Challenges + Solutions

The survey findings present clear opportunities for businesses as they move into a post-COVID-19 world, but also challenges to address. This section highlights some of these key challenges and proposes solutions that businesses may consider.

The Nexus atrium showing a student passing through, a man working in a booth and a woman at the front in a meeting

Challenge: How to effectively exploit the innovation, creativity-enhancing and collaborative benefits of a physical office or workspace, within a hybrid model.

The survey uncovered that hybrid working can offer the flexibility and ease of home working with the innovation, creativity-enhancing and collaborative benefits of a physical office.

One of the key challenges for businesses will be in ensuring that the hybrid models they put in place successfully exploit these advantages and, in particular, that when workers meet in physical offices or workspaces, they make the most of their time there.

To help address this challenge businesses could:

Crowd applauding in the Nexus atrium

Challenge: Difficulties building and maintaining a strong company culture remotely.

This challenge was less prominent for businesses in sectors that may already have good technology and processes in place, including the information and communication sector and professional, scientific, technical and administrative activities businesses. Less tech-enabled or established businesses however may find it more difficult to maintain and build a strong culture in a hybrid world.

A female scientist stands working in a fume cupboard whilst her male colleague sits a workbench in laboratory

Challenge: Overcoming barriers to innovation to secure big opportunities for growth that have arisen due to COVID-19.

Overcoming barriers to innovation in the aftermath of COVID-19 is critical to ensure that businesses can take advantage of big opportunities for growth. An article published by the consulting firm McKinsey in June 2020 noted that, in a crisis, businesses should, amongst other things, urgently adapt their core proposition to meet shifting customer needs and identify and quickly address new opportunity areas being created by the changing landscape (8). McKinsey noted sudden pivots observed during COVID-19, for example digitising sales models. They also emphasised that understanding and exploiting such changes can allow businesses to gain long-term advantages, as demonstrated by the 2008 financial crisis where organisations that maintained their innovation focus throughout, emerged stronger, outperforming the market average by more than 30% and continuing to deliver accelerated growth over the subsequent three to five years. There is perhaps no better time for businesses to look to overcome the various barriers to innovation they face.


  1. McKinsey (2020), “Innovation in a crisis: Why it is more critical than ever?”.
  2. CBI (2019) Bigger, Faster, Stronger. How your large business can fuel its digital transformation journey.

In this report we’ve uncovered clear challenges and opportunities faced by firms as they enter a radically different post-COVID-19 working world.

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