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How Is Returning to the Office Supposed to Work, Exactly?

As a work-advice columnist, I’ve been able to track the evolution of the pandemic through my email: In the spring of last year, I was flooded with questions about companies that weren’t keeping people safe, the adjustment to working from home, and dealing with furloughs. Then it was co-workers who wouldn’t wear masks or keep their distance, along with frustrations over endless Zoom meetings and how to work with young kids around. And now my inbox is changing again, as offices that went remote last year increasingly start to bring employees back on-site and people begin thinking about how their returns will work.

Here are answers to some of the questions I’ve received recently. (Have your own questions about returning? Send them to

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