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Opinion
Tyler Cowen

Big Tech Won’t Be the Same If Everyone Works From Home

Virtual tools can’t replicate the intellectual frisson of gathering smart people together. As a result, innovation and productivity may suffer.

The Bay Bridge after midnight.

The Bay Bridge after midnight.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Bloomberg Opinion will be running a series of features by our columnists that consider the long-term consequences of the crisis. This column is part of a package on the future of tech and innovation. For more, see Sarah Green Carmichael on beating remote-work burnout and Tae Kim on the rise of artificial intelligence

There’s no question that we are being saved by technology during the pandemic, as we use Zoom for our education and entertainment and rely on Amazon for just about everything else. Still, we may need to worry whether Big Tech itself will retain its strength in innovation after the crisis, given that companies won’t have as many employees working side by side in the office anymore. About 60% of Americans who have been working from home say they would like to continue doing so once the pandemic is over. Many employers are also happy to permit it.