How the pandemic has improved the way we work – Today (Tom Livingstone | May 2022)

A woman wearing a hijab in a wheelchair gives us a thumbs up.

The coronavirus pandemic has completely upended everything we thought we knew about the normal work environment, but research shows some changes could be for the better.

This isn’t a disability employment story per se, but it provides us with an opportunity to repeat something that we feel worth saying (again).  The pandemic has enforced changes to work that have suited the needs and realities of Australians with a disability in the workforce.  It has also served as a demonstration of the fact that remote work and gig work can work in practice.

Things like working from home, flexible hours and even bringing your dog to the office have resulted in higher productivity, less stress and being more comfortable financially since the world was introduced to COVID-19.

Professor Ruth McPhail from Queensland’s Griffith Business School has been researching the impact working from home has had on businesses and productivity and the results are fascinating.

“Employees have reported being up to 80 per cent happier and healthier,” McPhail told Today.

“More than 90 per cent have reported being better off financially. When you look at transport, people are saving over 400 hours a year in terms of transport time and that commute is being reallocated into the workplace time. Some of that’s been gained in productivity by the employer.”

This isn't a disability employment story per se, but it provides us with an opportunity to repeat something that we feel worth saying (again).  The pandemic has enforced changes to work that have suited the needs and realities of Australians with a disability in the workforce.  It has also served as a demonstration of the fact that remote work and gig work can work in practice.

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