Posted: 13 Jul. 2020 10 min. read

The Future of Work

Key considerations for maintaining high performance in a virtual world

COVID-19 has seen an acceleration of trends associated with the Future of Work, which at the heart of it speaks to ways of working. There are so many learnings through this period, and we need to actively mine this rich data to inform the new normal – agility, workarounds, what did we, what we stopped doing, workforce sentiment. It has created an opportunity for organisations to respond, adapt and transform differently.

The ‘future of work’ is an expansive topic, so we use the three deeply integrated dimensions: work, workforce and workplace to help navigate it.


We were already experiencing a fair degree of disruption in the context of ‘work’, pre-COVID-19, in terms of data, technology and multigenerational workforces. As well as changing consumer and employee expectations. As a result of the pandemic, there has been an increased focus on digitisation and the collaboration strategy between human and machine, where one augments the other


Organisations have discovered agility through the pandemic that they didn’t think they had, being able to adjust to a remote way of working almost overnight. Looking forward, businesses are considering how to build greater talent mobility and resiliency in their workforces.


The workplace is front and centre of many conversations these days. Most organisations have an approach for the return to the workplace and what they might be doing in the short to medium-term, but are now exploring what the ‘workplace of the future’ means for them.  It doesn’t imply the demise of the workplace, but rather exploring the purpose of the workplace itself and its role in building community, culture and interaction, it is unlikely to now be a place where people come to take phone calls and check emails as that can be enabled using tools and technology remotely.

The new model for the workplace should be created with the twin ambitions of optimising the size, cost and carbon footprint of the real estate portfolio, and enabling the new ways of working and talent models required to meet the demands of the ‘future of work’, with greater resiliency.

Three Key Considerations for Maintaining High Performance

Organisations who, pre-COVID-19, were digitally enabled and were used to working in a virtual manner, made the transition relatively seamlessly. However, many organisations who did not work this way pre-crisis, have struggled.

Irrespective of the starting point, here are three considerations for maintaining high performance given increased virtual working is likely here to stay.


Prioritising behaviours first change, defining the cultural ambition to be more digital and embedding the growth mind-set are preconditions for success to drive sustainable and inclusive high performance.

Ways of Working

Assessing how ‘fit for purpose’ existing talent processes and operational structures are to support a hybrid of onsite and virtual working. Placing well-being front and centre of work design and equipping leaders at all levels to role model these new ways of working.


Understanding of the key moments that matter from an employee and customer experience perspective, and honing in on those to build engagement. Enabled by learning in the flow of work and outcome-based performance management practices.

Shifting the way we operate and behave, enabled by the right tools and technology, has the potential to enhance our overall productivity. It requires the adoption of a specific set of practices and behaviours that are optimised for virtual experiences, and requires leaders at all levels of the organisation to embrace that mind-set.

The UK Deloitte Private High Growth team is running regular webinars, for Founders and CxOs of fast growing businesses, on a variety of topics to offer practical considerations during this crisis. Please register if you’d like to join the mailing list.

Finally, Deloitte has pulled together a platform of content on the future of work, which includes practical and specific steps that can help you prepare for new ways of work.

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Key contact

Payal Vasudeva

Payal Vasudeva


Payal Vasudeva is a Human Capital Partner in Deloitte’s Financial Services practice, and leads on Future of Work in the market. She regularly engages with senior client leadership teams on the ever changing implications this has on workforce and HR. She has years of experience in architecting and deploying strategic People initiatives, and large scale transformation programmes. As a Talent practitioner she is passionate about effecting positive change to improve the way people work and live. She has worked across multiple geographies and industry sectors, with a focus on Financial Services. Her breadth of expertise spans all facets of HR transformation, Workforce strategies and Talent management, working at the intersect of business and technology. Payal also has responsibility for the internal employee value proposition of the firm as the People and Purpose lead for Human Capital Consulting. She actively champions Inclusion and her efforts have been recognised on a number of global diversity rankings. In addition, Payal holds advisory roles on various ‘not for profit’ leadership teams.