By Claire Cain Miller, a correspondent for The New York Times, where she writes about gender, families and the future of work for The Upshot, a site for analysis of policy and economics.

When Yahoo banned working from home in 2013, the reason was one often cited in corporate America: Being in the office is essential for spontaneous collaboration and innovation.

“It is critical that we are all present in our offices,” wrote Jacqueline Reses, then a Yahoo executive, in a staff memo. “Some of the best decisions and insights come . . .

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