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We are now deep enough into the work-from-home experiment that, beyond speculation, we have data about what happens when we work remotely en masse — what we gain and what we lose when we are out of the office.

We’re working more from home

Quite a lot more. The average workday is 49 minutes longer, a study led by Harvard’s Evan DeFilippis showed, based around aggregating when people sent their first and last email of the day. The more qualitative survey, led by Harvard’s Ethan Bernstein, found that in the weeks immediately after lockdown, about half of those surveyed were working more than 10 hours a day, compared to just 20% before lockdown. That figure has dropped, but those surveyed still reported a workday 10% to 20% longer

Who is best suited to work from home

There was a surprising finding when it came to what type of person was best suited to working from home. The expectation of the survey authors was that introverts would find it easiest. But actually, it turned the best indicator was empathy and agreeableness — thinking about the feelings of others was the best predictor of who would fare best working from home. Even when not in physical contact with other people, thinking about them is a key skill. On the flip side, those with a tendency to be neurotic found working from home most difficult, without the regular reassurance that comes from being around colleagues. 

Boston Real Estate and the Bottom Line

Boston Companies are currently weighing up whether to bring everyone back to the office, keep everyone at home, or, more likely, create a hybrid of the two. The latter option needs to be handled with care, however, particularly with regards to avoiding the creation of a system where those who work from home are out of sight so out of mind, reducing them to second-class status. Given the needs of social distancing — masks, people needing to spread out reduced common areas — there is a chance company could lose some of the benefits when bringing people back to the office anyway, at least in the near term.

Source: Harvard Business School

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