The IPA have recently published their latest research report looking at the long-term impact of COVID-19 on the world of work covering issues such as employment relations, working patterns, inequality and good work. Major changes in working patterns – such as a huge increase in remote working – require managers to radically rethink their approaches to management. New working patterns bring new opportunities, e. g. reductions in carbon emissions, but also pose threats to urban centres and the businesses that depend on office routines and commutes, as well as troubling threats to equality.

As a result of the pandemic, a growing value needs placing on the concept of resilience. Organisations are coming to realise that a combination of interconnected global supply chains and an excessive focus on lean management have left them vulnerable to external shocks. They will also need to pay much more attention to the physical and mental health of their workers, if they want to have a workforce that is individually and collectively resilient as well.

The crisis poses a risk that the that the Good Work agenda of recent years falls by the wayside under the pressure of mounting unemployment, but also offers opportunities to reflect on what kinds of work we should really be valuing in the modern economy – both in terms of freeing some office workers from meaningless and unfulfilling tasks, but also properly recognising and rewarding the real key workers in the economy.

The full report, Towards a new normal: What legacy might COVID-19 leave for UK working patterns? by IPA’s Head of Policy & Research, Patrick Briône, published in partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), is available to download from their website.

Alongside FES they also hosted a launch event for the report last month with Peter Cheese of CIPD, Daniela Kolbe, member of the Bundestag Committee for Labour and Social Affairs, and Dr Aline Zucco of the Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI) in Germany. For those who were not able to attend, you can watch the excellent discussion from the webinar via this recording of the event.

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