Roy Gilbert

What if You Don’t Want to Go Back to the Office?

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Sam Rolens

For Jeff Anderson, 61, working from home during the coronavirus pandemic has been a respite from office politics and the chatter around the copy machine.

But as the push to reopen the country’s economy intensifies, so do feelings of dread at the idea of returning to the office, said Mr. Anderson, a self-described introvert and anthropology professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y.

“Just walking from the parking lot to my office I feel like I could be sick,” he said. “It’s that bad.”

In wanting to work alone, Mr. Anderson is not alone. People other than introverts view a return to the office with sadness and anxiety, and not just because they still risk getting infected . A Gallup poll found a majority of American adults working from home would prefer to continue doing so “ as much as possible ” after the pandemic.

These fans of online work worry that they — and the country itself — will lose important benefits discovered during this unprecedented experiment in mass remote work. People who have never liked schmoozing with colleagues have found new heights of productivity away from meetings and office chitchat. People worried about climate change are eager to reduce their carbon footprints by avoiding commutes by car. And while many parents are desperate for schools and day care centers to reopen, some working parents are appreciating more time with their children.

Before the pandemic, Christine Reilley had to wake up at 4:30 in the morning to catch an […]

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