Will Covid Kill Off the Office?

To almost everyone’s surprise, working from home actually works.

In the 1970s, Nasa engineer Jack Nilles envisaged ‘teleworking’ from local work centres. In 1984, the Times reported that tele-commuting was the ‘magical buzzword’ on the US microcomputing scene. In the 1990s, the UK had 200 ‘telecottages’: rural workspaces with computers, communications and social support. Despite all the fanfare and substantially better technologies, little has changed in recent decades.

Then, suddenly, a plague descended. Overnight there was a mass exodus from skyscrapers. City streets emptied. The cafés and sandwich shops closed. Millions began working from home (now known simply as ‘WFH’). Half of employed adults are now working from home. And to almost everyone’s surprise, it works.

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