Hospitality workers surveyed on what they expect the industry to look like after COVID-19

Online surveyor Qualtrics has released its Work Different study, revealing that more than half of Australian workers expect their workplace will change for the better after COVID-19.

In the study of more than 1000 Australian workers, across multiple industries including the travel and hospitality industry, the research explored how people rate their employer’s response over the last six months, what work routines employees want once the pandemic eases, and what shifts in workplace policies they expect of their employers.

For the travel and hospitality industry, the research found that employees expect the future to focus more on personal and protective hygiene measures over technology-led transformation changes.

Key travel and hospitality industry specific findings include:

  • 84 per cent expect to see an increased emphasis on cleanliness
  • 67 per cent expect public spaces will be designed to make social distancing easier
  • 64 per cent expect greater investments in contactless interactions

Half (51 per cent) of retail workers expect to see an additional focus on e-commerce and home delivery after the pandemic, with the majority (59 per cent) expecting an increased focus on website functionality and usability.

The majority of respondents in the study, 58 per cent, rated the way their employer responded to the pandemic as “above average”.

“As a result of their employers’ quick thinking and actions, the majority of workers across Australia currently feel a lot more valued [47 per cent] at their company, and a lot more proud [54 per cent] to work for them. This is in part down to the human centred approach many adopted when the pandemic hit,” said Steve Bennetts, Head of Employee Experience for Qualtrics in APJ.

“While many have made steps in the right direction, businesses cannot afford to take their foot off the gas. Employees want to be listened to, and there is more change on the road ahead as people return and industries adapt. To ensure they continue to successfully move forward businesses need to formalise the human-centred approach adopted with employees.”

As businesses continue to plan and manage their return to the workplace, the Qualtrics study gives insight into what measures they want to see, and what actions they expect their employer to take.

“While employees can agree prioritising safety and hygiene is essential moving forward, there is a slight gap between the actions they want to see, and which they expect to see outside of this. Australians want to see their employers continue to focus on offering more workplace flexibility – such as less time spent commuting, and wearing more comfortable clothing to work – but they expect their employer to focus on digital transformation and finding ways to do more with less,” Bennetts said.

“While there is so much talk of when things will go back to normal or how we’ll come to terms with the “new normal,” those conversations are fundamentally missing the point, and missing an important opportunity to come back better, stronger, and more inclusive than ever. We’ve witnessed how changing the way you listen to and engage employees can have a positive effect, which is why those who make lasting changes now will have a key advantage in the future – from attracting and retaining talent through to improved loyalty and productivity.”