The Birth and Death of the Office

Is the office the height of bureaucractic efficiency, or an unnecessary evil?

The Tetley Brewers’ headquarters,  Leeds, 1968 © Worldwide Photography/Heritage Images/TopFoto.
The Tetley Brewers’ headquarters,  Leeds, 1968 © Worldwide Photography/Heritage Images/TopFoto.

When lockdowns first started in 2020, many white-collar workers came home to find that their jobs were already there waiting for them. Technology had long attained sufficient immediacy and sophistication for most clerical, managerial and administrative tasks to be undertaken well beyond the bounds of their traditional haunt, the office. Two years on, as quarantine regulations have started to taper off and workplaces have reopened, the necessity of the office has been called into question. If white-collar work can take place anywhere, then what are offices for?  

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