The Office (Image: NBC)

Here’s a conundrum facing all employers and a significant slab of the workforce: what’s the future of the office in a post-COVID Australia?

Not the TV show, the US iteration of which was the most streamed television series in 2020. Rather, what’s the end point of the COVID pedal-to-the-metal acceleration of work-from-home that’s finally forcing both employers and workers to ask why we ever did this to ourselves? Where “this” is Yeats’ “counter or desk among grey / 18th-century houses” or Dolly Parton’s critique of 9-to-5 workplace alienation, "barely getting by, it's all taking and no giving / they just use your mind, and they never give you credit".

According to the PwC global workplace study conducted earlier this year, fewer than one in 10 people want to go back to the way things were. About 16% want to work all virtual, all the time. Three-quarters want a bit of both.