Debates on the future of work have taken a more fundamental turn in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Early in 2020, when large sections of the workforce were prevented from coming to their usual places of work, remote work became the only way for many to continue to perform their professions. What had been a piecemeal, at times truly sluggish, evolution towards a multilocation approach to work suddenly turned into an abrupt, radical and universal shift. It quickly became clear that the consequences of this shift were far more significant and far-reaching than simply changing the workplace’s address. They involved a series of rapid, blockbuster transformations that were going to outlast the ‘mandatory lockdown’ phase of the pandemic.
The 12 chapters collected in this volume provide a multidisciplinary perspective on the impact and the future trajectories of remote work. They raise, discuss and explore fundamental questions emerging around remote work: from the nexus between the location from where work is performed and how it is performed to how remote locations may affect the way work is managed and organised, as well as the applicability of existing legislation. Additional questions concern remote work’s environmental and social impact and the rapidly changing nature of the relationship between work and life.
The contributions in this edited volume develop along several complementary axes, ranging from the discussion of global and societal dynamics to the implications for the contractual relationship between employers and workers. The transformation of the spatial component of work is considered both as a potential paradigm shift for the world of work and as a challenge for the implementation of specific regulatory regimes. An important insight that emerges from the multidimensional approach of this volume is that the establishment of a worker centred future of (remote) work requires the exploration and development of constructive pathways at different levels and in different directions involving the role of regulators, courts, trade unions, researchers, businesses and workers themselves