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Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies (2023)

Chapter: Appendix C - Additional Literature Review

« Previous: Appendix B - Airport Employee Survey
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Additional Literature Review." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27235.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Additional Literature Review." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27235.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Additional Literature Review." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27235.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Additional Literature Review." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27235.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Additional Literature Review." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27235.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Additional Literature Review." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27235.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix C - Additional Literature Review." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/27235.
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61   Additional Literature Review History of Remote Work Remote work, although a somewhat novel consideration for airports, is not a new concept. Although many of the technologies that support it were only recently developed, as Sako (2021) explains, remote work arrangements date back several decades: By the 1980s, remote office work—work-from-home—was considered an extension of flexible work arrangements alongside part-time work, which enabled workers, especially female workers, to balance work and childcare. With the Internet enabling connectivity since the 1990s, remote work morphed into offshoring to low-cost global locations. Offshored work included office work at call centers and software engineering centers, but also freelancing in design data entry programming, and translation using platforms such as Upwork, LinkedIn Profinder, and Fiverr.” (p. 20) Consider how various major events have seemingly pushed the workforce closer to remote work, only to return to the office. For example, a headline in the Los Angeles Times after the city’s 1994 earthquake, read “TELECOMMUTING TAKES OFF AFTER QUAKE . . . MOST EMPLOYEES WELCOME THE CHANGE.” Yet, in-person work soon returned. COVID-19 was a game changer, however. Due to numerous restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees who were previously unwilling, or likely never offered the opportunity, to work remotely were not only offered, but in many cases, required to work remotely. Indeed, “the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a rush towards remote work, making it crucial for business continuity” (Iwashita, 2021, p. 9). Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, “at most 5% of Americans worked from home for more than three days per week” (Yang et al., 2022, p. 43). With stay-at-home orders, non-essential personnel instructed to stay home, and employee hesitance to return to the office for fear of COVID-19 exposure, the pandemic accelerated changes already underway, and pushed things over a ‘tipping point’ ” (Sako, 2021, p. 20). “Hardly anyone made it through the pandemic with their work life unchanged” (Maslach and Leiter, 2022, p. 64). “The unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has required millions of people across the world into being remote workers, inadvertently leading to a de facto global experiment of remote working” (Wang et al., 2021, p. 17). Prior to COVID-19 and the need for workers to vacate the office due to health concerns, “most workers had little remote working experience; nor were they or their organizations prepared for supporting this practice” (Wang et al., 2021, p. 17). According to Yang et al. (2022), by April 2020, as many as 37% of Americans were working from home full-time. Sako (2021) reports that 35–50% of all U.S. employees were working entirely or partly from home by early May 2020. By late May 2020, only several months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gallup organization reported that 65% of the U.S. workforce was working remotely at least some of the time. By October 2020, 71% of U.S. workers who could perform their jobs remotely were, in fact, doing so (Gallup, 2020). A P P E N D I X C “The pattern of modern-day work . . . in which employees commute to an office, has proved resistant to technological and social change. It outlasted the invention of the fax machine, the internet, and video- phones; the decline of former industrial regions, stratospheric real estate prices in coastal megacities; globalization; climate change; air pollution; record commuter congestion; and failing subway systems. Each of these transforma- tions should have nudged the business world toward remote work; none did” (Cooke, 2021, p. 40).

