A new study by Accenture suggests that businesses may never go back to traditional ways of working once COVID-19 subsides. According to Accenture, employers will take the opportunity presented by COVID-19 to reevaluate the fundamental purpose of work, where work gets done; and how work gets done. Accenture’s COVID-19 Consumer Research, carried out between 26 November and 10 December, tracked the changing attitudes and habits of consumers worldwide during the COVID-19 outbreak. At the end of March 2020, just under half of those (49%) that had never worked from home said that they planned to do so in the future, a figure that rose to 58% in July and now stands at 65%, according to Accenture. Elsewhere, lifestyles are also changing to reflect new routines, with two thirds stating that their normal working hours have changed, and 65% noting that they have ‘greater flexibility’ in their daily routines.
Last week, Unilever said that it expects its office workers will never return to working in the office five days a week. Unilever’s New Zealand offices are already trialling a four-day workweek. Tesco is anticipating effects of changing working habits, CEO Ken Murphy commented: “The city centre stores have been impacted. In some city centres, there’s quite a decent residential population, and they see our convenience stores as a lifeline, and continue to shop in them, but there’s definitely a drop in trade in relative terms. Whereas, in our neighbourhood stores, we’re seeing strong growth. As more and more people work from home – and we believe that working from home will be institutionalised in our society, not on a five-day week, but certainly on a two- to three-day week – we believe that this trend will somewhat persist. So we’re looking all the time at how we adapt our offer to that.” (Source: ESM)