But it’s not just about where we work. The number of hours we work may change, too. The pandemic has accelerated (or for some, triggered) the rollout of the four-day week, with recent pilots proving seemingly entirely positive: output and productivity held up alongside big jumps in worker satisfaction.
These impacts are among the possible positives – but there are challenges. There may be less idea generation or mentoring. Younger staff may lose out on some development. Productivity may be hindered by these changes, and we may also see a drop in output per worker (if not per hour), limiting the productive capacity of economies. Many workers could be displaced by technology and the importance of investing in adequate training and skills will only increase.
While the impact on traditional economic metrics like employment, productivity and wages are hard to ascertain given competing drivers, changes in ways of working could lead us towards social benefits. More remote and flexible working can lead to more diverse workforces, more satisfied staff and better mental health outcomes.