What does it mean to be a Best Place to Work in a post-pandemic world?

Photography by Skip Skipper/148 Films / Downtown Chattanooga is seen from the air above Coolidge Park on Chattanooga's North Shore.

In surveys of companies and employees for the Best Places to Work list, the qualities that make a place a great employer don't change much, despite the pandemic and a year that reinvented work, says Peter Burke, the founder of the Best Companies Group.

"The words pivot, reinvent, all became part of the vernacular," says Burke, whose 23-employee team has gone fully remote. "But being a best place to work isn't physical. It's communication, emotional connection, all those intangibles."

Best Companies Group added questions about remote work and plans to return to the office to its surveys, and many employers are grappling with that transition, Burke says.

"What we're seeing is that employees want to work at home most or all of the time, but people still want connection, they want to go in and see people, they want that in-person interaction," Burke says.