Life in The Boardroom 2023/24: What does the boardroom look like post-COVID?

January 29, 2024

The COVID cataclysm changed the world – and the boardroom – perhaps forever. Three years later, we explore how COVID has changed the workplace as seen in our new exclusive survey of Chairs and NEDs – Life in The Boardroom 2023/24.

In our 2021/22 report, at median, 11 out 12 yearly meetings were held online, or 92%. The end of the pandemic has seen this figure much reduced, though still a significant portion of meetings remain online, at 51%:

A significant majority of responses continued to suggest changed rules post-COVID. 69% of comments suggested that rules and attitudes to WFH and online meetings have relaxed. 2% even closed or reduced their office. Only 18% suggested no changes (note some of those will be firms who already had relaxed rules pre-COVID).

We asked how many days per week respondents’ firms require staff to be in the office, finding a roughly even spread peaking at three days p/w. A very large number reported zero days p/w. Though this may have been inflated, e.g., answers meaning to refer to only the boards and not the wider workforce, there being no written rules with only de-facto expectations, rules set at team-level, etc.

Other findings follow our results – though they often disagree. Roughly similar UK results were found1 with an even spread peaking at 2 – 3 days p/w. Among sources2 which reported on fully remote working in the UK, results range between 6 – 51% of firms. Sources3 varied widely on how many UK firms offer no remote working. Disagreements may be due to the samples collected. E.g., a sample of only office workers will likely differ greatly from a sample of the general population, which includes manual workers.

Our 2021/22 report saw some comments laud online working which, it was felt, made for more diverse boardrooms. E.g., women, who bear a greater share of parenting and household duties4, may be better placed to take boardroom roles via online meetings. This raises the question as to whether directors who attend more meetings do so online to cope.

The quartile breakdown of meetings attended and the % of which held online is tabled below.

NED total meetings Chair total meetings Total meetings % of meetings online
Upper quartile 12 71%
Median 8 11 10 50%
Lower quartile 6 14%

Charting the total meetings attended in the past year against the percentage of meetings which took place online makes the graph below.

A statistical analysis shows that for each extra meeting a director attends, the percentage of online meetings increases by 0.57% on average. Similarly, the table above shows that moving from the lower to the upper quartile sees the total meetings double from six to 12. But also moving from lower to upper quartile for the % of meetings held online sees it pentuple from 14% to 71%. The fact that the % of online meetings grows so much faster than total meetings suggests that directors do rely on online options to cope with increased meetings.

This may be consequential in improving boardroom diversity. Our report found near equality in the gender ratio and fee gap amongst NEDs. But significant progress is yet to be made for Chairs as only 18% are women, who earn 36% less than male Chairs.

More data on the post-COVID world, extensive data and analysis on the compensation, time use, opinions, and experiences of Chairs and NEDs can be found in our 80+ page report on 788 boardroom positions. Click here for a free preview.

For links to the sources cited above, further discussion on this article, or information on MM&K’s products and services, do not hesitate to contact James Sharp.


1: Advanced Workplace Associates (2023), Aksoy et al. (2022), Centre for Cities (2023), CIPD (2023), Evening Standard (2023), Public First (2023). Contradictory result found by TravelPerk (2023)

2: Advanced Workplace Associates (2023), Centre for Cities (2023), CIPD (2023), ONS (2022), Owl Labs (2023), Public First (2023)

3: Result of no remote working being rare found by Centre for Cities (2023), CIPD (2023), Evening Standard (2023). Contradictory results found by ONS (2022), Owl Labs (2023), Public First (2023), TravelPerk (2023)

4: McMunn et al. (2019), Sanchez et al. (2021), Zamberlan et al. (2021)

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