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Jun 29, 2022

Working from Wherever, Whenever: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic that are Shaping the Future of Work

The COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of workers to adapt to a remote working environment nearly overnight. This reality tested the limits of enterprise technology, making this transition uniquely remarkable. For these reasons, the early 2020s present an important time to revisit the utility of worker autonomy and job meaningfulness to prepare for a post-pandemic workplace. The purpose of my research is to explore the lessons that employers and employees have learned throughout the pandemic, and how these lessons are shaping the future of work. Through 300+ survey responses and four interviews, I investigate the perceptions of autonomy and meaningfulness in different working arrangements. My results indicate that workers generally desire increased temporal and locational autonomy, although the utility of autonomy varies depending on their circumstances. Additionally, workers seek more opportunities for socially meaningful work in a post-pandemic context, and providing these opportunities benefits multiple stakeholder groups.

Highest Honors Thesis under the direction of Dr. Arvind Malhotra

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