''Je crois que le modèle que nous imaginions, où les gens travaillaient de chez eux, s'est concrétisé.''
For example, in the sentence above, 'où' does not mean 'when' or 'where'; rather, it is used to describe the 'modèle', which is not a time or place. Why is the use of 'où' still correct?
You're right, où it is used as a relative pronoun in this case, meaning "where". Its meaning can be "when" or "where", when it functions as a relative pronoun. Here are some examples with où used as a relative pronoun and meaning either "when" or "where":
La ville où j'ai grandi, n'existe plus. -- The town where I grew up doesn't exist anymore.C'était l'été où tout a changé. -- It was the summer when everything changed. (Note that you cannot say ...quand tout a changé).
As an interrogative pronoun, où means "where" and quand means "when". But since quand can't be used as a relative pronoun, où takes on that function and therefore can mean "where" and "when" when used in this way.
Normally we understand où to act as an adverb, however in this case où is acting as a pronoun.
As a pronoun, it is representing "the model" that is, working from home. So we have "people working from home" has become normalised as a regular option when this was never thought of as being possible once the pandemic had passed.
https://www.wordreference.com/fren/o%C3%B9 for further information.
Hope this helps.
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