62 Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies Remote Work Defined According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, remote work is defined as “a work arrangement in which the employee resides and works at a location beyond the local commuting area of the employing organization’s worksite. The arrangement generally includes full-time telework and may result in a change in duty location to the alternative worksite” (U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 2013, p. 259). Jamsen et al. (2022) define remote work as “a form of work that employees perform outside the physical premises of the organization by utilizing communication technology” (p. 2). Wang et al. (2020) share, “Remote working is defined as a ‘flexible work arrangement whereby workers work in locations, remote from their central offices or production facilities, the worker has no personal contact with co-workers there, but is able to communicate with them using technology’ ” (p. 17). Although definitions vary somewhat, each is united in that remote work allows employees to perform their work at an off-site location. This contrasts with the traditional work model in which employees work on-site at their employer’s location. Remote Work Models Traditional work-from-home models offer the employee temporal flexibility but expect them to continue working in the local area. Even so, work-from-home arrangements allow workers greater control over ambient workspace elements, such as clothing, layout, music, ventilation, etc. An emerging form of remote work, known as “work-from-anywhere,” allows the worker to choose to live in a preferred geographic location, even if it is outside the local geographic area of the home office. By allowing workers this greater flexibility in choosing where to live, housing costs can be reduced, family time can be increased, and workers can have greater control over their lives (Choudhury et al., 2020). Enforced remote work, an arrangement in which employees work from home or effectively resign, is much different than traditional remote work in which employees are given the option to work remotely. First, the traditional remote working arrangement has commonly been a blended or hybrid approach, whereby the employee works from home several days and in the office several days each week. Splitting time between remote and office work offers great flexibility and allows employees to enjoy the benefits of both working locations. Second, the traditional remote employee has considered the implications of remote work on his or her personal situation and preferences. In essence, the employee choosing remote work likely does so for the benefits it provides, whereas the employee required to work remotely may experience unique challenges, stemming from, among other things, the person’s lack of control over their work situation (Zhang et al., 2021). Rather than an all-or-nothing approach, a hybrid approach may be more reasonable for both employees and the employer. “Hybrid work involves providing the employees the freedom to decide where and when to work” (Finnegan, 2021). According to a survey conducted by Morning Consult in 2021, “87% of respondents want the flexibility to continue some form of remote work” (Peppercorn, 2021, p. 2). Gallup data shows that hybrid work arrangements are by far the preferred work arrangement for remote-capable employees—those whose current jobs can be done off-site at least part of the time. Nearly 60% of remote-capable employees prefer a hybrid model, nearly twice the 32% who would like to work remotely all the time (McGregor, 2022). Certainly, employers can require specific days in the office, but by allowing greater flexibility, “employees have the ability to fit their work around the rest of the things in their life, instead of structuring their day around the time they spend in the office” (Finnegan, 2021, p. 176).

Additional Literature Review 63   Many organizations, airports included, find it possible for some employee groups to work remotely, but require other employee groups to work on-site. This “mixed-mode” model consists of a mixture of full-time remote employees and full-time office employees (Yang, et al., 2022). Admittedly, this arrangement may extend this benefit to some employees, but not others, creating either perceived or real inequity in the workplace. Training The aviation industry is one characterized by extensive training. The literature presents three generations of aviation training since the industry began. First, apprenticeship was the primary means of training from 1903 to 1929. Second, simulation, initially in very crude forms, was the primary means of training from 1929–1979. Third, since 1979, safety has been the primary focus of aviation training, although some degree of simulation and apprenticeship may still be used (Sun et al., 2021). In the modern era, computer-based training and distance learning have enabled all indus- tries, including aviation, to train employees more efficiently and in some instances, without regard to time and space requirements. As Sun et al. (2021) share, “Distance learning has a huge potential to herald the start of a fourth generation of education training in the aviation sector” (p. 111). Even so, distance learning has presented unique challenges. First, distance learning courses vary dramatically in quality. Second, the preparation of quality online learning materials is a significant investment of time and effort. Third, the availability of technology drives the adoption of distance learning (Sun et al., 2021). Industry experience has indicated that, due to COVID-19 stay-at-home restrictions and degrees of remote work arrangements, employee training at airports was significantly impacted. For example, employees needed technological assets such as computers, mobile devices, high- bandwidth internet connections, etc. to access training offered at a distance. Would the airport provide these tools for employees or expect employees to arrange such access with personal resources? Additionally, unless the training was provided in a synchronous (“live”) format, there would be a lack of interaction between employees and the trainer. Further, how would airports ensure that assessments provided to employees would be fair and prevent cheating (Sun et al., 2021)? Airports that discovered the benefits of a “blended learning strategy” were likely less impacted by the various COVID-19 restrictions and the impacts on employee training and development. A blended approach incorporates in-person and computer-based training. Even when pandemic restrictions were in effect, making in-person training difficult, cloud-based platforms such as Zoom, Webex, and Microsoft Teams could be used to provide a synchronous, albeit virtual, “in-person” component. A live training session could be conducted one-on-one or with multiple employees from any location desired. In fact, both the trainer and employees being trained could virtually meet from the comfort of their own residences (Sun et al., 2021). Work Philosophy The COVID-19 pandemic solidified existing views of work for some, while completely upending it for others. The literature seems to indicate that remote work, or some form of it, is here for the long term. Granted, the literature does not only consider airports, but the economy as a whole. This view in support of remote work may be due to a changing philosophy of work.

