How has the pandemic altered workplaces?

Dr Anne Burmeister was shocked by one particular fact that emerged during her participation in the Academy of Management’s Expert Panel on the Pandemic Reset


Dr Anne Burmeister, Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management at RSM, blogs about the expert panel discussion she moderated at the Academy of Management. The discussion focused on how the Covid-19 pandemic has altered workplaces, upended the rules of employer-employee relationships, and evolved how the world works forever.

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The Academy of Management (AOM) gathered leading global workplace scholars to answer these important questions, showcase research-based insights and make sense of the pandemic’s workplace evolutions. I moderated the expert panel discussion between Dr Ellen Kossek (Purdue University), Dr Kira Schabram (University of Washington), and Dr Hakan Ozcelik (University of California, Sacramento).


Who needs to watch the discussion?

The AOM created the panel to provide actionable research-based insights to guide organisations and employees during the pandemic. Our panel discussion focused on deriving practical implications from empirical research related to the pandemic, which makes the panel discussion particularly interesting for practitioners. However, I also think that management scholars interested in topics like workplace relationships, gender equality, meaningful work, and emotions like loneliness can gather some interesting insights from it too.


What were your main learnings from the expert panel discussion?

One key theme that emerged was that organisations need to acknowledge and facilitate the human and social side of work. The requirement to work from home and limit physical contact as much as possible during the pandemic has shown how important social relationships are for the experience of work. So organisations need to create opportunities for informal social interactions to maintain their social fabric. This is not just a “nice-to-have”; it’s essential to enable employees to build and maintain trust, to create a sense of belonging, and to facilitate collective sensemaking that is crucial for well-being – and also productivity.

I was shocked to learn from Dr Ellen Kossek of the impact of the pandemic on women, especially in STEMM fields. Some people said the pandemic treats everyone the same, but research clearly shows the gendered impact of the pandemic. This creates a setback for gender equality.  


If you enjoyed reading this, you can also watch Dr Burmeister in RSM’s open lecture and discussion with two practitioners from international businesses: People first: What’s going to happen to the world of work after the great upheaval of 2020? generates insights into how working from home can be happy, healthy, and productive. You can also read the report of the AOM expert panel discussion here.


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