UCL School of Management

11 January 2021

How to build a future world of work we will want

Brunette woman in a white top working on a tablet

Image: Helena Lopes

What will life be like when Zoom fatigue is a thing of the past and tech actually helps make work easier and our lives better? That’s the question Dr Jim Berry has been discussing with Nicole Kobie in an article for IT Pro.

The pandemic has thrown up a number of surprises, one of which was the need for business to quickly transfer from traditional working methods to a remote-based form, with employees working largely from home and utilising tools such as Zoom to great effect.

All that hard work has paid off – for employers. “One of the things that surprised me and many of the people in this field was the bump in productivity we saw,” explains Dr Berry “I think a lot of employees overcompensated — they took the extra time they had [from not having to commute] and threw it at their work. I don’t know if that’s entirely sustainable.” 

The next step, says Berry, will be project-management tools – and many companies already have such software, even if they don’t use it for everyday tasks. “Smart companies are looking at what toolkits they already have and how they can leverage them in new ways to maximise their workforce,” he said. 

Better communications tools and collaboration methods mean we don’t need to be tied to our desks, but could work when it suits us – if presenteeism finally gives way to smarter management ideas, at least. That could lay the groundwork for ideas such as a four-day working week, which Berry notes could help companies cover more hours of the working day for their clients while offering flexibility to staff. “I think organisations really need to think these things through,” he said. “I know I wouldn’t be opposed to working three 12-hour days with a four-day weekend. That would be wonderful.”

You can read the full article including all of Dr Berry’s comments on ITPro.

Last updated Monday, 11 January 2021