Digital Signature platform DocuSign predicts 2021 Australian workplace trends, 28% sign agreements in their pyjamas

     COVID-19 has impacted the way people live and work. According to DocuSign research, rather than slowing things down, Australians made more agreements than ever before in 2020 – and the agreements themselves look completely different to old school pen and paper.

    Many Australian businesses took coronavirus as an opportnity to modernise and improve their businesses. Take the process of signing contracts between two organisations. With a couple of days in the mail each way, it’s easy to have delays of up to a week using traditional methods.

    In 2021 digital signature platforms like Docusign and Adobe Sign have become commonplace in Australian businesses, reducing that co-signing process from weeks to minutes, creating dramatic improvements to business efficiency.

    While the change may have been planned anyway, the pandemic created an acceleration effect, forcing a transition to the new technology and now proven to be a better way of operating, will live on well after COVID-19.

    In a survey of more than 1,000 Australians conducted by DocuSign, 66% have signed more agreements over the past 12 months than they have in any other year.

    The most popular agreement they’ve made in 2020 is a new job, with almost half (49%) having signed an employment contract in the last year, despite ongoing rising unemployment levels. 20% added that agreeing to a new job or promotion has been their most important decision this year. 

    DocuSign and stock photography website Unsplash have teamed up in an Australian first partnership, to modernise those old perceptions, with the launch of an image gallery that reflects the changing face of agreements in Australia.

    Guided by insights from the research, the new gallery Reimagining the Photography of Agreements,’ depicts how modern agreements are made in both personal and professional lives, where they’re made and the people making them.

    The gallery showcases people e-signing contracts on their phones and laptops in different locations, including the kitchen, a cafe or the home office. The gallery also features people from various ethnic backgrounds, ages, genders and sexual orientations, to reflect the diverse communities of Australia, as these are the people behind modern agreements.

    The massive changes we’ve all experienced as we deal with the aftermath of COVID-19 almost certainly plays a role in why Aussies are making agreements.

    60% of respondents prefer to sign an agreement electronically today, and 53% now can’t visualise signing an agreement any other way.

    It’s out with the boardroom, in with the bedroom; and corporate attire isn’t necessary. A majority, 68% of Aussie professionals are signing major agreements in jeans and t-shirts, while almost a quarter 28% make agreements while wearing their pyjamas. 

    Fifty-three per cent of Aussies have delivered a resounding – and unsurprising – response that they’ve signed an agreement from their home office in the last 12 months. 

    “The survey results point to the fact that in our digital era, not only are people making agreements from anywhere, they’re doing so in their pyjamas or jeans, which was once unimaginable.

    While there’s no doubt the events of 2020 have escalated change in the way we make agreements, it’s also important to consider that agreements are made by people of all genders, races and ages, from many different locations. Our research shows that more than 50 per cent of people in the older generation visualise an electronic device rather than a paper and pen when they think about making an agreement, and this is just one example. With this in mind, we’re excited to launch our new gallery with Unsplash to better reflect the diversity of modern agreements.” 

    Scott Olrich, Chief Operating Officer, DocuSign.   

    In keeping with the theme of being new and modern, this is the first time Unsplash has partnered with an organisation in Australia. 

    Stephanie Liverani, Co-founder and Chief Partnerships Officer, Unsplash agrees that it’s little wonder Australians are no longer visualising agreements as activities exclusive to offices or pen and paper.

    “As soon as we heard about the prospect of launching a gallery with DocuSign on the subject of modern, diverse agreements, we wanted to be involved. In addition to setting a new norm of agreements, this project gives us an opportunity to showcase the value of photography alongside a topic that resonates with people all over the world.”

    Stephanie Liverani, Co-founder and Chief Partnerships Officer, Unsplash

    Respondents also shared insights on what agreements mean to them:

    • Almost one-third said signing a home loan is the next agreement that they would like to make personally.
    • 20 per cent said the next agreement they would like to see Australia make as a nation is a climate change deal.
    • Almost 60 per cent have agreed to a subscription service like Netflix in the last 12 months.
    • Young Aussies are the most agreeable – 70 per cent of people under the age of 35 have signed an agreement in the last 12 months. 
    • More than half of Aussies visualise an electronic device when they think about making an agreement. This includes Boomers – 52 per cent are more likely to visualise an electronic device than a paper and pen.
    • Agreements make Aussies feel good – 30 per cent said a sense of achievement, 20 per cent said happy, 21 per cent said a sense of relief, when asked how they feel when they make an agreement. 


    Far too often we get survey and research data without an explanation of the methodology used to collect the information. Thankfully DocuSign has provided that detail.

    DocuSign commissioned Decibel Research, an independent research services provider, to script and host an online quantitative survey of respondents in October 2020. The research is based on a representative sample of the Australian professional workforce (aged over 18 years) and was selected by the research panel provider, Pureprofile.

    The sample comprised 1,006 respondents, distributed across metro, regional, and rural areas of Australia. Respondents were qualified to ensure they had made an agreement in the last 12 months. Where attributed, the quotes and the opinions portrayed reflect the individual’s personal comments and do not always reflect the views of the entire department or organisation they represent.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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