Meanwhile, in 2010

2010 was a long time ago. 14 years! Brexit, Trump, Covid and Starmer were all but twinkles in Beelzebub’s eye. Truly, it was another world.

Here’s a TED talk from that time, urgently outlining why having offices in the Age of the Internet is insane and what benefits might come from working at home instead.

“WFH” is something we all know about in 2024, and yet the concept of bussing off to an office at Horrible O’ Clock every morning still isn’t quite dead.

This 2010 guy explains how people need uninterrupted stretches of quiet time to get things done, to be creative. People cite, he says, places like “the porch, the kitchen, a spare room, the coffee house, the library” when they really need to apply themselves. They never mention the office.

The office is full of counterproductive and disruptive practices like stop-and-chats and background noise and sudden meetings. He explains how the “distractions” feared by managers (such as their people slacking off to watch TV or take a nap) are nowhere near as bad as the distractions inherent to the office.

Here in 2024, progress has been made on that one particular front. It’s good that managers are finally coming around to WFH, freeing millions of people from lives of daily commutes and shithouse offices.

And yet there’s still so much scepticism worthy of 2010, usually in the form of the same old non-arguments. These non-arguments reveal the truth of what so many managers and employers really want: control over other human beings.

WFH isn’t as good as a proper escape. But it’s a great halfway house. While keeping your income from employment, WFH eliminates so many of the things that make work awful: the commute, the office environment, having to be in a particular place at a particular time, the inability to run personal errands or take a few moments to recuperate, and seeing your boss’s stupid scalding face all the time.

Reclaim your own movements and be free. Issue 16 of New Escapologist is on its way. Order your copy today from our online shop.


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

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