Staff of the Bank of England reviewed academic research on this issue and shared some surprising findings.
Bank of England staff stated in a blog post that working from home can improve the productivity of many workers, as long as they go to the office for a few days a week.
Research results show that long-term isolation from colleagues will reduce employee productivity and erode relationships established through face-to-face contact. They found that more complex and less interdependent work benefited from the calmness of working alone.
As the government relaxes regulations designed to contain the coronavirus, this work has sparked a debate about how much home work companies should allow. According to a survey conducted by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, for almost half of the British capital companies, changing their offices to work five days a week is no longer considered.
“Only when employees are at home instead of in the office can improve work efficiency, or if the company uses WFH to reduce office space without compromising its own productivity, and then the’freed up’ space is used by others, WFH can increase overall productivity Alternative production purposes,” the Bank of England researchers wrote.
Researchers from the Bank of England said that a study they reviewed found that one or two days of rest at home a week is ideal. Other studies are less specific, but indicate that longer durations are bad for productivity.
Staff at the Bank of England including John Lewis, Andrea Šiško and Misa Tanaka reviewed the academic literature on the subject. They found that the impact of working at home on productivity depends largely on the environment at home and the type of tasks that workers are required to complete.
They also found:
- Most studies focus on the short-term effects of working from home, and few analyze the broader effects on “innovation, employee retention, new colleague integration, and team cohesion”
- The decision of individual companies to reduce office space may not increase the productivity of the entire economy
- If children are present or people live in smaller spaces where more than one adult works in the same place, productivity at home will be affected
- An open office with background noise will affect work efficiency