Many think "remote work" is a temporary blip that will become less relevant the more we move past the pandemic. The most long-standing effect people anticipate are a "hybrid model," where people get to work from home for 2 days a week.
But the pandemic might have set the stage for the 21st century to be the "century of telepresence." It gave people a glimpse of all of the advantages of location independence, even though it was a buggy fear-ridden trial run. Video conferencing will not be the silver bullet that kills Corporate America. In 2022, there will be good reason to going back to the office. But it opened people's minds and planted a seed. When magic-grade communication technology on par with teleportation comes around, people will be ready to accept it.
It's funny how the "future of work" is associated with 2003 Skype-era technology. As useful as video conferencing has been during this pandemic, everyone got to experience the annoyance of staring at real people through a flat screen for hours. Some have associated that annoyance as an inherent limitation of remote work. It's not, because video conferencing isn't the final form of telepresence.
Communication technology has had a sole mission since the early days of carving lines into papyrus fragments: connect people across space and time. It started as abstract symbols, which conveyed the intent of a person. It later evolved to include sensory representations, which included images, sounds, and video of people. The upcoming and final form of communication technology is "simulation," in which the presence/perception/consciousness of a person can be shot through Internet tubes.
Zoom might be the highest form of "sensory representation" we have, but "simulations," will remove the screen and put you in the same room with someone from across the world.
Virtual reality is still young. The hardware is finally accessible, and we can already experience some of the benefits of simulations over representations. But we're nowhere near having the infrastructure for a "Metaverse" that could under-pin a global and location independent society. VR did see somewhat of an uptick during the pandemic, but it by no means was the tide-shifting moment VR.