The Future of the Workplace

In May of this year, The Pudding completed a number of consumer insight surveys to assess business sentiment around the particular challenges faced by companies as a result of Covid-19. We asked CEOs, HR Directors, Marketing Directors and small businesses owners a range of questions around their current view of the situation and their outlook for the future. The results paint an interesting picture for business in our post-pandemic world. Here we look at our first instalment, outlining the HR and employer brand perspective on the post-pandemic workplace.  

 

Working from home

A statistic that didn’t quite come as a surprise, 70% of HR managers expect working from home practices to increase post-Covid. As we have adapted to our new environment, many have come to realise that we can complete our work to a high standard from home, and that technology can facilitate collaboration just as well as a purpose built office. Furthermore, we have also come to appreciate a lack of commute and greater work-life balance. Childcare is often described as the main hurdle for people home-working at this time, but post-pandemic, when childcare is once again in operation, many will choose to retain their new routine. 

 

New guidelines

Furthermore, as we have already seen with companies such as twitter, who are allowing their people to work from home indefinitely, businesses also see the benefit of home working. 23% of HR Managers say operating within social distancing guidelines will be a key priority, and this presents a real challenge for businesses. Allowing some, or all employees to work from home, some, or all of the time, provides a solution to the issue of social distancing within more densely packed office spaces (while also perhaps generating a cost-saving to businesses who choose to forego their physical offices).

 

Looking after your people

In terms of HR practices, 19% of HR Managers highlight employee engagement and retention as their key priority, while 23% say employee health and wellness will be most important. What’s clear from this is that taking care of existing employees will be a big focus. As we’ve seen from a number of behemoths (such as Amazon, SoulCycle, and Wetherspoons) who have garnered bad press for their poor treatment of employees, a supportive workplace environment will be hugely important for any company. This goes for holding on to top talent who may be re-evaluating their priorities during this time, as well as providing much needed support for workers who may be dealing with increased physical health, mental health and family pressures. Furthermore, in the most heightened age of transparency we’ve ever seen, doing right by your people will be as important for your corporate brand as your employer brand. 

 

These are certainly challenging times for people operations, but as 60% of HR Managers have a positive outlook for the next 6 months, we can feel cautiously optimistic that now is a productive time for businesses looking to strengthen their employer brand and increase people engagement levels. 

Businesses who engage with these changing trends and forecasts for the future are more likely to attract top talent, retain and engage their people and experience the positive knock-on effects. To approach an uncertain future with strength and confidence, having the best and brightest people on your team will be absolutely key.