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Planning the Return to a Post-Pandemic Workplace: A Review for Northern Pole


Our workplaces are changing with emerging technologies, diverse workforces, a 24/7 culture, flexible and agile work patterns, add to this mix the volume of data and a high expectation of customers are becoming major drivers for businesses to rethink, how work gets done. An additional layer of complexity that business leaders have had to contend with is the global pandemic that has radically disrupted the workplace. Many people are now returning to the workplace but what considerations have had to made for ‘post-pandemic’ workplaces?


Northern Pole is a digital agency that employs 50 people, they have grown in capacity throughout lockdown and have recruited 10 new staff members. They have two floors of a building in the city centre. They have a flexible renting contract so can easily move or negotiate a long-term contract.


The management want to use the lockdown period as an opportunity to develop a newly designed ‘fit for purpose’ working space with new modes of working and innovative use of technologies to work smarter.  You have been asked to plan the return to workplace review and submit to the board, key recommendations for the new working space. This report will inform (assessment 2) a video of your ideas that you will create for the staff at Northern Pole.


The return to workplace review will be structured in four sections, People, Place, Technologies and Transformation. You will need conduct desk-top research to help you understand the challenges and opportunities of returning work. We have arranged 10 weekly fireside chats with people who are from a range of different companies and who work in different roles.  The fireside chats will focus on the how, the what and the why workplaces are changing and this will help inform your review.


Review Outline: (2000 words - 500 for each section): conduct desk-top research and include examples from the fireside chats to inform your review to develop a newly designed workplace for Northern Pole. Your work must be written to a high standard and use a Harvard format for referencing.




Transformation: the pandemic has been a major driver of change in businesses, but what else has driven the transformation of the workplace? Technology, customers, competition, new business models are other drives of change. Provide a background of digital transformation in your review, include what the challenges and opportunities are that smaller businesses must consider in this period of digitalization.    

Include examples from the fireside chats and include additional resources from your research. Provide a detailed SWOT on the impact of digital transformation for businesses. 


People: lockdown has radically altered our working practices and changed perspectives about how we want to work. Wellbeing and remote working have become important factors for business leaders to consider and to manage. What surveillance technologies are being employed to monitor workers, or have workers being empowered to manage themselves?

Include examples from the fireside chats and include additional resources from your research. What 2 recommendations will you make for changes for the people at Northern Pole and give reasons for these?


Place: What changes are other workplaces making to the physical workplace and why? How and where will staff be working, what might be new working practices?  Are there any new trends that might see us work differently?

Include examples from the fireside chats and include additional resources from your research. What 2 recommendations on the physical workplace will you make for Northern Pole to invest in and why?


Technologies: What are the challenges and opportunities? What do you recommend for emerging technologies are/will be available that might transform workplace (such robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented Realities)? What are the challenges businesses have when considering new technologies?

Include examples from the fireside chats and include additional resources from your research. What 2 technology recommendations will you make for Northern Pole to invest in and why?




Assessed intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this assessment, you will be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding

1. Describe the main types of human use of (experience with) computers, and appreciate the diversity of human users and the related requirements for accessible systems
2. Describe the role and application of contemporary media and human-computer interaction within the IT industry and appreciate the relevance and importance of these for IT professionals involved in development.
3. Specify, design and evaluate a variety of IT applications with a focus on the quality of human use of computers. 
4. Discuss and evaluate the factors that make for a good user experience of computer systems. 
5. Analyse the problems that can arise in the system development process, in designing the human-computer interface and in embedding IT in the human context.

Transferable/Key Skills and other attributes

6. Acquire skills in the analysis of human use of computer systems
7. Acquire design skills and produce effective documented design solutions
8. Work in a team

Module Aims

1. To develop an understanding of the deployment, taxonomy, theory and practice of human-computer interaction and interactive systems
2. To provide an appreciation of the technology's impact on the use of computer systems in organisations and society in general.
3. To develop a critical awareness of the relationship between design practice and user experience, together with the opportunity for exploration of methods which situate the user experience centrally within the design and development processes.

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