It has been over a year since COVID-19 spun workplaces into a frenzy.
Last spring saw office workers flee home with their laptops, filled with uncertainty and trepidation. Most haven’t looked back since, anticipating – or dreading – a return to a very different type of workplace. If they return at all, that is.
Watch the first panel of Euronews’ new Disrupted series in the player above. We speak to experts to get their insights on what the future holds for work.
The European Commission found that in 2019, just 5.4 per cent of employees in the European Union worked from home. Now that figure could run as high as 88 per cent.
Business practices have been completely recontextualised in the face of this health crisis. What we do know is that the majority will be keen to entertain a flexible approach to where and how their employees work.
For some, dividing work between fixed locations has numerous benefits, handing control back to people in need of striking a better work-life balance. People with familial commitments are granted time they used to have to fight for, and reduced commutes have large environmental and financial benefits.
Others feel that a second longer spent in the confines of their makeshift home offices will spell out real problems for mental wellbeing. Revoking elements of autonomy has left millions feeling isolated and burned out, working longer hours than ever because there is little else to do.
Unanswered questions about the future of our workplaces linger, heightened by the lifting of restrictions across some countries. Will these new developments stick, and if so, at what cost?
More widely, what will be the impact on the design and use of office spaces? What new roles and functions will they take on?
Meet our panelists:
Tim Good, Managing Director, Strategy & Consulting, Accenture, based in Frankfurt
Originally hailing from the University of Oxford, Tim Good has fostered a lengthy career at Accenture. He is often called upon to share his perspectives on the HR implications of reshaping the workplace. He also leads the company’s Talent & Organization practice in Europe, working closely with business executives around the world to design talent and HR strategies, creating workforce experiences that engage and inspire.
Kasper Pöyry, CEO, Gapps, based in Helsinki
Kasper Pöyry knows firsthand how Helsinki’s work culture embraced location-free working long before the pandemic struck. Software company Gapps has operated under a long-term flexible working policy and there are no signs of this changing. A self-described “Excel warrior” at university, he joined Gapps as a graduate in 2013 looking to solve the problem of how digital work should be done in the modern world. After taking them from a “tiny startup” to a leader in Finnish software innovation, he was appointed CEO in 2018.
Dr. Katia Vione, Psychology Lecturer, University of Derby, based in the UK
Dr. Katia VioneUniversity of Derby
Dr. Katia Vione has spent much of the past year researching New Ways of Working (NWW) during the pandemic. Her work has identified that remote and distance working can help engagement, flow and connectivity among staff, but can also increase blurred work-home boundaries, fatigue and mental demands. Outside of her research on workplace wellbeing, she uses her field to explore other aspects of social psychology such as social perception and decision making.
Ben Butters, CEO, Eurochambres, based in Brussels
Ben Butters was appointed CEO of Eurochambres, the European association of Chambers of Commerce & Industry, last year after 12 years of service. He has decades of experience in representing business interests towards the EU institutions, with a strong focus on small & medium sized enterprises. Before joining Eurochambres, he created, and for several years, ran his own business providing EU advocacy support to small business associations.
Damon Embling, Euronews
Damon is a seasoned broadcast journalist, with more than 20 years of professional experience, gained in the UK, across Europe and globally.
At Euronews, he regularly produces and presents programmes, with a focus on business, travel and tourism, and technology. He also represents the media organisation as a moderator at major global trade events, including ITB, WTM, CES and ITU Telecom World.
During the pandemic, Damon has been producing and moderating a variety of virtual debates on topics ranging from health to nation branding.