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The office as we know it is over—and that’s a good thing

A year after the novel coronavirus began spreading in America, we’re finally beginning to understand how radically the world of business has been transformed. For decades we’ve had the tools, case studies, and best practices to evolve beyond an outdated cubicle culture. What we lacked was the willpower to leave the office behind.

But the pandemic accelerated a transition that was years in the making. As lockdowns went into effect, the proportion of remote workers skyrocketed from 3.4% last February to about 42% in April. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many Americans realized they preferred Zoom meetings to the tyranny of a desk. According to a recent study by FlexJobs, 65% of newly remote workers don’t want to go back to the office.

Amid the devastation of COVID-19, it’s worth pausing to reflect on what this future portends. Reduced commute times. Asynchronous communication. Less carbon in the atmosphere and more livable cities. A world in which employees are more productive, organizations are more resilient, and workplaces are more equitable.

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