Thought Leaders 2022: Matt Browne
What opportunities do you predict for the growth of your industry in 2022?
Over the last few years, the environmental health and safety (EHS) software industry has increasingly adopted cloud-hosted environments as businesses moved away from on-prem solutions. Donesafe for example is purely an online cloud-only EHS offering used by some of the largest Australian businesses, and aligns well with a cloud-first approach that is now the standard for businesses as they reassess safety management platforms in the new year.
As lockdowns ease around Australia, many businesses are returning to the workplace. This has highlighted the importance of streamlining the return-to-work process, and ensuring businesses are aligned with OH&S and COVID-19 obligations. Given the tumultuous nature of the pandemic, this will be a big pain point that organisations will look to address in the new year. Implementing the right tools when managing workplace COVID outbreaks, vaccination and testing status will be essential to all organisations in 2022. Therefore this will be a big growth area for EHS software with businesses adopting systems for efficient COVID-19 management to ensure productivity and compliance is maximised.
Some of the other areas we are seeing growth across are safety training within the native e-learning space, occupational hygiene and risk management.
What are the three biggest challenges or threats facing your industry in 2022?
Workplace safety, governance and adherence will be the three most important challenges businesses will need to address in 2022.
I think organisations need to ascertain how they manage workplace health and safety in a largely unpredictable environment, in the midst of a pandemic coupled with ever-tightening safe work mandates.
Safety leaders have the added challenges of making sure tight safety protocols are now adhered to outside the four walls of the ‘new workplace’ that can be virtually anywhere in the world!
What impacts have the pandemic lockdowns had on your industry, and how does this affect your business strategies for 2022?
The pandemic has meant health and safety requirements are rapidly evolving driven by government mandates, safe work guidelines and legal obligations. Return to work post lockdowns has also meant organisations need to manage COVID outbreaks, vaccination and testing status of staff to ensure they are compliant. Furthermore, businesses have had to manage employees’ personal feelings towards the pandemic and their safety, requiring a more flexible approach to working from home arrangements.
The new year will hopefully bring more stability for businesses to refine and improve safety measures using the right platforms that have positive impacts on adherence, productivity and compliance. Due to our experience over the last two years, a bigger focus will be put on keeping the business agile, ensuring we are able to respond rapidly to change and adapt where needed.
What are your thoughts about remote working technologies, mandating vaccines and supporting staff?
There has been an influx of remote working technologies that have hit the market over the last couple of years, with the pandemic really accelerating the maturity of these technologies for mass adoption. The success of remote work tools is ultimately measured on their productivity, simplicity and connectivity capabilities. Organisations need to ensure whatever toolset they choose will help drive workforce collaboration and seamlessly integrate with existing workflows/systems that already exist.
Vaccine mandates are a great example of the need for a robust centralised approach to managing vaccination and testing status without compromising productivity, compliance or employee privacy.
Supporting staff in this new dynamic and ever-changing workplace requires health and safety controls that go beyond legacy approaches. New workplace hazards, mental health, remote working, infectious disease are all areas that need to be added to the ever-growing list of keeping our most valuable assets safe no matter where they are in the world.
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