Uri Berliner

As Senior Business Editor at NPR, Uri Berliner edits and reports on economics, technology and finance. He provides analysis, context and clarity to breaking news and complex issues.

Berliner helped to build Planet Money, one of the most popular podcasts in the country.

Berliner's work at NPR has been recognized with a Peabody Award, a Loeb Award, Edward R. Murrow Award, a Society of Professional Journalists New America Award, and has been twice honored by the RTDNA. He was the recipient of a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. A New Yorker, he was educated at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University.

Berliner joined NPR after more than a decade as a print newspaper reporter in California where he covered scams, gangs, military issues, and the border. As a newspaper reporter, his feature writing and investigative reporting earned numerous awards. He started his journalism career at the East Hampton (N.Y) Star.

There's a saying going around these days: The future of work is now — put into overdrive by the pandemic that suddenly transformed millions into virtual workers. But the coronavirus has also accelerated a major shift to freelancing that's severing ties between companies and employees.

Two million Americans have started freelancing in the past 12 months, according to a new study from Upwork, a freelance job platform. And that has increased the proportion of the workforce that performs freelance work to 36%.

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There's a saying going around these days - the future of work is now. The pandemic has turned millions of us into virtual workers. And there's another trend that's been less obvious - permanent full-time jobs going freelance. That is severing ties between companies and employees, as NPR's Uri Berliner reports.

URI BERLINER, BYLINE: Diana Gill was having her early morning coffee at her New York apartment when the messages started coming in from the boss's office. Can you get on a call this morning?

It was supposed to be a great year for Golden Daka. He would be the first member of his family to graduate from college. He had a big commencement speech planned for his graduation from Morehouse College, where he was a valedictorian.

"I wanted to give that huge speech onstage with my family, friends and loved ones there, who made it very possible for me to go to Morehouse," says Daka.

But in March, campus emptied and classes went online. And then the moment he'd been waiting for — commencement — was postponed.

Trends often start in New York. The latest: quitting the city and moving to the suburbs.

If not quite an exodus, the pandemic has sent enough New Yorkers to the exits to shake up the area's housing market. Longtime real estate agent Susan Horowitz says she has never seen anything like it. She describes the frantic, hypercompetitive bidding in the suburb of Montclair, N.J., as a "blood sport."

"We are seeing 20 offers on houses. We are seeing things going 30% over the asking price. It's kind of insane," Horowitz says.

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Indefinite. Or even permanent. These are words companies are using about their employees working from home.

It's three months into a huge, unplanned social experiment that suddenly transported the white-collar workplace from cubicles and offices to kitchens and spare bedrooms. And many employers now say the benefits of remote work outweigh the drawbacks.

In normal times, hotels promote their star chefs or their swanky design upgrades. But priorities have changed. In the age of the coronavirus, the news from Hilton is a partnership — with Lysol.

As hotel guests begin to return, the standard expectation of hygiene has been elevated to "where it's cleanliness almost with a double exclamation point after it," says Phil Cordell, Hilton's global head of brand development.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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