Covid impact: Business productivity slips, individual output up, says Deloitte report

New Delhi: Even as business productivity has suffered during the coronavirus crisis by reducing revenues and output, individual productivity has increased, according to more than half of the companies surveyed by Deloitte India.

The report, titled ‘Future of Work accelerated: Learnings from the COVID-19 Pandemic’ was written after surveying and talking to CXOs of 42 Indian companies.

The report says that 60% of the companies have reported an increase in individual employee productivity, although business productivity has decreased for 99% of all companies surveyed. Ten percent of companies said there was no impact on individual productivity.

However, even as companies are able to drive outcomes, each unit of outcome is taking significantly higher effort than in the past, said Anandorup Ghose, partner, Deloitte India. This, despite there being certain benefits to productivity – like saving the time spent on a commute.

“Organisations will refocus on the gig workforce due to an acceleration in work-from-home and ‘phygital’ workspaces,” said Nikhil Kolur, director, Deloitte India, in a telephone conversation with the Economic Times. A ‘phygital’ workspace is a combination of physical and digital workspaces.

“There are some specialised roles that are project based – those could increasingly move to a gig workforce,” he said. Kolur also said that the use of automation, cognitive technology and future workplace models would emerge as competitive advantages for companies.

At the same time, many CXOs were surprised by the agility of their organisations and people. Many were surprised at the ease with which decisions were taken. The ready adoption of digital collaboration tech like Zoom was also a surprise.

While working from home might save costs for organisation, human resource leaders would also have to think of other costs. For example, an entry-level person earning 4-5 lakhs, who is working from home, would not necessarily have access to subsidised meals or a good broadband connection. Benefits and perks would have to evolve to accommodate these concerns.

The report also says that the crisis has put employee health and wellness at the forefront. “This is an enormous emotional challenge for employees,” said Ghose.

Workforce communication has increased as a result – be it through town halls or team catch-ups. Virtual games and digital ‘parties’ have been introduced to engage with young millennials, many of whom are isolated due to staying away from home.

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