This research is designed to support economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis, providing timely, actionable insight and recommendations about Working from Home (WfH), and the long-term implications of crisis-driven adaptations for organisational practice and policy responses. This proposal engages with three UKRI Research Questions: (1) how the pandemic has influenced different sectors in the UK; (2) the longer-term implications of WfH; and (3) which new behaviours and working practices will remain and which should be encouraged?
A team of cross-institutional experts active in research related to WfH during lockdown, will employ a mixed-methods approach using an online survey, organisational case studies, and secondary analysis of national datasets. The research will explore both employer actions, practices and strategic decision-making, and employee experiences and outcomes of WfH during lockdown and its aftermath. Focusing on professional services and public administration, where access has been agreed in principle with employers in law and local government, a longitudinal perspective will contour and contextualise the recovery process in these sectors, selected for their contrasting business models, frontline pandemic response, and levels of WfH prior to the crisis-driven mass migration of white-collar workers into roles performed entirely from home.
Our impact pathway will promote early engagement with findings: offering regular insight briefings on employee experience and outcomes; an employer summit that shares and shapes our assessment of whether WfH under the pandemic is activating wider changes in work organisation, job design, agility and flexibility; and a policy roundtable informing policy responses around ‘good work’ and flexible working.
University of Southampton
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