As workers have started to return to the office, the extent to which pandemic-related shifts in work will persist—and the implications for workers, companies, cities and beyond—is Top of Mind. We speak with Stanford’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Nicholas Bloom, McKinsey’s Sven Smit, and UC Berkeley’s Enrico Moretti. They generally agree that a “hybrid” in person/remote work model will become the new normal for about half of the US workforce—with important implications for companies—but differ on what this and other pandemic related shifts in work will mean for productivity: Bloom expects hybrid to be a large productivity driver, Smit argues this is only likely if tech hurdles are overcome, and Brynjolfsson believes that we’re just at the start of a productivity boom as the pandemic only hastened the organizational transformation required for existing technologies to reach their full potential. GS economists also see lasting productivity gains. And, as for cities, most think these shifts won’t spell the end of them, and may result in modestly less expensive and congested ones.

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