Last reviewed 6 May 2021

New ways of working introduced during the pandemic offer opportunities for both employers and staff, according to a report produced by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Barclays LifeSkills.

Entitled The next normal: Futureproofing the workforce for a post-pandemic world, and available at https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/media/get/The%20New%20Normal%20FINAL%20FINAL.pdf, the report highlights the need for employers to be ready to adapt their training priorities in order to help the next generation of school-leavers enter the workforce in a markedly changed, and still changing, workplace.

The findings were discussed during a series of online roundtables with members of the Chambers of Commerce Network from around the UK, conducted between November 2020 and February 2021.

Employers described the challenges of adapting to a fully online working environment, necessitated by the pandemic and detailed how effective communication across new digital channels had become a key component in their workplace.

Companies see it as a priority that young people gain these skills very early in their careers, while the existing workforce is rapidly up-skilled to adapt.

In terms of attracting new talent digitally, businesses found online recruitment processes had worked well and had given them access to a much larger pool of candidates. Employees saw greater appreciation from employers of their wide-ranging motivations, which was reflected in more flexible working arrangements.

Hannah Essex, Co-Executive Director of the BCC, said: “This report contains some really crucial insights into the way employers have managed their workforces throughout the unbelievably testing circumstances of the last year, and how they view the route forward post-pandemic”.

Comment from BrightHR’s CEO Alan Price

Preparing school-leavers and future employees for a post-pandemic workforce will be necessary, employers may find, for economic recovery.

Arguably, the most significant reflection points for employers will be around remote working and the use of technology; perhaps how these two things can come together to futureproof the workplace and attract new talent.