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Will the Coronavirus Pandemic Be the End of Office Life as We Know It?


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Photograph by Dan Kitwood / Getty

For most of the twentieth century, the office was one of the centers of American life, and the joys and annoyances of life there have inspired works of art, from Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener” to NBC’s “The Office.” But, last spring, in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, several businesses closed their offices and asked employees to work from home. Nearly a year later, many companies’ spaces remain closed to their staffs; it is unclear when they’ll be able to reopen, and how many workers can expect to return when they do. John Seabrook joins Dorothy Wickenden to discuss the past and future of office life—and the personal, economic, and demographic ramifications of remote work.

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