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5 trends to shake the world in 2022: Predictions for the year ahead

Even before the momentous events of 2020 and 2021 shook up the planet, the tectonic plates of culture, society and technology were already shifting and reshaping the world. The pandemic took those changes and accelerated them, exacerbated them, and in some cases, threw them into chaos.

As we speed into 2022, one question remains: where are we headed next? Get the Roadshow newsletter

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In tech, health, money, transportation, home and family life, we can be confident of one fact: things are changing, fast. As in years past, CNET has its finger on the pulse of the ever evolving world and we’re confident our CNET: The Year Ahead stories will help you navigate these choppy waters.

During this three-week series — which will include CES — we’ll especially tackle five themes that will shape 2022: 1. The pandemic and the future of health

COVID-19 largely caught the world by surprise. When the World Health Organization declared the pandemic on March 11, 2020 , few of us suspected that it would lead to two years of shutdowns, social distancing and disruptions. Things appeared to be normalizing in mid-2021, but then the Delta variant — and later the Omicron variant — touched off renewed shutdowns.

Will 2022 be the year that COVID-19 transitions from a pandemic to an endemic? That’s what we’re all hoping, of course, but there’s no going back to 2019. For example, expect more of the world to follow Asia’s lead, where people have been wearing masks in public for years if they were sick (out of courtesy to the people around them) or immunocompromised.

And, healthcare will never be the same post-pandemic. Expect telehealth to become commonplace now that a lot more people have been exposed to using video calls for health visits. And the COVID-19 vaccine will forever change the way vaccines (and potentially other therapies) are created. It’s not unusual for vaccines to take a decade to develop, but these were created in 10 months using genetics and mRNA technology . This could prove to be one of the most important medical breakthroughs of the century. 2. Hybrid work and the ‘Great Resignation’

Work and school were perhaps the most disrupted aspects of life during the pandemic. While schools largely returned in-person, work has been a far slower process. Many employees have decided that they prefer the work/life balance of remote work and many have migrated to be closer to family or moved farther away from city centers to have more space and fresh air.

Meanwhile, many employers have become infatuated with the productivity gains of remote work and the ability to scale down their commercial real estate holdings for significant cost savings.

The most surprising trend that’s likely to continue to gain steam in 2022 is the Great Resignation. More people are quitting their jobs and reprioritizing their lives than ever — CNET’s Farnoosh Torabi even has advice . In December, the US Labor Department reported that […]

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