The COVID-19 pandemic was, no doubt, an unusual event. But we’re likely to see more such crises in the future. How successfully we handle them will depend on what happens and how politicians and corporate executives respond. One thing that’s clear is that flexibility and foresight will be needed as companies sort out what comes next.
For example, it seemed clear a year ago that practically everyone in office jobs would remain largely remote, so companies realized they needed occasional on-premises collaboration spaces that were small and intimate. (These were often called huddle rooms.)
Now, companies are talking about large conference rooms again as they envision people coming back to the office en masse — largely because they never addressed the issues that cropped up with the shift to remote work. Those problems include workers who felt like they didn’t have the same opportunities as on-site employees and managers who either don’t know how to manage remote employees or simply don’t trust them to do their jobs.