Approximately one third of businesses expect to maintain the modifications they've made to their operations even once conditions return to 'normal', new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates. 

The Business Impacts of COVID-19 Survey found that two-thirds of businesses are currently trading with modifications because of the pandemic. 

ABS head of industry statistics John Shepherd said that there are three key areas where businesses expect to keep changes. 

"Our latest survey showed that some businesses are expecting to keep changes they have made to keep operating.

"These include changes to the way products or services are provided (20%), changes to staff roles or duties (15%) and changes to the types and range of products and services offered (11%). 

The Australian fashion space has undertaken an array of changes during the pandemic to maintain trade including moving to virtual showings, fittings and appointments, launching digital initiatives such as AR try-on, pivoting social campaigns to align with customer sentiment and expanding categories to meet consumer demand for comfort and health. 

Australian businesses have also made changes to their own workforces to ensure health and safety, with Shepherd adding that many expect some of these changes to remain in place too. 

"There has been an increase in the proportion of businesses that have employees teleworking, compared to pre-COVID-19 (43% compared to 28%). 

"When restrictions are lifted and conditions stabilise, 29% of businesses expect employees to continue teleworking and a third of employing businesses expect staff hours to increase," he said. 

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