Matthew Neville

New report explores impact of pandemic on North East workers

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership and Durham University Business School have published a new report looking at the pandemic’s effects on the Good Work Agenda.

Researched and written during the pandemic, it provides an insight into how changing working patterns accelerated employers’ ability to ensure better working practices for their employees, providing better quality and more meaningful work.

The new research supports existing Good Work pledges, charters and toolkits published by organisations including the North of Tyne Combined Authority, Northern Trades Union Congress, and North East England Chamber of Commerce.

Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The unique thing about this research is that it was developed in real time during the pandemic, which was a period of huge change for businesses.

“What we’ve found is that lots of businesses in the North East have been installing the principles of Good Work as a result of the pandemic. The introduction of remote and hybrid working has helped employers focus on important employee issues, such as work/life balance, flexible working, health and wellbeing, and communication.”

Professor Jo McBride, chair in work and employment relations at Durham University Business School, said: “COVID-19 restrictions forced a rapid extension of a more flexible way of working.

“At a time when organisations are faced with an opportunity to proactively change the way they work and improve their employment relationship, this is also a perfect opportunity to link into and develop the Good Work Agenda.”

Michelle Rainbow from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership added: “I think the timing of the publication of this research is important because many organisations are considering what the future looks like in terms of how and where their employees work.

“The insight we have gathered will, I hope, give businesses confidence in knowing they’re not alone in tackling these issues. The conclusions and recommendations in the report are focused on centering policies around employees’ needs, welfare and wellbeing; and that is at the core of the Good Work Agenda.”

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