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COVID-19’s Biggest Legacy

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COVID-19’s Biggest Legacy

Remote Work and Its Implications for the Postpandemic Labor Market in the US

The Conference Board,

5 min read
5 take-aways
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What's inside?

Post-pandemic, companies seem likely to transition to a hybrid model with some people working at home.

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Before the pandemic’s stay-at-home orders, only 8% to 10% of people with desk jobs worked at home. But many people and firms had positive experiences with remote work during the crisis. In the post-pandemic economy, up to 50% of people may still work remotely. This Conference Board report finds that companies seem likely to move to a hybrid model with some people at home, others in the office, and others using a split-time or hybrid model. The future of the hybrid workforce depends on whether bosses find that performance and productivity stay high, whether corporate cultures hold up and, perhaps, whether employees find they can still bond with their teammates and earn promotions. 


In the near future, companies need to establish policies on remote work.

Traditionally, people with office-based jobs need to leave their homes and go to work. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, only some 8% to 10% of people with office jobs did most of their work from home.But when the pandemic and its lockdowns and other protocols end, the world of work may be different. Post-pandemic, the number of people who work mostly from home may be as high as 50%.

The shift to virtual work is happening, in part, because after a year in which they had to work from home, people found that the experience wasn’t all that bad. Employers recognized that remote work had little negative impact on productivity, and it offered numerous other advantages.After a year of primarily remote work, returning to a traditional work week in the office would prove difficult for many people. Remote work also can help a company’s bottom line by reducing how much costly office space it needs.

A hybrid between remote and office work is likely to emerge.

Following the pandemic’s end, many employers may adopt a hybrid model. By September 2020, at least 40%&#...

About the Authors

Gail Levanon is vice president of labor markets for The Conference Board, where Elizabeth Crofoot and Frank Steemers are senior economists. Crofoot works with the Committee for Economic Development and Steemers is a labor market analyst.

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