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May 23 2020
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“Tell them I’m in a meeting” doesn’t work as well on Zoom.

In fairness, the office affair was already on the way out before coronavirus struck. First it was weakened by all sorts of officious HR meddling and then, once Me Too started ending careers, the risk simply became too high. But now it looks as though social distancing will kill the thing for good.

I say this as someone who has never actually had an office affair, but the logistics just seem impossible at the moment. Already in the clutches of an affair? Tough luck. You can’t sneak off for a dirty weekend at a conference because every conference for the foreseeable future will consist of nothing but mind-numbing eight-hour Zoom webinars. You can’t swap whispered nothings to each other at work because now you will have to shout through a facemask, a PPE visor and a Perspex barrier just to be heard, which is bound to kill the intimacy. And staggered working hours mean that your shifts might not even align anyway. It’s going to be ruinous.

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