Workforce Strategies:
2020 and Beyond

Reading the signs of a changing workplace ·

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 forced immediate decisions affecting organizations and their workforces. Employers now need to make strategic decisions to capitalize on opportunities created through the crisis and engage their employees differently to optimize performance going forward.

Timpano Consulting and Blue Rock WI partnered on a study of how people and organizations across sectors were interpreting and adjusting to the uncertain landscape. The study included interviews, discussions, surveys, and secondary research examining the experiences of individuals and organizations across sectors. We hope this information helps leaders navigate the road ahead.

Insights to Inform Action

The findings can help you find your way

Learn from others; Listen to your people

The report captures the findings and draws attention to factors that leaders should be acting upon, experimenting with, and leaving behind for the journey ahead. It draws from critical analysis of secondary research as well as direct input through discussions, interviews, and surveys of over 100 employers and employees in June 2020 about the impact of the pandemic on their work and work lives.

The pandemic surfaced issues already existing within organizations. According to the report co-authors, best-in-class organizations listen to their employees when formulating their strategies rather than instituting practices based solely upon others’ experiences, broad research reports, or management team assumptions. They observe that every organization’s workforce is comprised of different ideas about what will work best, and employers won’t be able to satisfy everyone so they must work toward solutions that deliver the greatest value to their mission and find ways to help employees navigate the changing times.

The full report is available free for download.

Apply the Insights

Headlines & Highlights

Free 45-minute virtual presentation
Join report co-authors Melanie Schmidt and Brett Remington for a dynamic, brief overview of the research findings and recommendations. They will highlight insights and answer attendee questions.

Registration required.

Thurs., Aug. 6, 2020 @ 1:30PM CT

Putting Insights Into Action

2-hour Interactive Workshop
Dive deeper into the themes from the research and put the ideas into action for your organization. This interactive workshop will include presentation and small group discussions. Fee: $50/person.

Registration required.

Thurs., Aug. 13, 9:30-11:30AM CT

Report Highlights

Reimagine Management Practices to Optimize Talent

07/30/20 NEWS RELEASE -- Over 75 percent of employers believe they need to implement new management policies and practices to accommodate remote working as a standard future practice, and employees are interested in more flexible working arrangements going forward, according to a recent study conducted by Timpano Consulting and Blue Rock WI, management consulting firms specializing in workforce optimization.

The research effort involved surveys, interviews, discussions, and critical analysis about the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on employers and employees. Over 100 individuals spanning sectors, industries, sizes, and position types shared perspective; ninety percent of respondents were based in Wisconsin.

“Remote working is here to stay,” said Brett Remington, Blue Rock WI president. “Employers who figure out how to shift management practices to focus on outcomes rather than activities will be better positioned to raise productivity and secure profits.”

While 63 percent of employers anticipated a negative impact on their year-end organizational performance as a result of the pandemic, 77 percent of employers reported the performance of their workforce in remote work arrangements was about the same or better compared to the beginning of the year. Forty-three percent of employees working remotely were more satisfied with their job performance compared to the beginning of the year, and 32 percent felt about the same in terms of performance.

Ten percent of employees working from home during the pandemic preferred to return to their workplace as soon as possible, yet 80 percent of employees wanted to keep the practice as long as it makes sense for them and their work or until COVID 19 is no longer identified as a public health issue. Employees ranged in terms of how frequently they would choose to work remotely, with half preferring 5 days or more per week, and half preferring a hybrid arrangement of a few days per week or per month. All employee respondents who were working at home during the pandemic believed they could comfortably do so for at least a few months, with 77 percent indicating six months or more.

“Few organizations expect to return to business as usual from last year,” said Melanie Schmidt, Timpano Consulting president. “Employers must figure out how to best utilize their workforce to rebound and deliver value for customers – be that in person, remotely, or some sort of hybrid.”

Overall, employees are ready to adapt when given more flexibility, support to succeed, and clarity around expectations. Surveyed supervisors and managers welcome training and support to deliver on it.

The future has its challenges – but they can be addressed. Employers and employees shared concerns about the work-related challenges caused by internet connectivity (broadband access) and it being harder to communicate with coworkers. Yet, employers overestimated the challenges of distractions at home and underestimated employee anxiety about how they may be personally affected by the coronavirus.

Other Survey Findings:
• At the beginning of the year, only 30 percent of employers surveyed used remote working as routine practice, though 94 percent shifted to it during the pandemic. Looking ahead, about 10 percent intended to return fully to a ‘traditional’ workplace with 58 percent intending to deploy a hybrid model and 23 percent still unclear about how they would approach future work arrangements.
• Seventy-five percent of employees expressed confidence that they had the right resources to navigate through the crisis response, and 75 percent were confident in their leadership teams to make the right decisions through the crisis.
• Over half of employee respondents reported working more hours than before the pandemic; eight percent reported working fewer hours.
• Public sector employers expect remote work arrangements to be in the mix; most private sector employers intend to increase remote working while some functions return to the traditional setting; and, most nonprofit employers are likely to introduce more remote work opportunities.
• Across all sectors, employees want more outcomes-focused management and clearer expectations in terms of their accessibility and responsiveness. They also desire weekly communications from their leadership teams for how the organization is handling business complications due to the coronavirus.

Report Co-Authors

  • Melanie Schmidt is president of Timpano Group, including a consulting practice that optimizes organizations by aligning strategy, systems, people, and processes. She is a creative strategist, thought partner, and implementation coach who helps people refocus and recharge to achieve their intended results. Ms. Schmidt can be reached via email at or via telephone at (608) 695-7320.

  • Brett Remington is president of Blue Rock WI, helping people and organizations narrow the gap between their performance and their potential. His background in econometrics, behavioral economics, and cognitive biases brings an unconventional and provocative perspective to solving problems with simplicity and passion. Mr. Remington can be reached via email at or via telephone at (262) 893-5971.