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How flexibility impacts the modern workforce

The past 18 months have changed a lot for small businesses in Aotearoa.

Covid-19 forced many businesses to rapidly innovate, shifting to online tools to connect with their customers, deliver sales and manage their staff and operations.

As the country transitioned to remote working during Alert Level Four in March 2020, it taught us a lot about the importance of flexibility and agility – lessons we’ve needed to tap into for the latest lockdown.

Our day-to-day lives were transformed by necessity as we adapted to the challenges posed by Covid-19, lockdowns, and the need for the economy to continue.

Business leaders had to learn how to support their teams remotely with new ways of working. In order to survive, and thrive, we had to work smarter, not harder.

It took a global pandemic to kickstart widespread change. Many of the ways that Covid-19 has changed the way we work are here to stay.

To stay ahead of the curve, business owners need to learn how to support their employees in the new nine to five.

For example, some employees may prefer working in an office for structure and collaboration, while others will require flexible working to flourish. It’ll be challenging for both employers and employees to strike the right balance.

However, the businesses that thrive in the new world will be the ones paying attention to how the pandemic has affected their employees’ needs and working styles, and then adapting accordingly.

Things won’t simply go back to normal, employers need to stay on top of what employees are demanding or they risk being left behind by their competitors.

The way businesses hire staff is also changing. Because of flexible working, many businesses are no longer limited to the prospects in their immediate vicinity.

In fact, we’ve just announced a new flexible work programme where employees can choose to work fully remote, from the office or in a hybrid model. If they have a good internet connection, they can work from basically anywhere if they choose.

For people in Bay of Plenty, flexible work means they no longer have to move to Auckland or head overseas for a job opportunity.

Of course, for many professions, it’s not possible to offer flexible working for staff. But for who can, be sure to make careful considerations when deciding how to manage staff in the world of Covid-19. Don’t let memories of the ‘old world’ impact your policies or you’ll risk being left behind.

Read: It’s good business to care: Sick Leave and the importance of wellbeing

Craig Hudson
Xero Managing Director for New Zealand and the Pacific Islands

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