The future of work

100% Human at Work's 2021 survey on the future of work
100% Human At Work
Holly Branson
Holly Branson's writing
Published on 14 July 2021

The world of work drastically changed in 2020. Workplaces suddenly shut their doors, without knowing when they would return. Since then, we have all adjusted to different ways of working and new realities.

With social distancing measures easing, many companies are expecting their people to return to the office in the coming months. However, after 18 months of remote and flexible working, what will returning to the office look like? And more importantly, how do people actually feel about it?

A woman standing at a desk in an office
MoMo Productions/Getty Images

At Virgin Management, we have embraced flexible working for many years now. We believe this flexibility encourages our people to be their healthiest and happiest selves. I would love to see businesses move away from terms like ‘work-life balance’ and better support people in all aspects of their lives. Your people are more than just employee numbers and everyone has their own purpose, passions, family commitments, routines and needs.

Much of the current conversation around hybrid work focuses on the number of days per week people would be expected to spend in the office, what the physical space of the office might be used for, and the long-term safety measures that need to be considered. While these are crucial questions to ask, there’s so much more to think about. The 100% Human at Work network are really encouraging companies to put people at the heart of these big decisions, and better understand how they truly feel about returning to the office and the future of the workplace.

Holly Branson remote working with her daughter Lola
Branson Family

Virgin became a founding partner of the 100% Human at Work initiative because we believe that people should be at the heart of all decisions, and this feels more important now than ever.  

After navigating an immensely challenging and profound chapter of our lives, we are all establishing new boundaries for both our home and work lives. Now is an ideal time to reconsider a few key elements of our working lives, such as: What does it look like to thrive at work? How can we be as flexible as possible? What is the best way to stay connected with one another? How can we make sure we all belong in the future world of work?

People practise yoga in The Retreat room at Virgin Media's new office in Reading
Image from Virgin Media

To get to the bottom of these questions, the 100% Human at Work team has launched a survey to ask individual people (not companies) their opinions. I love this approach. Ordinarily, these big decisions are left up to the leadership team. This completely turns that trend on its head and gets to the bottom of how people really feel. The team is determined to focus the conversation on the human perspective.

The findings from this survey will contribute towards a conversation paper called ‘The Future of the Workplace – The Human Experience’, which will be published later this summer.

Virgin Red office hallway and conference rooms
Image from Virgin Red

We would love for you to get involved so please take part and share the survey with as many people as possible. Your opinions truly matter, and now is the time to create a future of work that works for everyone.

You can find out more about the 100% Human at Work network right here.