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Thought Leadership

Three post-pandemic predictions for the world of work

May 4, 2021

What are the most consequential, lasting impacts on business and leadership after a year of crises?

I was reading an article recently about loosening travel restrictions, and halfway through, I came across a quote that powerfully captured what I think many people are feeling these days: “We can see a future, which is awesome.” After all, when the pandemic enveloped the world last spring, that ability to hope and plan for the future was shut down in our collective consciousness.

Yes, the daily headlines still bring troubling news about stubbornly high rates of COVID-19 cases, mounting death tolls, and slow vaccination rollouts in some countries. And the issues of social justice that have dominated the headlines persist. But companies also are starting to bring employees back to the office, people are beginning to think about real vacations again, and gloomy predictions of economic collapse are giving way to unbridled optimism about growth. First-quarter 2021 figures in the U.S. showed a 10 percent bounce-back from the same period last year.

When the pandemic started, people who have lived through a few crises before reminded us, “This too shall pass,” and even though it may have been hard to imagine given the extent of COVID-19’s damage worldwide, there’s a sense that their prediction was right. But this isn’t to say that we will be — or indeed, would even want to be — back to where we were in 2019.

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The ExCo Group’s Adam Bryant wrote this article for his column in Strategy + Business. It was originally published here.