That's a wrap on the CIPD Festival of Work 2021. Following a year of navigating the nuances of remote working and furlough, to ensuring the wellbeing of our employees amidst a global pandemic, thousands of people and business professionals came together online to embrace the new and unforeseen opportunities, and adapt to the new era of good work.

Thank you to all attendees, speakers, chairs, exhibitors, sponsors and suppliers who all pulled together to make this year's event one to remember. Take a look at the final day's highlights below.

See you on 15-16 June 2022 at London Olympia.

In the conference

CIPD Festival of Work - Fighting fit - The legacy of a pandemic in relation to mental health and wellbeing

Prerana Issar, Chief People Officer of NHS England, gave an insightful talk on how the NHS changed the way they handled wellbeing and mental health and what new initiatives they delivered at a time of crisis. 

“In senior positions, we feel that we need to be there for our team and can’t focus on ourselves. What we are trying to do is to normalise health help-seeking behaviour.”

“We can’t decide what is important for people’s health and wellbeing – we have to listen.” Prerana Issar

CIPD Festival of Work - Fighting fit - The legacy of a pandemic in relation to mental health and wellbeing

A panel discussion on the legacy of the pandemic in relation to mental health and wellbeing explored what new considerations for workplace design can best meet our people’s post-covid health needs with Prof Diana Kloss, Peter Kelly, Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina, and Jane Hanson

“The legacy of the pandemic is that it doesn’t stop when the pandemic stops. A whole generation lived through that, and we will have to be better and more empathetic to help people recover.” Peter Kelly

“We’ve equipped our line managers with a ‘Team Talk’ toolkit to support meaningful conversations with their teams.” Jane Hanson

“Encourage healthy boundaries, respect people’s time, encourage autonomy, align tech usage to org values to prevent tech fatigue – all great points to support better mental health with hybrid working.” Anastasia Dedyukhina

CIPD Festival of Work - The L&D renaissance – Redesigning your learning strategy post-pandemic

The L&D renaissance was covered in stream three, with Sara Burgess sharing her experience on redesigning learning strategy and making the necessary changes during the pandemic at AllSaints. Derek Mitchell also discussed how using data informs learning strategy and the marketing methods to drive engagement and uptake. 

Learning and development has got to get better in listening to what people want, as opposed to what we think we should be doing.” Sara Burgess

I think it is rude to actually have data on your employees which could help them and if we are not using it – that is doing a disservice.” Derek Mitchell

CIPD Festival of Work - Preserving Purpose in the Chaos – The unfaltering importance of meaning and purpose at work - Brian Cox

To bring the CIPD Festival of Work 2021 conference to a close, Professor Brian Cox OBE gave a spectacular talk on the origins of the universe and what this tells us about meaning and purpose – offering a sense of perspective to wrap up the event.  

“It’s quite a remarkable thing to be: a collection of atoms that can investigate atoms.”

“We need to understand our own morality in order to teach our expert systems to be moral.”

“Meaning exists because the universe means something to us. And the world means something to us. Meaning exists on this planet because there are humans on it who can think, explore and feel the universe.” Professor Brian Cox