As we look towards recovery, the big question on everyone’s mind is how normal will the new normal be?
Especially uncertain are the ways we will continue to work. Which of the changes and workplace innovations we’ve been forced to adapt to will stick around into the post-COVID era? Will Zoom meetings be the norm forever more? Or will we transition seamlessly back to an in-office, 9 to 5 workday?
Richard Florida, urbanist and author of The Rise of the Creative Class has been thinking and writing about cities and the creative class that occupies them for many years. He joins hosts John Stackhouse and Trinh Theresa Do on RBC’s Disruptors podcast to discuss the long-term implications COVID will have on offices and the workers who used to inhabit them.
Cities have survived far worse, says Florida. And with widespread vaccinations underway, people are getting back to meeting. This natural human tendency of clustering is not going to go anywhere. Social interaction and co-mingling will be even more important now.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be changes, however.
“For the creative class — the innovators, the techies, the artists, the musicians, the professionals — remote work is something they’re going to come to expect… They’re not going to go back to this old industrial age idea that people go to an office at 9 and come back at 5. For those who have the privilege, the skill and the talent to demand that.”
Instead of going to the office everyday, heading there will be more like going on a local business trip perhaps a couple times a week to meet with colleagues and collaborate.
Building remote work ecosystems will be key, he concludes, and will require reimagining our office districts as complete and integrated live-work communities.