We are now working almost twice the number of unpaid hours at the office since the beginning of 2020 reports the UK Office of National Statistics.
Despite having gone through the most digitally mediated year of our existence, it appears even with extended working hours, we prefer this new normal. A Microsoft survey revealed that 73% of employees hope remote work options will continue, with some studies even suggesting we would even take a 7.8% pay cut for the privilege.
Though I enjoy my new flexible freedoms, I wonder at what cost they come. Specifically, how does working from home all the time impact our productivity and creativity?
Some evidence supports productivity gains by working from home, but the benefits don’t appear equally distributed. I’ve noticed news coverage tends to cite studies that focus on jobs with routine or repetitive tasks like working in call centres or could be attributed to panic working.
Only recently has research begun to look at jobs that require more complex or collaborative work. A study from Maastricht University and Erasmus University showed that being in-person was superior when performing complex, urgent or problem-solving tasks. Similarly, authors from a Deutsche Bank report noted that employees performing “creative and collaborative tasks without fixed outcomes” tended to struggle in remote teams.