64 Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies In the West, “going to work has defined modern life and modern lives, along with the labor conditions, cities, relationships, and patterns of movement that make them up” (Cooke, 2021, p. 42). In essence, the view that one must “go to work” has been very real. However, Cooke (2021) proposes that, “Doing work and going to work are very different things” (p. 42). He suggests that some employees need not be at a specific geographic location to perform “work.” Flexibility is now more important to employees in our post-pandemic era. As Evans et al. (in Choudhury et al., 2020) state, “Flexibility in the employment relationship is defined as ‘ceding control to workers over the circumstances of their work by enabling them to vary those circumstances to address personal and family needs and uncertainties’ ” (p. 659). Ren (2022) makes a bold prediction, “A decade from now, offices shall be used for one thing only: quality time with colleagues” (paragraph 1). Choudhury (in Ren, 2022) states, “We will probably in 10 years stop calling this ‘remote work.’ We’ll just call it work and work is something you do, not where you go or where you live” (paragraph 12). Although some may disagree with these statements, it is clear throughout the American economy that businesses of all sizes and in all segments have adopted a long-term view that “work” can be performed anywhere. Yet, as we know, certain tasks (such as airfield inspections and responding to aircraft emergencies) cannot be performed from anywhere. Thus, like anything else, each airport will need to evaluate their unique human resource needs and develop policies to support employees, as well as the employer, which may or may not be in line with leading thinkers of the day. Great Resignation During the pandemic, as businesses significantly altered their employee work model and workers confronted the stress of stay-at-home orders and social isolation, many employees, resigned from businesses in droves. For example, in November 2020, 3.2 million Americans quit their jobs. In November 2021, 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs. A 2021 Microsoft study—the 2021 Work Trend Index—found that 41% of the labor force was considering leaving their employers at the end of the year (Esterhuizen, 2021). In March 2022, 4.5 million Americans quit their jobs. This “Great Resignation” was underway in full force and was long-lived. By May 2022, after more than two years of the pandemic, “61% of young professionals between the ages of 25-35 changed jobs in the last two years or plan to do so within the following two years” (Genovese, 2022, paragraph 7). Many of these employees had been lured away to organi- zations offering higher pay, better titles, and better perks. Interestingly, as employees resigned, businesses had to sweeten their offerings to attract replacement workers. The Great Resignation also resulted from individuals seeking more flexibility and control over their lives. Zubernis (2022) proposes that this record rate of employees walking away from their jobs is due to burnout. “Recent surveys of workers find that half feel burned out and two-thirds believe their feelings of burnout have worsened” (p. 56). The grass is not always greener, as experienced employees know. As Genovese (2022) shares, according to a recent survey by Joblist “About 26% of people who quit their job during what was dubbed the Great Resignation already regret it” (paragraph 3). These workers likely quit because of unfulfilled needs at work and realized after the fact that the other option—unemployment— may not be any better. For those who did secure another job, 42% said “the new gig didn’t live up to their expectations” (Genovese, 2022, paragraph 3). As a result, the “Great Resignation” appears to be turning into the “Great Regret.” “We should not care about how many days or hours anyone works. Every job and task should have objective metrics, which are output- based, and if an employee can perform those metrics in two days, so be it. . . . We should give people the flexibility to work when they want to, whichever hours they want to, whichever days they want to, and care only about their work.” (Choudhury in Ren, 2022 paragraph 23)

