The New Face of the Workplace

Perspectives on scenarios likely to emerge after the crisis

The impact of the global Covid-19 crisis on the workplace: the new normal

Employee and organization preferences on returning to the workplace or continuing to work remotely

Scenarios and key strategies leaders can deploy to

help with the transition

Discover common "no-regret" actions leaders need to  invest in for the workplace


Key Takeaways

The workplace of the future. What employees want and how business might react.


In conducting this research, Headspring has complemented field interviews from business leaders and HR professionals. The goal was to understand whether the forced experience of virtual working would impact the way we work in the future. We targeted senior leaders: those who make decisions on the organizational architecture and have the biggest say in where to go from here.

The workplace of the future

Guiding Principles

Looking ahead

Preferences on returning to the workplace or continuing to work remotely.

Strategies leaders can deploy to help with the transition.

Discover the actions leaders need to invest in for the workplace.


Shaping the new workplace




70% of participants believe that employees will be more likely to truly embrace remote work after the crisis

68% of participants believe that senior leadership will be supportive of adopting remote work as a long term model

We identified four scenarios that are likely to emerge based on differences of opinion between organisations and employees





Middle Management


Senior Management

About the research

Our dataset is comprised of 482 analyzable responses. The sample characteristics includes over 60% of participants being members of senior management or c-level.

"People" people

The great majority of research participants work in HR-related functions, including Learning and Talent Development.


Work in HR

Key Industries

The covid-19 crisis affected businesses accross all major sectors, some positively others negatively. However, the impact has undoubtedly has been felt by everyone. Our research cover all major industries, including the following ones:







Business Services


Financial Services





North America




While we have seen significant differences in the level of success with which each country have dealt with the crisis, no region was immune to the impact of the pandemic. We spoke with professionals from North America, Europe and Australia. 





1,000 - 5,000

50 - 1,000

Company Size

While the size of the company plays a role, our research identified that the existence and the absence of good processes are key in the success of remote work.


Expertise and Experience

Angela Lane

Senior Executive in Talent Management, Researcher and Author

Sergey Gorbatov

Professor of HR & Organisational Development, IE Business School

Angela is a senior executive with more than 25 years of experience leading global Human Resource functions. Angela has led transformational change of the talent landscape across a range of Fortune 250 companies, by equipping leaders with practical tools, steeped in the science of high performance. Her recent book, ‘FairTalk: Three Steps to Powerful Feedback,’ provides an accessible framework to enable leaders to drive  performance through feedback.

Dr. Sergey Gorbatov teaches, speaks, researches, and writes about the complex sciences of leadership, organizational behaviour and human resources, while making it simple. Outside of academia, Sergey is Director, Talent Management at AbbVie, a Fortune 100 company. In this role, Sergey leads and supports an incredibly talented team of professionals who are responsible for the talent management portfolio across the world. 


Headspring is a joint venture of the Financial Times and IE Business School. Together, we bring a unique blend of business insight, expertise, business acumen, leading academic faculty and a global network of educators to co-create customised corporate learning and executive development programmes – in multiple languages, to almost any sector, anywhere in the world.

The expertise of the Financial Times

The innovation of IE Business School

The FT has been the guide to business for more than 125 years, recognised internationally for it’s authority, integrity and accuracy. Our FT journalists are close to the source. They know the facts before they become news, helping our clients to stay one step ahead. They understand the big political, economic and technological trends as well as the small details of policy that can make or break a business.

From its foundation, IE Business School have made it their business to disrupt. A triple accredited institution, it offers the world’s number one distance online MBA (QS, 2017) and the 3rd ranked non-US MBA in the world (Forbes, 2017). Through technological immersion and a culture of innovation, IE brings and entrepreneurial mindset that gives our programmes a sharper edge and greater impact.


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