Will covid shift work culture for (the) good?
A brief history of Australia’s employment landscape:
With an 1856 stonemasons’ campaign that succeeded in securing an 8 hour working day, workers moved away from 12-16 hour working days. This led to the prodigal line of “8 hours work, 8 hours rest, 8 hours play” circulating as a catchphrase for work-life balance.
The questions here are, what has Covid-19 done for Australian employment law? Will a new shift in law or employee rights lead to new business practices? Will these new practices reflect evolving consumer behaviour/does it need to or is this an opportunity as businesses adapt to new digital trends to position themselves to a new norm to the benefit of consumers, employees and their bottom line?
The link between workplace rights and consumer behaviour:
An April 2020 United Nations Human Rights letter touched on linking the need to protect workers and consumers both in this current, and notably future (or Covid aftermath). Though the paper spoke to human rights, the parallel between consumers and workers rights for businesses lends itself to an interesting insight on long term Covid effects on employment law, employers and how that may ripple into consumer behaviour.
Concurrently, a McKinseys article suggested workers are increasingly looking for more transparency, beyond simply intent and more on what’s happening next, after having been burned out during this pandemic. A full 30% of the sample group suggested switching jobs should companies not outline this clearly enough.
What’s the opportunity for advertising?
So where does advertising step in with this host of information? Perhaps signposting, stepping up, announcing or simply embracing more of the changes we’ve faced and will face in our day to day and in our relationship with employment. This should resonate around their own engagement with their work lives but also how they see and engage with other businesses.
Perhaps corporate policies now more than ever should be front and centre:
If the big three consultancy companies are to be taken at their word, research proposes the pandemic has forced the adoption of new ways of working.
Organizations must reimagine their work and the role of offices in creating safe, productive, and enjoyable jobs and lives for employees. In their own words: “ A transformational approach to reinventing offices will be necessary. Instead of adjusting the existing footprint incrementally, companies should take a fresh look at how much and where space is required and how it fosters desired outcomes for collaboration, productivity, culture, and the work experience.”
And if GE, Salesforce, Warby Parker, Motley Fool and Zappos are anything to go by, embracing that change at a customer facing level as well, yields results. If nothing else acting on this post pandemic revival poses an opportunity to act on new consumer beliefs and behaviours as they learn to see the world in a new light and we perhaps see a means to better speak to them.