Additional Literature Review 65   Employee Desires Surveys consistently show that “remote workers overwhelmingly want to stay remote” (Colvin, 2022). Some companies, especially tech firms such as Twitter and Facebook, have said if an employee’s work can be done from home, the employee can work from home forever. Close to one-third of U.S. workers, a substantial amount, are projected to continue working remotely even beyond the need to do so due to COVID-19 (Zhang et al., 2021). According to research by Routley (2020), 98% of surveyed employees would like the option to continue working remotely for the rest of their careers. Several surveys show that 91% of remote employees would like to continue their hybrid or remote working, and 76% say their employer will allow them to work remotely going forward (Shreedhar et al., 2022). A number of companies have learned the hard way that today’s employees desire flexibility in their work arrangements. Employee recruiting and hiring have had to change to meet these new desires. Colvin (2022) explains, “If you don’t offer job candidates the freedom they demand, the best ones won’t even consider you” (p. 43). Advantages and Benefits All types of working arrangements have advantages and disadvantages. Oftentimes, two employees in the same organization and in the same position have different views of the work- place, depending on their perspective. As such, when considering the benefits and challenges of remote work, it is important to realize that employee attitudes vary, and it is difficult to apply specific advantages and disadvantages to all employees in all organizations. According to Choudhury (in Ren, 2022): Remote work is often pitched as something employees want and employers don’t. My research has showed that this is a win-win. For employees, it’s great to work from anywhere because you can move to a cheaper location. You can live where you want to. For employers, it’s a win as well because you are not constrained to hiring from the local labor market – where you have an office. The other big benefit is productivity. In the U.S. Patent Office, we documented a 4.4% productivity gain back in 2012, when they allowed patent examiners to work from anywhere. The final win for employers is that work from every- where leads to a fairer workforce, especially on the dimensions of gender and race. There’s at least two decades of research showing women have lost out on career opportunities because of geography. But if the company lets you work from anywhere, you don’t have to relocate (paragraph 7–9). Gajendran and Harrison (2007) and Zakaria et al. (2021) discovered that, in general, remote workers experienced higher levels of job satisfaction and performance. These employees also experienced less stress and had fewer turnover intentions. Zakaria et al. (2021) point out that “remote work allows the employee more flexibility and autonomy in doing their work, meeting their job demands, and personal needs” (p. 93). In a study of remote work-related tweets on the Twitter social media platform, Zhang et al. (2021) discovered that “overall, attitudes conveyed by remote work-related tweets were mildly positive” (p. 802). In this same study, while some tweets viewed working remotely as beneficial, other tweets conveyed higher stress when working from a home office. “Some are loving it, with flexible schedules, no long commute, and more time with family. But others are unhappy with loneliness and the blurred boundary between work and leisure” (Sako, 2021, p. 20). According to Vaillancourt (2021), “During our global work-from-home experiment, many people enjoyed improved focus, less time commuting, reduced office drama, more flexible schedules for work and life responsibilities, and lower out-of-pocket costs for things like Advantages of remote work, according to Gandhi et al. (2021, p. 3312), include: • Employer – Astonishing productivity – Increased employee retention – Decrease in sick days and employee time off – Reduction in cost for employers • Employee – Reduces stress – Prolong the careers of older workers – Sense of freedom – Eliminate travelling expenses • External stakeholders – Reduce traffic on roads – Reduce migration leading to a reduction in overpopulation of metro politan cities – Reduce the emission of greenhouse gases

66 Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies transportation, clothing, coffee, and lunch. For some, though certainly not all, work-from-home options increased morale and productivity” (p. 48). In study exploring perceptions of remote work by HR managers, Perez et al. (2002) discovered that benefits of remote work include labor time flexibility, decreased commuting, and autonomy. Iwashita (2021) proposes that remote work stimulates productivity and well-being. “Companies that previously forbade remote work can no longer deny its benefits” (Limoncelli, 2020, p. 110). Remote work has also benefitted the HR function with reduced costs and greater efficiencies. “We believe that remote work is hastening a shift that reduces hiring, screening and monitor- ing costs for managers and lessens burdens on workers to understand firm-specific context” (Ozimek and Stanton, 2022, paragraph 21). Additional benefits for the employer include “decreased employee turnover, increase in the ability to attract employees, reduced sick time, reduced overhead, and reduced carbon footprint” (Finnegan, 2021, p. 175). Specifically with regard to environmental benefits, with many employees working remotely during the pandemic, the daily commute all but disappeared. Although global CO2 emissions dropped by 17% in April 2020 compared to peak 2019 levels, by March 2020, emissions were almost back at pre-pandemic levels, even though employees weren’t (Shreedhar et al., 2022). As environmental footprints vary across industries and companies, “it may be more appropriate to focus on emissions reductions from cooling versus heating, or both” (Shreedhar et al., 2022, p. 6). In other words, a one-size-fits-all approach to environmental sustainability will not work. Disadvantages and Barriers The literature speaks widely of barriers or challenges experienced by remote workers. This alternative working arrangement affects employees differently, but several barriers are commonly noted in the literature. First, a blurring of the work-life boundary is a common experience for remote workers. This is less pronounced with on-site employees, who can leave work and then return home. Routley (2020) explains that remote employees often experience difficulty in “unplugging” from work. The workday hours blur as the work piles up, and before we know it, “we’re tethered to our desks and working around the clock” (Gaines, 2021, p. 8). As one employee shared with Yarberry and Sims (2021), “My home life and work-life are the same” (p. 247). Employees with home offices may feel as if they can never truly step away from their jobs. When they are home, they are at “work.” Employees with home offices in their bedroom are highly susceptible to feelings of being at work 24/7. Indeed, remote employees are challenged in dividing personal and professional time, thus creating an upset in work-life balance. These “blurred lines between work and home can lead to burnout, stress, and other career inhibitors” (Yarberry and Sims, 2021, p. 246). The U.S. Bureau for Economic Research found that the average workday increased by 48.5 minutes during the COVID-19 lockdown, which equates to two extra workdays per month (Esterhuizen, 2021). Employers can address this “blurred” work-life boundary experienced by remote employees in several ways. Employers can develop work-from-home guidelines, to include placing the home office desk outside the bedroom. Employers can also respect the employee’s time, avoiding phone contact or expecting email responses after normal working hours. It is also beneficial to encourage remote employees to make time for self-care, to include taking breaks throughout the day, making time for hobbies, and avoiding working after normal business hours. Second, remote workers may experience distractions throughout the day. This was certainly more pronounced when schools were closed, and school-age children were at home attempting Disadvantages of remote work, according to Gandhi et al. (2021, p. 3312), include: • Employer – Demotivation among employees – Hard to communicate the work – Low reliability – Difficult to manage and maintain accountability • Employee – Bad exercise regime – Higher bills of electricity, internet, etc. – Lack of proper equipment – Ergonomic issues • External stakeholders – Adverse effects on auxiliaries to trade – Lack of personalization for the customer

