We read all the ‘Future of Work’ articles so you don’t have to – Here’s what you need to know to prepare for the post-pandemic future

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A post-pandemic world won’t make work less

Around May, we noticed a trend: the rise of the “future of work” articles. Published by consulting firms, professional associations, and business influencers, these articles and reports asked, “What will work be like when Covid-19 is over?”

It’s a good question, one we’re all asking.

The articles and reports kept coming over the summer and into the fall. In total, we read over 40 of them published by leading organizations including McKinsey, the World Economic Forum, and the Society for Human Resource Management. Some were brief. Some were full reports with survey data. Congizant’s, which took a future-looking-back perspective, was the most creative.

We found a significant amount of overlap in most of the content, and a few ideas that are original and deserve more consideration. Below, we summarize the findings. Together, these ideas can help your team prepare for an uncertain future, pushing us closer to an answer of what work will look like in the future.

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Six experts on how we’ll live, work, and play in cities after COVID-19

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Architects and urban planners from Gensler, Harvard, and Bloomberg Associates explain the changes coming to our shared spaces.

For Fast Company’s Shape of Tomorrow series, we’re asking business leaders to share their inside perspective on how the COVID-19 era is transforming their industries. Here’s what’s been lost—and what could be gained—in the new world order.

This pandemic is challenging us, but it also offers a once-in-a-century chance to change course and undo some of the damage from the traffic and congestion and pollution. I work with mayors around the world to improve the quality of life in their cities, and transportation is at the heart of what we’re doing in response to the COVID crisis. Just 10 years ago, when I was transportation commissioner of NYC, closing car traffic through Times Square for pedestrians was on the front page of newspapers for weeks. Now cities around the world are turning to car-free streets as part of the recovery. Not because it’s fun or because of any political agenda, but it’s because streets that are accessible are better for business and better to live in. And the same things that make biking and walking attractive in a pandemic—that they’re resilient and reliable and affordable and you can be socially distanced—were true before the pandemic. The pandemic can give cities a head start on a new road order.

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Why ‘as-a-service’ models will reign in a post-pandemic world

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It’s hard to think ahead when we are up to our necks in the misery and fear of a pandemic, but every CEO should be focused not just on how to survive, but how to thrive in the COVID-era. I say era because this is not a passing phase, but a new reality.

COVID is accelerating many societal and technology shifts and reversing others. The COVID-era is a technology-driven era with widespread and often forced adoption of trends like work-from-home, online retail, pickup/delivery services, entertainment-as-a-service, telemedicine (well, tele-you-name-it), and machine-learning. Embodied in this change are deep behavioral shifts that, even given a decade, might never have reached these proportions. Enabling nearly all of these shifts is an “… as-a-service (XaaS)” capability be it data, infrastructure, platform, software, or experience. XaaS was already on it’s way to becoming a juggernaut, with a market value of $93.8 billion in 2018 and projected to triple to $344.3 billion by 2024, but it’s now on a whole new COVID-triggered upswing.

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