The Workers Stopped Coming In

The solution should be to turn these offices — now largely empty after the pandemic — into homes. Two problems solved, right?

A quibble about the podcast discussed in the previous post (and of other media) is a moment when the host said that:

during the pandemic, the workers stopped coming in

That’s true, but the phrasing makes it sound as if the workers just decided not to come to work anymore. As if they stubbornly said, en-masse somehow, “we’re not going there anymore.”

It’s a framing I’ve seen elsewhere in the media too, usually in business-oriented press. “How do we get people to come back to work?” they ask.

Workers didn’t “stop coming in.” They were instructed by the government not to come in. To prevent loss of life.

If workers had the ability to decide — individually or collectively — to “stop coming in” and to work from home where it’s safer and easier and cheaper and better, they would have started doing so in about 1997.


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

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