How will working practices evolve? Dr Helen Hughes on BBC Radio Leeds

Associate Professor Helen Hughes appeared on BBC Radio Leeds Breakfast on 22 January 2021, discussing how working habits and organisational culture may evolve past the current Covid-19 crisis.

Organisational Psychologist and member of the Workplace Behaviour Research Centre Dr Helen Hughes highlighted on BBC Radio Leeds some of the benefits and challenges that millions have experienced while working from home over a significant period since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

While some may have thrived without the stress of the morning commute and the freedom to work more flexibly in the home office, many - especially those starting new jobs remotely with no experience of their physical office - may have struggled to understand or embrace their workplace culture online, said Dr Hughes. 

Dr Hughes emphasised that clues and signals that can be picked up on culture and hierarchy in the working environment, such as which meetings are held in boardrooms, or the size and location of colleagues’ offices, are missing in the virtual workplace and are difficult to replicate online. The absence of this aspect of work will affect placement students and interns especially, who will likely have no prior experience of working in a real office or workplace. 

Dr Hughes went on to adknowlege that organisations will need to consider a balance when the pandemic eases and it is safe for employees to return to the office - taking into account the positives that many have gained from the unique situation, as well adknowleging a need to draw more distinctive boundaries between work and home, that for many others, have become blurred over the year. 

Listen to the full interview on BBC Radio Leeds (from 2.09.37).