Another day not at the office: will working from home be 2020’s most radical change?

During lockdown millions started WFH – and most of us don’t want to go back. In just a few months the landscape of work, family and city life has altered dramatically – but are all the changes positive?

There’s a man sitting at the first-floor window of the house that lies on the other side of my back fence. It’s early August, the weather is sweltering, and his window is wide open. He’s talking on a hands-free phone, laughing in that ingratiating manner that suggests a large payday is at stake. He speaks in a fashionable sales patter that sounds similar to real conversation, but crucially isn’t, and he’s practically broadcasting his pitch to the neighbourhood. WTF? I want to shout, but I already know the answer: WFH.

With the exception of Covid-19 itself, working from home has been the big story of 2020. I’ve been home-based for more than 20 years and for most of that time, before my neighbour began advertising his WFH status, I was a local exception, left to my own devices in tranquil isolation. No one was much interested in the emotional dynamics of my daily work regime. But since the lockdown emptied the nation’s offices, it’s become a national topic of conversation.

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