The Covid Business Series: What Works for Work? - Transforming the place and time of work

Join Innovate UK KTN and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for this lively lunchtime session, where you will hear from and speak with experts on how hybrid working can boost productivity and improve employee wellbeing.

Event Details


12.30 - 13.30



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The Covid-19 pandemic has changed how, when, and where people work. Remote, hybrid and flexible working patterns are here to stay. How can companies adapt to the new normal of working, and the impact this shift had on the lives of millions of employees and their organisations?

Webinar recording is now available


This interactive discussion will explore various actions that businesses can implement in the workplace to support the productivity and wellbeing of remote and hybrid workers.

Our expert speakers will share insights into the design of hybrid working, including how employees will use offices in the future, and approaches to a future in which millions of workers will carry out work at home, in the local cafe, or moving from place to place; and will provide employers and employees with actionable insights that can be applied at work.

About our speakers

  • Professor Alan Felstead | Cardiff University

Alan Felstead is Research Professor at the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University. He has a long-standing interest in the changing location of work. He has produced hundreds of publications on this and other labour market issues. His most recent book, Remote Working: A Research Overview, puts the recent increase in homeworking into historical context, considers the ways in which the location of work is changing, and outlines the challenges for employers, employees and society. He has given evidence to the Department of Work and Pensions Select Committee, the House of Lords Covid-19 Committee, and the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments. He sat on the Welsh Government’s Fair Work Commission and spent six months on part-time secondment to Welsh Government. He is a member of the ESRC-supported Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data (WISERD), and a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Research on Learning and Life Chances (LLAKES), UCL Institute of Education.

Talk: Is Homeworking a Slacker’s Charter? Some Recent Research Evidence

Working at home has exploded across the world over the last two years. Up to 12.5 million people in the UK are working exclusively at home, many of whom do not want to return to the daily commute and 9-5 working. This is upending traditional management approaches, which have relied on making employees visible and present. This talk considers what effect this has had on employee productivity, and the challenges that employers and employees face as hybrid and remote working become permanent features of the post-pandemic world of work.

  • Dr Matthew Davis, Associate Professor in Organisational Psychology | Leeds University Business School

Dr Matthew Davis has worked on a range of applied research projects with corporate partners including Rolls-Royce, Marks and Spencer, Next, Atkins, Arup and British Gas. Matthew is currently leading a ESRC funded multi-disciplinary project examining office adaptations in response to COVID-19 and how office design and ways of working impact employee social networks, workflow and performance. You can find out more about the research and access podcasts, videos, infographics and more here.

Talk: Hybrid and future ways of working: Why one-size can’t fit all

Matthew will be presenting key lessons learned around successes in adapting offices for hybrid working, and highlighting employee concerns, needs and aspirations for the future office. He will be drawing on: interviews with key decision-makers and stakeholders involved with office redesign planning within organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic; interviews with employees working in a variety of office and home settings; a cross-industry employee survey of UK office workers.

He will use the data to explain why one size can’t fit all when it comes to the design of hybrid and future ways of working, together with what we need to consider when it comes to thinking about the future workplace and how employees use offices. Matthew will be sharing some of the practical steps that organisations have taken to support employees back into offices, trade-offs involved in office design, different strategies to manage hybrid working and things to consider as we move towards the “new normal” (whatever that may actually be).

  • Helen Colechin, Managing Director | The HR Dept South London

Helen Colechin is Managing Director at The HR Dept South London. The HR Dept has more than 7000 clients serviced throughout 116 active territories in the UK offering a local and personal outsourced HR service for SMEs. They assist SME businesses with a full range of HR issues including recruitment, discipline & grievances, redundancies, employment documentation, training and employee engagement.

Helen has had a successful career in Operations Management and as an HR Practitioner with a range of experience across the private, public and not for profit sectors. Helen demonstrates an ability to understand the legal framework and to develop and implement practical solutions to meet clients’ needs.

Who should attend?

This session is free and open to all, including industry professionals from across all sectors, researchers and academics.

About the Covid Business Series: What works for work? Webinar series

This webinar series has been co-developed and delivered by KTN and the ESRC. It aims to bring together industry leaders and practitioners with researchers and academics to discuss emerging procedures, policies, tools, and tactics for a variety of business workplaces; and provide employers and employees with actionable insights that attendees can use at work.

During this webinar series we will be exploring:

  • Flexible working models that consider when, where, and how people work
  • Organisational policies that influence employee wellbeing and productivity
  • Post-lockdown inclusive recruitment and job designs


Co-developed and delivered with:


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