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Pandemic still impacts work expectations

Written on Apr 28, 2022

By Jessica Salerno-Shumaker, OSCPA senior content manager 

The future of work could mean Zoom towns, mobile experiences and personal space, according to one futurist. 

“Before the pandemic, I imagined this as a 10- or 15-year transition,” says David Staley, associate professor in the Department of History at The Ohio State University and president of Columbus Futurists. “The pandemic accelerated it.” 

Experiences delivered to consumers are an area Staley said will continue to change dramatically. He says this goes beyond having food or goods delivered. 

“The new mobility will refer to the world being mobile and the world being brought to you,” he said. “And that's not just things, that's also experiences. So that's education, telemedicine and the gym. And I think entrepreneurs will discover all sorts of areas of the world that we thought were immobile.” 

While some people are ready to be in person again, Staley said there will continue to be a demand for experiences to happen virtually. He said the convenience factor of not having to leave their home is too good to pass up for many people.   

“Zoom towns,” places people have moved to during the pandemic, will continue to grow in popularity, he said, especially for individuals who want to leave the expense of bigger cities but retain their jobs there. 

Staley said since people have become accustomed to a distance of six feet apart, this could bleed over to in-person events, not necessarily at concerts or sports stadiums, but rather at networking functions or everyday interactions. People might feel comfortable standing a few extra feet away from their peers because of what’s been standard practice during the pandemic. 

Staley said in-person events will continue to have a virtual component when it makes sense to add an option for those out of the area to join. 

“This is something that is going to remain very much a part of our practices,” he said. “The idea of connecting so easily and seamlessly with people around the world over something like Zoomwill simply become a part of our daily experience.” 

Hear more from David Staley at Spring Advance. Register here