Expert analysis and essential information about how the UK workforce is really faring


When it comes to pandemic and its continued impact on employee wellbeing and their ultimate return to work, we have additional UK and European research trends data available and several Forrester analysts to offer interview or insight commentary, including:

Analyst Andrew Hewitt: “If there’s one big silver lining of this pandemic, it’s that organizations are seeing their workforce more as people and less as employees.”

“Despite the difficulty of 2020, there were a few other silver linings for companies. First, while we expect most companies to pursue a hybrid work model in the future, the majority of companies found that remote work was doable, at least in the short term. 54% of UK employees said they have the flexibility in work schedule and obligations to take care of family members should they need to and there was a rising trend towards feeling more productive in this situation. While there are still many companies that are concerned over remote worker productivity, in general most companies were successful at keeping employees productive while working from home.”

“Another silver lining was around mental health. While more than a third of UK employees at home say their mental health suffered because of the pandemic and related challenges, many companies have become much more comfortable addressing mental health needs in the workplace, offering support services for working parents, and improving access to health services like counsellors, all for free.”

“While the overall experience with remote work has been positive, there still persist many stigmas and challenges related to remote work. Despite most employees saying they are more productive from home, companies still don’t have the leadership and management experience to handle remote work, so this remains a challenge going into 2021, especially as companies start to bring people back to the office. How will managers ensure that remote and office workers are treated equally, given access to projects, promotions, and other opportunities? Companies also still have doubts as to whether they can innovate in a remote work model. The prevailing wisdom is that innovation slows down with remote working, but that’s not necessarily true. If organizations don’t provide enough resources for employees to innovate, then yes, innovation will suffer, but a fully-developed anywhere work strategy makes room and prioritizes innovation.”

“There are a number of key priorities for organizations going into 2021. The first and foremost is rethinking how they use office space. Will they bring people back en masse? Will it be a hybrid scenario, and if so, should they decrease real estate and invest in new layouts like hot desking? Secondly, they’re thinking through the ramifications of a hybrid workforce, specifically what level of investment they should make to reimburse or provide a stipend for full-time remote workers, and whether that is different from a hybrid worker. And, of course, the third area is technology. Companies are starting to prioritize technology investments like Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), modern device management, and mobility tools to enable employees to work from anywhere. At the same time, they’re also trying to improve collaboration capabilities with tools like digital whiteboarding.”

Principal Analyst David Johnson:
“The shift to remote work through the pandemic got organizations moving on the basics for their employees to be able to function in a remote working environment, which is big, but they haven’t yet cracked the code on the underlying factors that lead to burnout or on replacing the some of the elements of a healthy workplace social environment that they lost.”

Principal Analyst Katy Tynan:
“Leaders at all levels are just settling in to understanding how to lead and engage teams in a fully remote environment, and the new hybrid model will be different from what they are used to now, as well as different from what they were doing before. So, we expect that organizations will need to focus on their frontline leaders and craft an intentional strategy to successfully navigate that transition.”

“We continue to live in an environment of significant uncertainty and transformation. The pandemic is one example but there are other systemic risks that are continuing to impact organizations as they think about how they do business. There is a need for leaders to create a culture of change resilience that helps their organizations respond more adaptively to this continuously fluid state of change.”

“In the HR technology space, we continue to see significant complexity in terms of the ability of organizations to see and understand their workforce. Contingent labor lives in a different system from full-time employees. There has been explosion in the number and variety of point solutions including performance management, wellness, engagement, talent acquisition, learning, and more. In order for leaders to have visibility into their total workforce, including FTE, contingent, vendors, bots, and all of the other resources that do “work” in the organization, these systems need to be integrated in meaningful ways that allow the organization to make better decisions related to their people.”


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