Australia's Digital Resilience: How technology strengthened Australian business during COVID and beyond

Australian businesses accelerated 10 years of technology adoption during the COVID-19 crisis, strengthening their operations and enabling 3.2 million workers to continue in their jobs.

In our latest research for Microsoft, we analysed business, trade and employment statistics, remote work data, and results of AlphaBeta’s digital performance survey to determine the impact of technology adoption by businesses during COVID-19.

The study found that nearly 9 in 10 firms adopted new technologies to improve business continuity during COVID-19, with 13% of firms reporting that technology tools were essential to continued operations. Businesses rapidly accelerated their adoption of websites, online ordering, HR and stock control processes. They also made more use of technologies like video conferencing, filesharing, e-signatures, VPN and remote access to support working from home.

Digitally advanced firms were found to be more resilient in terms of revenues, profitability and employment through the crisis. Before COVID, up to 4.7 million Australians were employed jobs heavily affected by social distancing rules. Our research found that while 1.5 million of those workers lost their jobs in the peak of the lockdown, the remaining 3.2 million were able to continue working by relying of technology tools.

The positive impacts of technology were magnified by new workplace practices such as flexible working hours and initiatives to increase workers’ social connectivity, physical and mental health. Firms that introduce these types of policies were three times as likely to improve their productivity than those that did not.

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