5 ways covid-19 impacted european workforce

Deloitte Insights

The voice of the European workforce 2020

May the workforce be with you

Authors: Will Gosling (UK), Dr. Michela Coppola (DE) & Kate McCarthy (UK)

After the first phase of COVID-19, businesses are forced to chart a new path forward, building on the advances made during the pandemic. Deloitte collected the opinions of more than 10,000 workers across seven European countries to learn from their views.

Introduction

The world of work was in flux well before the COVID-19 pandemic. Long-term trends – such as proliferating new digital technologies, evolving demographics and rising social concern about inequality and the environment, often accompanied by new laws and regulations – were already changing the way work is done, who does it and where.

The events of 2020 have accelerated and amplified these structural changes. Unprecedented containment measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 have forced companies to step up digital adoption. The realities of the pandemic have also triggered new concern for workers’ health and safety and thereby pushed organisations towards increased focus on well-being. And by exposing the vulnerabilities of various segments of the workforce and underlying inequalities,1 COVID-19 has brought ethical issues around employment to the fore and further raised the standards which companies are expected to attain. The impacts of organisations’ decisions on their communities are coming increasingly under public scrutiny. Cost-cutting plans that made sense only a few years ago now risk endangering organisations’ social licence to operate.

As the dust settles on the first phase of the outbreak, business leaders need to do more than return to their previous activities and routines. Instead, they must chart a new path forward, building on the advances made during the pandemic. Doing so without incorporating the views of the workforce would be a missed opportunity.

To bring the voice of the workforce to the fore and learn from its views, Deloitte’s European Workforce Survey collected the opinions of more than 10,000 workers across seven European countries (see the About the research box).

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