Lost in Location? The pandemic’s impact on the workplace

What does it mean when our concepts of ‘work’ and ‘workplace’ have become geographically unanchored? Our research looks at the pandemic’s impact on the workplace – our attitudes to ‘work’ and the ‘workplace’ have undoubtedly changed in the most significant way in a generation. Over the summer/autumn 2021, Talent Glue and COEL conducted research to model the many different experiences that people have had since the pandemic and reveal implications for us all moving forward.  We had over 1,000 responses to our survey which has helped us explore how expectations have varied between people.

Our research illustrated there is no ‘typical experience’ in terms of the pandemic’s impact on the workplace.  We explored five threads emerging from our research which have implications for managers and employers:

  1. How can we help people to reconnect? People managers may want to consider exploring the needs of people at different management grades and life stages.  When considering workplace design, you may want to think about space where people can socially connect.
  2. How can we create a consistent employee experience? People managers may want to evaluate the work their team must, should or could do in the workplace and what can be done anywhere.  You may also want to think about bringing more home comforts into the workplace to make it feel more attractive. 
  3. How do we manage performance? Before the pandemic, the onus was often on part time or remote workers rather than the employer to make extra efforts to be visible, to feel informed, to network. This has flipped and workers expect employers to help increase their visibility.  People want to be seen if they have made the effort to commute. 
  4. How do we manage worker expectations fairly? Fairness of people’s informal arrangements is likely a headache for many people managers. It is worth noticing the peer pressure to conform to certain behaviours that we might not be individually comfortable with.
  5. How do we shape our culture and brand as an employer? As our lives outside of work become more visible to colleagues, it encourages us to be more personable, authentic, vulnerable and fallibly human.  Investment in creating amazing and enriching workspace will be considered a trademark of the company and a benefit for those who work there.

See the full report below or watch our webinar kindly hosted by the Cambridge Network on YouTube.