More than three quarters of Australian knowledge workers said they found it easy to adapt to remote work this year, and most of those that did migrate reported increased productivity, according to a survey Slack.

The workforce collaboration software company polled 1,000 Australian knowledge workers within organisations of 100+ employees in October. 87 per cent of the respondents were remote workers.

While more than a third said COVID-19 had no impact on their work, most Australian knowledge workers confirmed the pandemic had forced a move out of the office.

The migration went smoothly for most, according to the survey. 77 per cent of knowledge workers found it easy to adapt to working remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

53 per cent said remote work had increased productivity, however, the report does not explain if the other half lost or maintained productivity while working from home.

Source: Slack: The Remote Work Tech Effect.

Slack’s Head of APAC, Matt Loop says it is difficult to predict how lasting the forced shift to remote work will be but “there’s no going back to the way things were”.

“No one can predict exactly what the future of work will look like, but many organisations seem to be heading towards more of a hybrid model, where employees will likely spend at least part of the week working remotely,” Loop told Which-50.

“For Slack, we’re thinking about how we continue to work in this remote-first world – now and into the future. Doing it right depends on a fundamental reimagining of work and the employee experience. A thoughtful approach requires us all to radically rethink the tools and technology employees work on, and the culture and norms they work with.” 

Switching apps

The software vendor’s research suggests technology has improved workers’ ability to communicate and collaborate despite being in different places. Compared to Slack’s earlier research, knowledge workers reported improved attitudes to communication and collaboration technology by the end of 2020.

The amount of apps workers use and the frequent switching is sill a sore point for many though, according to the report.

The average knowledge worker is using 4 workplace apps per day but 17 per cent are using more than 10.

“55 per cent of respondents were frustrated that switching between apps was eating up time in their workday,” the report said.  “27 per cent felt they wasted time logging in and out of various apps, and 22 per cent felt they had a loss of productivity due to switching between apps.

“Asked to quantify this time, the knowledge workers surveyed estimated that on average they spent 22 minutes per day switching between apps – that’s almost 2 hours a week, and 95 hours (or 12 working days) a year.”

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