At 1MFWF, we always want to highlight work what’s happening around the country and across the globe pertaining to work flexibility. While our own blog features regular contributions from experts on this topic, we also keep an eye out for great articles elsewhere on the web. Here are some recent news items not to miss, including how some changes made during the COVID-19 pandemic will become permanent workplace fixtures.

Working in the New Normal: The Future is Here and There is No Going Back

Chartered Management Institute

Even as countries around the world are moving to ease COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, some of the pandemic-fueled changes in the workplace may be permanent. Wide-scale remote working will be the norm, and the number of employees heading into offices on a regular basis will be reduced.

Technological changes that were already underway in the workforce–often referred to as the “fourth industrial revolution”–are moving forward at an even more rapid pace thanks to the pandemic. Employers may benefit from updating their workplace policies and practices, including strengthening data security, HR structures, and organizational culture.

As Remote Learning Looms, Employers Throw Working Parents a Lifeline

Chicago Tribune, Robert Channick

The beginning of the school year in many parts of the U.S. brought increased pressures and anxieties to many working parents balancing the “work-life family mashup.” While some school districts are requiring students to be in class full-time or part-time, others, like the Chicago public schools, are sticking with remote learning. In some cases, companies and school districts are offering help to parents who are working from home while overseeing remote learning for their kids.

Options like condensed work weeks, job sharing, enhanced child care support in-home, and virtual summer camps have provided a lifeline to many parents worried about keeping up at work while not letting their children’s educational development fall behind.

The Workplace is About to Change Dramatically

The Atlantic, Derek Thompson

The author explores how the pandemic will lead to three major global shifts impacting the economy, the workforce, and politics. Figures from the Harvard Business School project that in the post-COVID-19 world, one in six workers will be permanently home-based.

The workforce shift-shaking will include an increase in “free-agent entrepreneurship” and a home-bound workforce that will have a potentially negative impact on employees in the retail sector, particularly brick-and-mortar enterprises.

On the political front, the article predicts, there may be a significant change as residents of urban areas that have been traditional Democratic strongholds move to areas once dominated by Republicans.

How Companies Are Preparing Employees for Long-Term Work-from-Home, Jennifer Liu

Six months into the pandemic, companies are embracing organizational changes that were once thought of as temporary, but are now permanent. In some cases, the shift includes an expansion of programs that support remote workers. Those expanded benefits included wellness programs directed at mental health; shared documents that help employees shift to working at home; and monetary compensation to help support long-term work flexibility.

For working families, some companies are providing financial help for childcare and broader policies for paid time off for caregiving duties. To pay for the changes, some companies are shifting money once spent to support brick-and-mortar offices to the growing ranks of employees who work from home.

Scientists Enjoy Gig Economy Flexibility, International Work, Grace Turner

Like almost every career field, science has been swept into the gig economy movement, with about 79 percent of scientists who work as freelancers doing so by choice, a new study found. The data, by researchers in the U.K., the U.S., and Canada, explores how 542 independent scientists work around the world.

The study encompassed scientists in the pharmaceutical, medical, food science and psychology sectors, concluding that participants actively sought freelance work that supported international travel and careers, with some 56 percent expressing optimism about the future of the gig economy for scientists at all earning levels.