2020 State of Work Report: Defining a New Normal Amid COVID-19

Did you know that nearly a third of frontline workers have either contracted COVID-19 directly, or know someone who has? Or that more than half of all workers are less satisfied in their jobs now than they were before COVID?

These are just two of the troubling findings Skedulo has learned from our recent New Normal Data Study of almost 1,500 deskless and desk-based workers across several countries and a variety of industries.

In our 2020 State of Work Report: Defining a New Normal Amid COVID-19, we delve into the survey results and what they mean for businesses planning for recovery after a difficult year.

We found the biggest challenges facing organizations are:

  •       productivity
  •       safety
  •       staff satisfaction

Almost a third of deskless workers say their productivity has diminished, while 34% of field workers believe they are now unable to deliver the same quality of customer service as they were pre-pandemic.

Perhaps the biggest concern is health safety, where frontline workers acknowledge that their job puts them at an increased risk of contracting COVID. And for the 50% of workers whose company has mandated some form of return-to-office policy, the majority of these workers are concerned about going back to work.

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The key to unlocking optimism and productivity

Despite the challenges, there has been a widely accepted silver lining to the pandemic: accelerated digital transformation.

Some industries have advanced by at least a decade in a single year, and staff are unquestionably benefiting from a long-overdue investment in advanced systems and tools that drive efficiencies and streamline operations.

In fact, workers who believe their company invested properly in new technologies during the pandemic told us they are more optimistic about their future at work.

Unfortunately though, 60% of deskless workers still feel under-equipped—compared with 80% of desk-based workers who feel they’ve been given the right tools to succeed.

When we consider this with the fact that deskless workers now outnumber desk-based workers 4 to 1, investment in tools that drive efficiencies on the frontline may be the most important next step that business leaders take.

This means IT departments—which have been placed front and center of their company’s response to and recovery from COVID—should expand their scope to consider the tools frontline workers will need to thrive in the new normal. 

Currently we found India is leading the charge here, with 95% of companies adopting new tools designed for deskless workers—compared to 76% in the US and 62% in the UK and Australia.

Of these, CIOs indicate the leading technologies they invested in to support workers in the field are:

  •       virtual customer appointments tools (78%)
  •       new messaging tools (72%)
  •       online appointment scheduling (59%)

In addition to feeling well-equipped, we also found staff optimism increases when they believe their organization has implemented effective policies to keep them safe—such as social distancing, hygiene practices, and flexible workplace arrangements.

To read the full report, including our key takeaways on how to define a new normal amid this pandemic, download the Skedulo 2020 State of Work Report.  

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