The future workplace will need to be more flexible and based on mutual trust between bosses and employees, according to an HR expert.

Speaking at a workshop at The Travel Convention on ‘The Workforce of the Future – New Ways of Working’, David Wreford, partner of HR consultancy Mercer, suggested there would be changes in how companies work in future as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

An increase in the number of staff wanting to work part of their time from home and part of their time in the office was likely, he said.

He said: “Pre-Covid, businesses were ‘tolerant’ of flexible working and requests were often declined. What we have been through is a massive pilot study on remote working.

“I am not sure it’s true workforces will work from home all the time. It feels like people want to move from pre-Covid [working] of one or two days from home to a 50/50 pattern of working from work and home.”

Employees were likely to start making “conscious decisions” as to whether they wanted to go into the workplace in future.

He was hopeful businesses would base their future workforces on mutual trust, allowing employees more responsibility and flexibility as to when, where and how they worked.

He said: “We are looking at a new employee proposition which is balancing the best about being an employee, such as job security, with flexibility, autonomy and choice. I am hoping the future work force will be based on mutual trust.

“We are hearing organisations need to be more resilient to threat; resilience comes from being nimble and responsive. They need to ensure good communications [with staff] and for people to be able to behave in an autonomous way.”

The switch to remote working for vast numbers of UK workers during the summer lockdown has also forced a change in the type of technology companies now use to communicate with staff and clients, said Simon Johnson, UK general manager of software company Freshworks.

He said: “We are seeing bigger take-up in newer technologies and messaging apps such as Microsoft Teams and Slack. We are getting better at working remotely.

“There is a move to more mobile communications such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. WhatsApp is replacing email.”

He added: “For the first time we have seen organisations globally look at reorganising their technology; moving from big platforms to mobile, off the shelf solutions for remote working.”