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Before the Covid-19 pandemic came tearing through our lives like a tornado, one key trend had been making a slow but steady impact on the business world.

Issues around ‘work life balance’ had already begun to influence some companies’ future strategies, long before coronavirus forced the issue into the spotlight.

The concept of work and life becoming ‘unbound’ is one of four trends summarised by EY in their recent report, How boards can use megatrends to chart a new course. Following mass adoption of remote working in both the UK and abroad this year, the capability of employees – and perhaps their right? – to work from home has forced its way up the agenda as business looks to a post-pandemic future.

Flexibility vs inclusivity

The pros and cons of remote working will continue to be debated for years to come. But there is no denying that what was once viewed as an employee perk will now become, for many organisations large and small, a major pillar of their future business model.

Although this may bring benefits for productivity and staff loyalty, there could be an important casualty: company culture. In particular, EY’s report highlights the threat to inclusivity and an organisation’s ability to engage, motivate and develop an increasingly remote workforce.

The report urges boards to “elevate the people agenda, particularly around employee wellbeing” and to call on the help of mental health professionals if need be.

So near, yet so far

How can businesses protect and nurture their ‘people culture’, when teams are working remotely? Making sure that home-based employees still feel part of an inclusive environment will be an added challenge for business leaders as they venture into a brave new world.

From proactive training plans to innovative new working practices, businesses must find ways to put their people first if they want to keep their culture alive.

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Leadership & management is about more than just decision-making. The best business leaders arm themselves with the information they need to make good decisions. Whether it’s meetings, interviews or team dynamics, there’s always something to learn, and somewhere to improve.

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Mark Fryer

25th September 2020