Remember when we used to go into an actual office for work?
Seems like a lifetime ago, but then again, the past 12 or so months have dragged on more than the new Netflix series, Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel.
Sorry, I had to get that dig in. It’s a classic example of a four-part series that could have been a two-part series, or a meeting that could have been an email.
But, we digress, so let’s circle back to the results of a recent study by Nicholas Bloom, an economist at Stanford University.
Bloom began researching working from home long before the pandemic arrived, and his latest study, based on months of surveys of more than 20 000 Americans up until December, reveals some interesting results.
The Financial Times unpacks some of those:
Workers and companies alike have found it is better than expected. Both have sunk money into the equipment needed for it ($600 for the average worker).
The “shirking from home” stigma has faded. No one wants to go back to grim five-day office commutes.
All up, workers think being able to work from home two or three days a week is as valuable as a pay rise of about 8 per cent.
I guess that’s the price you put on an extra hour in bed, having your pet within reach, and generally being able to work whilst in a state of dishevelment all day.
Bloom’s research does pinpoint one scenario that can prove tricky, though:
One thing is already clear, he says. “Mixed mode is a complete horror.”
By this he means a mixed team of, say, five people at home and four in the office, all struggling to hear each other on badly-connected Zoom calls. Even when the tech works, people at home know they will miss out on crucial post-meeting huddles that only those in the office can have.
“It’s a disaster’,” says Bloom. “So firms are really trying to organise it so that you’re either all at home, or all in at work.”
Another worry is that those who work from the office are usually more likely to be promoted, whilst those that work from home, such as working mothers, could be passed over for such roles.
You can read the full FT report here.
A very popular Twitter thread by Chris Herd, the founder and CEO of Firstbase HQ, which helps companies set up their employees to work from home, has also done the rounds this week.
Herd clearly has skin in the game, but he makes some interesting points:
I’ve spoken to 2,000+ companies over the last 12 months about their plans for remote work going forward
Here are a few things I’ve learned
[ a thread ] 💻🏠🌍
— Chris Herd (@chris_herd) February 9, 2021
As long as I get that extra hour in bed, long may remote working continue.
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