Broker Check

10 Trends Causing Workplace Disruption

May 21, 2020

Liberty Mutual has a "Workplace Disruption Risk Matrix" with ten factors ranked according to frequency and severity. Their ranking, with some comments:

  1. Natural disasters - 14 events totaled $45 billion losses in 2019. Hurricanes and Midwest floods are examples.
  2. Pandemic - besides business closures and workers compensation claims, 94% of Fortune 1000 companies have supply chain disruptions from COVID-19.
  3. Workplace violence - 20 of 27 mass attacks occurred in 2017. (How return to work will affect workplace violence cannot yet be predicted.)
  4. Opioids increase workers compensation costs and time lost from work. (Use other methods to relieve pain, including non-medication strategies.)
  5. Talent gap - 69% of companies report shortages. (Workers unemployed due to pandemic-caused layoffs may need to retrain to find new opportunities.)
  6. Cyber attacks - average downtime from malware was 16.2 days in the 3rd quarter of 2019. (Lax security while working from home increases the risk.)
  7. Excessive stress - two thirds of professionals report higher levels of stress than five years ago. (This will probably be exacerbated by the pandemic and work-life conflicts.)
  8. Digital distractions - a survey reports employees spend 56 minutes of work time on personal cell phones every day. (Work at home causes additional distractions.)
  9. Travel - more time was spent commuting in 2018. (The pandemic has changed this and work from home, phone and video conferencing will permanently reduce travel disruptions.)
  10. Harassment claims - over 7,500 sexual harassment claims were filed in 2018, a 14% increase from 2017. (Cyber harassment will replace workplace harassment as a disruption.)

While some of these disruptions are outside of our control, most of the risks can be reduced by good management.