Herbert Smith Freehills has published its findings about the future of the workplace post-COVID-19 in its recent report, The Future of Work: Remote/Controlled. The research suggests that vaccine mandates, increased use of technology for surveillance of workers and different rates of pay between remote workers and workers in-office could change the workplace as we know it.
The report concentrated on the changes we can expect to see from Australia’s largest companies in the next three to five years. The key findings are:
- 43% of senior executives indicate that they plan to pay remote workers less than office-based workers.
- 80% of companies intend to measure workers’ productivity and output, rather than the number of hours worked.
- 77% of companies plan to use digital tools to monitor the wellbeing of their employees.
These changes raise significant questions, especially about the risk of splitting the workforce in two and how this impacts employee remuneration. Should employees who work from home, saving time and money spent on travel and subsistence costs, be paid the same as their office-going counterparts? If not, would a pay differential penalise certain members of society who are more likely to opt for remote working, such as working mothers?
In anticipation of backlash against these changing workplace rules, several large corporations have already taken steps to restrict employees’ reactions, such as stricter policies regarding public comments, signing petitions and strike actions. This may leave workers feeling as if they have no voice in shaping what the post-pandemic workplace will look like.
If you believe you will be impacted by these changes and wish to find out more, please do not hesitate to contact us for information and advice on (02) 8917 8700.