The great relearning: how corporates are bridging the gap

Learning and innovation were among the biggest workplace casualties during the pandemic, according to a new report. How can organisations rethink these activities in an increasingly complex workplace dynamic?

The transition to remote working – and its mass adoption – went more smoothly than many organisations might have imagined. For the most part, productivity has not suffered and many employees have enjoyed new-found autonomy over their work schedules.

However, as organisations start plotting their journey back to the workplace and hybrid models of working emerge, the cracks are starting to show. Research clearly indicates which activities are better done in the office.

‘As organisations plot their journey back to the workplace, the cracks are starting to show…’

A new report by Condeco in partnership with WORKTECH Academy, called ‘Supporting Learning and Innovation: Routes to Revival in Returning to the Office’, highlights the core activities which have suffered in the absence from the office and examines different corporate real estate strategies to revitalise them in the post-pandemic workplace.

The report draws insights from a network of Corporate Real Estate (CRE) professionals who participated in webinars, workshops and interviews as part of the research. It concludes that learning, mentoring and innovation were among the hardest-hit work activities throughout the pandemic.

Rebuilding higher value interpersonal work

In the report, learning and innovation activities are coined as ‘higher-value interpersonal work’. This type of work depends on the interactions and chance encounters that occur between colleagues and peers in a workspace – thus making it very difficult to replicate in a remote or hybrid, work environment.

Organisations depend on this type of social engagement to drive innovation and new ideas, and employees depend on these interactions to develop their knowledge, skills and career path. The report analyses why these activities are important, the impact the pandemic has had on them, the scale of current challenges and how different corporates have responded to them.

Ultimately, the Condeco report concludes that a lack of face-to-face interaction has highlighted how strongly rooted activities such as mentoring, training and innovation are in the physical workplace. However, technology solutions are helping to move these activities into a more blended space between the digital and physical where employees use technology as a tool to make more informed, conscious decisions about who to meet and in what medium.

While Covid-19 has had mostly detrimental effects on higher-value interpersonal work, it has ironically reinforced its importance and paved the way for learning and innovation to be reimaged to fit the new world of work.

Read more about the report here.

Condeco is a Global Partner of WORKTECH Academy. An extended account of the ‘Supporting Learning and Innovation’report can be found in our Innovation Zone. Find out how to become a member of WORKTECH Academy here.
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