Additional Literature Review 67   to learn remotely, all the while seeking the attention of caregivers. Even without children at home, distractions can be more prevalent at home. “There are countless distractions, from kids, to pets, to partners trying to get their own work done” (Gaines, 2021, p. 8). Employers can address these distractions to some degree by clearly setting expectations and developing guidelines for employees to consider in locating their home office. Much of this depends on employees to manage home life and minimize distractions that can reduce productivity. Third, remote workers may experience social isolation while working at home alone, away from colleagues. As explained by Wanberg et al. (2020), as employees begin remote work an abrupt transition is often required, where employees may lose resources at work, such as co-worker interaction and support, but also in their personal life, such as social isolation. Yarberry and Sims (2021) discovered that employees working remotely are less likely to engage with co-workers, leading to feelings of isolation. As Jamsen et al. (2022) discovered, “The absence of social lunch and coffee breaks, as well as spontaneous encounters in the hallways, led to a drop in the amount of relational communication, decreased the amount of humor and support, and raised the threshold to contact others” (p. 4). These feelings of professional isolation also resulted in less organizational learning (Jamsen et al., 2022). As Manko and Rosinski (2021) share, “The most salient feature of remote work is physical isolation” (p. 42). While introverted employees may actually appreciate such isolation and achieve at higher levels, extroverted employees that thrive on social interaction may dread remote work. “There’s something unique that humans get from interacting with one another that doesn’t come across as well through technology” (Semuels, 2020, p. 44). Organizations that intentionally create opportunities for employees to connect, even if remotely or virtually, will generally see fewer instances of employees feeling isolated. Even during COVID-19, some organizations held outdoor gatherings, such as barbecues, which allowed employees to connect face-to-face with their colleagues in an outdoor setting in which social distancing was possible. Fourth, the technology that has enabled remote work can also be burdensome. Employees commonly voice concern with online meetings throughout the day. Experiencing “Zoom fatigue” was very real for many employees. This results in distraction and loss of effectiveness. Holding shorter online sessions, even if they may be more frequent, can be effective. In other words, by allowing plenty of breaks throughout the day, even designating portions of the day as no-Zoom zones, employees won’t burn out as quickly. “Successful online meetings move briskly and stay on purpose” (Manko and Rosinski, 2021, p. 49). Employers can address “Zoom fatigue” in a number of innovative ways. Zoom “watercooler meetings” can use the same technology that causes employee fatigue to create a more supportive environment. It’s not so much the technology, but how the technology is used that matters. As Manko and Rosinski (2021) share, “There appear to be cases in which online interactions can actually work better than face-to-face meetings (p. 43). Having weekly online check-ins or incorporating games or family time during virtual meetings may also prove effective. In addition to these four primary challenges experienced by remote workers, these employees may also face difficulty navigating different time zones, difficulty in collaborating and com- municating, unreliable wi-fi, and lack of motivation. The unique challenges experienced by remote workers are as varied as the types of work arrangements. The key is to listen to employees, regularly seek a sense of each employee’s well-being. What can the organization do to better support the remote employee? Remote work may not “work” for everyone equally. Some employees will thrive, while others will suffer. It is up to the organization to gauge which employees need additional support to ensure success with remote work.

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 Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies
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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, airport operators had to develop strategies that maintained operations while ensuring employee safety and public health. Though not all airport-related tasks can be performed from remote worksites, many airports identified tasks that could be performed remotely.

ACRP Synthesis 126: Impacts of COVID-19 on Airport Work Models and Strategies, from TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program, provides information on those airports that experimented in remote work, provides options for airports that did not participate in remote work, and identifies emerging trends.

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