Sure things will change, although we will never know to what degree Covid-19 caused the modification of the daily routines of white-collar staff or merely accelerated an inevitable transformation.
Regardless, a long-standing question appears to be resolving itself rather quickly – will the workforce be more or less productive when the overwhelming majority of its participants are engaged in their endeavors remotely?
The early consensus seems to be that those involved in most business-related activities are performing more efficiently, notwithstanding that many have increased responsibilities.
Those connected to the sales/business development side of the house, however, will have unique challenges, including losing the in-person confidence and imperativeness building that is part-and-parcel of selling, as well as the opportunity to engage the client/customer without distraction.
Remote work will, of course, save employers and employees considerable sums of money.
Employers will reduce their brick-and-mortar footprint costs substantially, including expenses related to rent itself, personnel required to run and manage the office space, and energy costs. Remote work environments will allow companies to expand their talent pool, breaking down geographical, age and disability barriers.
Societal benefits to telecommuting include reduced carbon emissions, traffic, and strain on infrastructure, as well as the ability for seniors who want and/or need to continue working to do as such with greater ease.
Employees will save commute costs, meal expenses, childcare outlays, and hundreds (or more) of wasted hours per year commuting to and from the office, while realizing greater flexibility in their lives.
Of considerable concern, however, is the fiscal effect of what could become a rapid transition away from traditional offices, the practical consequences of such a scenario on related commercial real estate, associated industries and reliant businesses, the considerable reduction of municipal tax revenues, and the vast physical and emotional emptiness left in the wake of the decline of urban and suburban business districts.