With working at home becoming more and more popular as a result of Covid-19, we’re now wondering whether WFH will become the New Normal – and whether the question “Good day at the office, dear?” will now be consigned to the footnotes of history.
Contrary to what you might think, WFH is, in fact, the Old Normal. Until very recently – as late as the late-eighteenth century, in fact – most people worked from home. There was no such thing as going out to the office, factory or other external site. Any kind of industry – piecework, manual or professional – was carried out at home, blurring the boundaries between personal and business life.
Take merchant banker Gianfrancesco Amidani who lived in sixteenth-century Lombardy and set up his ‘bank’ in a room in his house. Just 12ft by 9ft, Amidani shared the room with his cashier Cornelio,
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So far, we Brits have been in lockdown limbo for over two months and it seems like an eternity. But just imagine self-isolating for three years!
It’s a sober thought.
Unless, of course, your brain is permanently addled by cocktails of psychedelic drugs, liquor and overeating. In which case, sobriety is literally the last thing on your mind. Between 1971 and 1974, Brian Wilson – maverick musician and co-founder of The Beach Boys – retreated to his bedroom, rarely appearing in public. Occasionally, he would be spotted at a nightclub in his dressing-gown and slippers.
As the swinging sixties came to an end, Wilson – misdiagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and full of self-doubt – was paralysed by fear. He had spent much of the decade experimenting with copious amounts of pot, heroin, cocaine and other hallucinogens to help deal with his mental illness.
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