Oct 23, 2021Liked by David Thomson

To expand on your point, one key aspect of workplace discrimination is that many women and historically underrepresented groups experience a hostile work environment, which can include micro-aggressions (seemingly innocuous remarks or touchings that are not innocuous), macro-aggressions (devalued and unfairly criticized performance, being overlooked for promotion, lack of comparable mentoring, etc.), and the combination which has a profound effect on one's ability to perform at work and beyond reaching one's personal well-being (physical and mental), home life, sense of identity, and on from there. How many of us cannot even imagine the daily "chore" of enduring that much more than the challenge of just the work itself? The pandemic has shown these workers a way to do their job and hopefully keep the hands and comments of others away from them. The pandemic has probably made the workplace worse in this respect for non-knowledge workers. Hopefully we do not need (or have to wait for) another pandemic to figure out how to effectively address the other aspects of discrimination in our society.

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Fantastic post as always. This discussion brought to mind two things that have been recurring interests/obsessions of mine over the past almost two years: pandemic architecture and third places.

"If remote work continues to be sustained, as I think it will, the impact on cities will be profound." This is, I think, underselling the massive changes in both architecture and city planning (or re-planning) that will happen in the coming years. Early in the pandemic, I read a piece on Slate called "The Post-Pandemic Style," which discusses just how the design aesthetic that permeated the 20th century was largely driven by the 1918 flu pandemic. It has stuck with me mostly as a thought exercise as to how this pandemic will change things.

One way I suspect things will change is that more consideration will be given to "third places." Quoting Wikipedia, the third place is "the social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home ("first place") and the workplace ("second place")." During the pandemic, our homes became our first, second, and third spaces. This had mixed results, as we've seen in the rash of recent studies about how people felt about working from home.

Those who had homes large enough and unpopulated enough to create separate work and play spaces in their homes, away from their living areas, generally didn't seem to mind working at home. For the rest of us, having a dining room pull triple duty as living, work, and play area was...problematic.

So, when I think about future work, it will be, as you say, hybrid. I think the idea that people need separate living, work, and play environments with little to no overlap will continue to grow even as people resist the idea that we need to all be in the same office at the same time. In other words, I think the pandemic has begun to show just how necessary third places (much less separate first and second places) are, but I think it has also shown that those places do not have to be fixed points on a map.

Anyway, as I said, interesting post as always. Stay well.

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