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How COVID has changed workplaces

PentaQuest recently released a research report on how COVID has changed workplaces.

We interviewed 40 executives and leaders to learn about how they have transitioned their workplaces during COVID-19. Some workplaces really struggled switching from the regular 9-5 office job to working from home, but others found the transition surprisingly easy.

The companies that had invested in mobile technology, remote access, and more flexible office arrangements found the transition to working from home much easier. These companies were able to transition to working from home in about 2 weeks. The companies that had not been deliberately moving towards digitally-enabled and modern working arrangements, however, found the transition more difficult and the process slower, taking around 6-8 weeks. This is a large difference, especially during crisis time.

The transition went “remarkably well”

The majority of the leaders we spoke to found that the transition from working in the office to working from home went “remarkably well” and were very pleased with how there was such a significant change in such a short amount of time. All of the leaders we spoke to stated that there were no signs of reduced productivity, and some even found that there was an increase in productivity, with absenteeism going down. One of the leaders we interviewed stated that their teams have completed “10 years of policies in 10 days” and another stated that they have seen “the highest production output in the last 3 years” due to the highly technical and academic nature of their staff. Virtual meetings were also surprisingly effective, giving introverted employees a chance to speak up, as well as saving time and money usually taken up by travel to and from physical meetings.

People are relating to each other differently

Another positive finding was that people have been relating to each other differently and showing more empathy and understanding. Interviewees stated that people are being more caring towards each other and showing more acceptance of personal circumstances and lives outside of work. HR functions have also significantly increased and many agencies are now offering ‘wellness days’ or similar leave options to support their staff during this transition, particularly for staff who are also homeschooling children. One interviewee shared that internal communications has increased by 500%, as leadership is making a concerted effort to inform and update staff.

Manager have ‘stepped up’

Leaders also found that their managers had ‘stepped up’ and adjusted management style in light of the working from home arrangements. A working from home study by Worklytics showed that manager outreach has increased by 17% since COVID-19 disrupted the workplace. One interviewee stated that “the agency now has to fully rely and trust directors to deliver outputs remotely” and that this has resulted in managers shifting their style from an input or time-based style towards an output- and outcome-focussed style. Because managers and executives level leaders have been forced to trust and give autonomy to managers more so than before, many leaders have found that managers have adjusted well.

Although COVID-19 was well and truly a shock to the system, leaders were generally well equipped and pleased with the transition to working from home. Those that had already placed some techniques in place found the transition easier, while those who were not prepared did take a little longer to transition; however, were still pleased with their staff's adaptability.

If you want to talk about how to keep employees engaged and well during the changing times and how to transition to the ‘next normal’, get in touch with one of our experts at

You can download the full report here:

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