lockdown her company lost 70 per cent of their temp business overnight and this time she's only lost 10 percent of temp roles. She says this is because a lot of businesses they recruit for have already transitioned to working from home arrangements.

"People have become a little bit more aware of what will happen in a lockdown. But they've spent that time wisely, between the original lockdowns to now, getting people set up to work from home in roles that have never had that option before," she said.

"In the call centre and customer service area, it had certainly not been done in the past."

While less than 2 percent of Sydney business leaders would accept full remote working, the majority found "temporary fixes firming into long-term workplace change" and expected to have staff working remotely even after the pandemic's conclusion, typically once or twice a week.

Ms Bousfield also expects companies will have to be flexible post-pandemic and maintain at least some level of working from home, as employees will push for it.

"From the last lockdown to this one, companies had to be really forceful to try and get their staff back in the office. Many, who had never had working from home scenarios before, then changed their structure so they were doing three days in the office and two days from home," she said.

The NSW Innovation and Productivity Council predict after the pandemic, working from home arrangements would remain up to 69 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels.

While most of Peninsula Personnel's temporary workers already employed were able to stay in their roles, Ms Bousfield said the number of new roles being advertised has slowed.

She said onboarding and training new recruits is still one of the challenges employers face when it comes to work from home.

"The new assignments that are coming through are smaller and not as meaty, because they now can't go into the office to be trained. For some companies, to train people for a work from home scenario is just too hard," she said.

Have something to say? Send a letter to the editor at: editor@northernbeachesreview.com.au

Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: