A little over a year after the start of a global pandemic, the dramatic and lasting impact that the Covid-19 crisis has had on the workplace is coming into focus. Some of the consequences of the mass migration to remote work were entirely predictable. For example, companies and employees alike have had time to consider the pros and cons of the office, in terms of cost, physical layout (popular open floor plans mean viruses can easily float between staff) and its effect on internal communication. What wasn’t as obvious was how remote work itself would affect our lives and workplace culture.
This time last year, Quartz reached out to several experts to ask what they saw coming. We talked about the fate of diversity and equity efforts, the future of home offices, employee activism, and our ongoing pursuit of work-life balance. Now that a year has passed, we decided to check in again with several of the same experts to judge how accurately or not we had portrayed the future of work. We also asked our experts again: What’s next?
Ultimately, what we hope to discern is whether the pandemic and its subsequent changes has made work better—more equitable and inclusive, and more humane. We think it has, though it has also made work harder, at least in the short term, and it remains to be seen whether the corporate world will close racial and gender gaps laid bare by events of the past year.