In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been no shortage of articles, podcasts, and reports on the future of work and the workplace. The acceleration of remote and hybrid working over the last three years has called into question the conventions of where, when, and how we work, and in particular, the extent to which the office building—an invention of the last century—remains essential and relevant today. Jeremy Myerson and Philip Ross’s new book, Unworking: The Reinvention of the Modern Office, emerges from within this conversation, responding to an urgency to rethink the office in the wake of a number of dramatic societal events and crises. According to the authors, the digital revolution, 2008 financial crisis, climate crisis, and the recent pandemic have reframed the way we work, demanding a reconceptualization of the workplace. ‘Unworking,’ they argue, is a term that captures the process by which we ‘unravel how we work…unbundle the assumptions that are baked into the modern office, and…unlearn the habits, management styles and workplace cultures that have traditionally defined our behaviour at work.’ (p. 203). As such, the term connotes a reimagining of the role of design, management theory, and technology in the contemporary workplace.
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