Remote work once might have been a career killer: A U.K. government study of the years before the pandemic found that people who worked from home were far less likely to be promoted. But Covid has reduced the stigma that comes with working from home, the study found.
A better-than-expected experience, technological innovations and investments, and lingering fears of crowds and contagion will all bolster the new working arrangements, according to the research. A separate study last month showed than more than one in five company executives expected a reduction in office space in the coming year, reflecting a shift toward more virtual and remote operations even after employees have returned to the office.
The paper was co-authored by Jose Maria Barrero of the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University and Steven J. Davis of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Hoover Institution.
“Our data on employer plans and the relative productivity of WFH imply a 5% productivity boost in the post-pandemic economy due to re-optimized working arrangements,” according to the paper. “Only one-fifth of this productivity gain will show up in conventional productivity measures, because they do not capture the time savings from less commuting.”
Other main findings include:
• Higher-income employees especially will enjoy large benefits from greater remote work.
• The shift to work from home will directly reduce spending in major city centers by at least 5%-10% relative to pre-pandemic.
“The shift to WFH will also have highly uneven geographic effects, diminishing the fortunes of cities like San Francisco with high rates of inward commuting,” the study found.
High-quality journalism isn’t free. Please consider subscribing to Crain’s.