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Key Australian Business Trends & Insights

The global pandemic has presented both small and large businesses with unexpected social and economic shifts, sending continued shockwaves throughout the economy and global community. With Australian business trends and practices evolving at an accelerated pace, reflecting on emerging trends enables business professionals to better position themselves moving forward. Successful businesses run by adaptive leaders regularly adjust their business practices to overcome and even leverage these new challenges. What are the business trends defining the post-COVID era? Keep reading to find out.


1. Workplace flexibility has evolved from an emerging trend

With a permanent move towards workplace flexibility putting employees in better control of their working hours, the perpetual nine-to-five is something of the past. The government is pushing for this increased flexibility with legislation around giving employees the choice of changing their hours, work patterns (splitting shifts and job sharing) or the location of work. This push from Fair Work Australia has been further accelerated in recent years as the coronavirus pandemic has shuffled people’s regular schedules. Small businesses and larger companies that already have the tools and processes to grant their employees flexible working arrangements have seen a much smoother transition during the pandemic. 

Developing a flexible and dynamic business which gives its employees the option to customise their working arrangements leads to improved employee satisfaction, increased productivity and additional mobility in uncertain times. 


Traditional industries are embracing flexible business trends

The move towards workplace flexibility isn’t confined to progressive industries or large companies, in fact, flexibility is also a small business trend that’s extending even to traditional and ritualistic fields like law. For example, Australian startup Immediation operates as a 100% online dispute resolution form that embodies flexible working. Immediation embraces the flexible mindset, not only for their staff but also to empower their clients to access legal services from home.


2. Businesses support mental wellbeing

The emerging trends toward a more adaptive and sustainable business model have placed employee wellbeing in the spotlight. Society has increased awareness around mindfulness, breaking down previous stigmas held around mental health conditions. Small business trends have followed this social shift, as have many large firms with employers increasingly concerned with employees’ mental fatigue, well-being and happiness. This has been further exacerbated during the pandemic where employees are facing unforeseen challenges with some even experiencing periods of poor mental health. Research shows that the local effects of the pandemic caused a surge in distress, with one in five Australians reporting high or very high levels of psychological distress. Australian business leaders need to allocate sufficient resources to support employees through uncertain times now and in the future.


How businesses are supporting their employee’s mental health

There are a variety of ways businesses have stepped up and gone above standard regulations to support their employees since remote working became more commonplace. Bentleys, an Australian business consulting firm, advocates for businesses to place employee mental health in the spotlight. This can be seen through their efforts of:

  • Virtual socialising
  • Increased flexibility 
  • Mental health training sessions for managers
  • Regular conversations to keep morale high 
  • Sharing positive business insights around the team


3. Cyber security focused business trends

Moving into remote working is one of the key business trends that has reinforced the need to focus on risk management in the growing area of cyber security. The Australian Federal Government is investing more than $1 billion into the cyber security industry, in a move that ensures cyber security professionals will be a core part of businesses moving forward. Implementing a cyber plan for your business is crucial, it is important to learn how cyber security can safeguard your business operations.    


Cyber security defends Australian businesses 

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) protects and defends Australians from hackers and cyber attackers. They work to keep the internet prosperous and maintain the online economy as a safe place to conduct business. This government department continues to grow, with a key focus moving forward being the continued development of its online network.


4. The continued rise of sustainable business practices

Businesses of all sizes are leveraging technological advancements in an effort to become more sustainable. A survey from Deloitte Global found that more than 80% of executives are concerned about climate change. Some Australian business leaders saw the pandemic as a reason to pause their sustainability efforts. In contrast, forward thinking leaders understand that upholding this business trend is key to long term success, since both stakeholders and staff are increasingly prioritising working with sustainable companies. As social and regulatory norms continue to shift towards sustainability, business benefits of sustainable practices will be reputational, financial and legal.


Adopting environmental and social responsibility programs

American outdoor clothing company Patagonia implemented a suite of sustainability programs under two umbrellas: ‘materials and environmental’ and ‘social responsibility’. Individual initiatives include a move towards recycled, organic and ethically certified materials, as well as working towards a living wage for workers in factories where their garments are produced. Each season, Patagonia publishes a public report on their progress, demonstrating an understanding that customers now expect transparency around sustainable business practices.


Modern Australian business calls for modern leaders

Running a successful business requires dynamic and adaptive business practices run by thoughtful leaders. Dynamic leadership comes from quality training and the University of Adelaide offers an online Master of Business Administration to train the next generation of future leaders. With courses like ‘Entrepreneurial Mindset’ that teach business professionals how to react to new industry trends and insights, this online MBA will prepare you for managerial positions. Learn how to navigate the ever-changing business world and see your company grow. 


Discover the importance of leveraging business opportunities quickly and adapting to modern challenges. Make an appointment to speak with an University of Adelaide advisor today.


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