Working from home has offered people a glimpse of how things could be different | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett

For some, exile from the office has been painful. Others want the flexibility it brings to continue, pandemic or no

I had begun to forget the sensation of hope. This is the year that I scaled hopefulness back: it became bread in the oven or bulbs in the ground – small packages of potential, just significant enough to give the soul a little lift. Then, the news of not one, but two pioneering vaccines, and hope rustled its feathers again. After months of making future promises for “when this is all over”, it seems that it could, one day, be over.

There’s relief, of course. But there are also mixed feelings at the thought of a return to “business as usual”. At the onset of the first lockdown there was much talk about how we could build a better, more compassionate world. We stood outside our houses and marvelled at the birdsong and the empty streets. The spring took on a hallucinatory sheen. But when lockdown ended, the air and road traffic returned, and the birds retreated.

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