The Productivity Implications of Working from Home Across 150,000 Employees

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2021-06-10 19:00:12

Are we more productive at the office or at home? Researchers from the University of Chicago published data on the productivity trends across 150,000 employees of a large IT services company to answer that question. It’s the first time I’ve seen analysis on the same business through the period. The business had deployed software to monitor employee behavior before COVID and used it throughout.

Quoting from the paper: WFH reduced total commuting time among US workers by more than 60 million hours. So, did we accomplish more by commuting to our kitchen counter instead of the office park?

Workers accomplished the same amount but spent 2 hours more per day (7h vs 5h) at the office. So despite a reduction in commute hours, this company’s productivity declined (defining productivity as output per hour.)

Let’s get more granular. When working from home, employees spend 5h per week more working, more after hours, with fewer focus hours, more meetings with managers, and more time on email. But that’s not the final word.

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