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Changes in work during COVID-19 (and beyond) - Talk by Sharon Parker

As part of the Safe Work Month Short Talk series, Sharon Parker gave a talk on how work changed when people worked at home during COVID and how it might change in the future.

This session provided evidence-based practical steps to address some of the issues associated with COVID such as isolation, work stress, the need for good organisational support, and communication. With the lens firmly pointed on the importance of flexible work and good work design, Sharon talked through how to achieve your own SMART work design. Sharon discussed the role of work design in fostering healthy, safe, and productive work, both when working at home and in the office. She also explored the future of working from home - what new possibilities are being created and how our work will continue to be impacted.

Key takeaways

  • People’s experiences of working from home during COVID are diverse, and depend on a number of factors.

  • One important influence on people’s mental health and wellbeing is their work design.

  • SMART work (Stimulating, Mastery-oriented, Agentic, Relational and Tolerable) is better for mental health and well-being.

  • COVID can make work smarter (e.g., through greater agency over when and how people work) but also less smart (e.g. through reducing relational aspects of work).

  • Crucially, managers and workers themselves, can take steps to improve work design when people are working from home.

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