Around the world, including in Aotearoa, leaders have encouraged a return to the office as the pandemic continues. It's bad for business, they say, when so many of us shirk CBDs.
Instead, we spend our days half-dressed, eating lunches at home and holding meetings over Zoom.
One recent plea for a return to cubicle life comes from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said working from home does not work.
Johnson himself claims he's too distracted by coffee and cheese to get much done at home.
"There will be lots of people who disagree with me, but I believe people are more productive, more energetic, more full of ideas when they are surrounded by other people," he says.
Tell that to anyone wearing headphones to dull the distractions of a noisy office.
Johnson is right about one thing: plenty of people disagree with him that working from home (WFH) doesn't work.
Data from New Zealand and globally demonstrates benefits from and acceptance of remote working: Stats NZ said in September 2020 that more than 40 per cent of employed Kiwis did at least some of their work from home during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
A PwC US Remote Work Survey in January 2021 found 83 per cent of employers said the shift to remote work had been successful for their company, compared to 73 per cent in the 2020 survey.
Of course, working from home during lockdown is very different from working from home when the kids are in school and it's just you and the dog.
An Otago University survey of 2000 people published last year found 63 per cent of respondents found it easy or extremely easy to work effectively at home, though 30 per cent found it somewhat or extremely difficult.
Many participants discussed ways to support WFH, including enabling flexible hours and encouraging employees to switch off.
One problem with remote work is it's tough to lead a remote team. A study by faculty members at my workplace, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, found remote work has dramatic impacts on company culture.
Senior lecturer Anne Bradley wrote in New Zealand Management magazine last year, "Relationships are the heart of workplace culture, and maintaining them digitally is extremely challenging."
She spoke with consultants such as Fiona Mackenzie, of Culture Co in the Bay of Plenty, who says many organisations she works with across New Zealand are experiencing unintended negative consequences of remote working.
MacKenzie says, "Human problems require a human response: it's difficult to be an effective leader when the people you're leading aren't there."
A 2020 article in the New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations by researchers at Auckland University of Technology drew on existing literature finding WFH can be beneficial for job satisfaction, performance, retention and managing work-family commitments.
Also, in times of disruption, it can positively affect business continuity.
To be successful, we must pay attention to technological needs, working environments, communication and management styles.
Some people have slow wifi and computer set-ups that place them two clicks away from a carpal tunnel injury.
Others prefer the stimulation of an office environment, with its impromptu problem-solving sessions and conversations about hobbies and family during morning tea.
For deep work, the kind author Cal Newport says will make us super-producers and masters of our destiny, I prefer working from home.
Deep work happens when we enter a state of flow. It means blocking distractions such as social media and in-person chat.
This is where I can focus on thinking and writing without wondering when my lovely co-worker will finish her loud video call or calculating when I should leave the office to beat the traffic.
Overall, research about WFH benefits is mixed.
Saving money on petrol and saving time commuting are huge gains for many of us, but not seeing colleagues IRL (in real life) affects our ability to collaborate and connect.
If you're an extrovert like me, you miss seeing workmates and the kind of relationships that unfold in person.
I keep returning to the fact that with WFH, work is always here. Nights that I don't visit my laptop after dinner are rare (I'm talking to you, Ms 'writing this at 8pm').
Free time happens on weekends between housework and catching up on work-work. The computer beckons.
The toll this will have on my mental health and anyone else who struggles to separate work from life is yet to be seen.
One thing I don't have to worry about is sneaking to the refrigerator for cheese: the price of cheddar in New Zealand is extortionate.
Besides, chocolate is my vice. I just stepped into the kitchen to hack at a chocolate Peanut Slab. Somehow, I made it back to my keyboard to finish this column.
It was never about the cheese, Boris (or the chocolate).
For those of us lucky enough to have a hybrid home/office work life, the future is about choice.
It's not a question of if we should continue to work from home, but how we can do it in a way that supports not only profits but people and the planet too.