Will Remote Working Replace The Office? : Planet Money : The Indicator from Planet Money The rise of remote work and telecommuting during the pandemic raises questions about the future of the office. Today the argument for why offices are here to stay.

Long Live The Office

Long Live The Office

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The pandemic forced many businesses to transition to remote work. As tech companies postpone their reopening plans, the future of the office gets another round of debate. However, the vision of work from home is not as new as many people think. In fact, such a prediction existed back in the 1970s based on the arrival of the personal computer.

That prediction, of course, was dead wrong. Since that time, tech giants built fancy offices in places like Seattle, San Francisco, and New York. People moved to these cities for the well paid jobs and creative work they could find there.

Economist Enrico Moretti wrote about this transformation in the influential book The New Geography of Jobs. He says it resulted in a number of "superstar cities" that drew in more and more office workers. Meanwhile smaller towns and cities were losing people and falling behind economically. Moretti says this trend is here to stay and that economists point to agglomeration as the reason. That's the idea that when scientists, innovators and engineers work together in person they are more creative and productive.

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