Work From Home Less Productive Over Long Term Finds New Study

A new study conducted on Microsoft’s employees shows that working from home is less productive over the long term due to compact networks with few connections among other reasons.

Work From Home Less Productive Over Long Term Finds New Study 1

According to the study (pdf below) conducted on Microsoft employees, information workers who work remotely are less productive in the long run.

While the study’s authors noticed a short-term improvement in productivity after organizations switched from in-office to remote working, work hours increased over time, indicating lower productivity.

According to the study, employee communication grew more stagnant as the formation and deletion of new contacts between employees decreased.

Researchers discovered a “siloed” network, with fewer connections between formal business units and inside informal networks, resulting in small groups with few connections. Compacted networks with few connections have been proven in studies to stifle information transfer and lower output quality.

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Furthermore, employees would rather communicate with people they already knew in the same team than with strangers who serve as a “tie” between teams and departments. Staff spend less time with workers who act as bridges between work units.

Additionally, rather than communicating synchronously through phone calls and video calls, asynchronous communication via texts and messaging has increased.

“In other words,” the authors wrote in the study, “different portions of the network, which became less interconnected, also became more intraconnected.”

“We expect that the effects we observe on workers’ collaboration and communication patterns will impact productivity and, in the long-term, innovation,” they wrote.


Regardless of the fact that the pandemic has mostly ended, the study predicts that work arrangement variations will remain.

According to the report, company and innovation investments made to enable remote working during the epidemic may lead to longer-term remote or hybrid working arrangements in major corporations for some time.

Tesla, on the other hand, has taken the opposite tack, with Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk telling his employees on May 31 to return to the office for at least 40 hours a week or “we will assume you have resigned.”

Before the Pandemic

The pandemic has had an impact on how a company set up their workplaces.

Prior to the pandemic, only around 6% of Americans worked remotely; but, during the pandemic, more than a third of Americans worked from home.

Although the majority of companies are unlikely to maintain their full remote work policies after the pandemic, a Mckinsey survey of 800 CEOs found that workplaces are also unlikely to return to their pre-COVID-19 work arrangements.

They will most likely adopt a hybrid work approach, combining in-office and remote work arrangements.

Investments in Workers

Concerns about how the pandemic affected employee working arrangements were raised in the Microsoft study, with companies like Twitter, Facebook, Square, Box Slack, and Quora going “one step further” by introducing longer-term and even permanent positions that will allow employees to work remotely even after the pandemic.

According to the authors, organizations that make these decisions without evidence of increased productivity “may set suboptimal policies,” with “some firms that choose a permanent remote work policy may put themselves at a disadvantage by making it more difficult for workers to collaborate and exchange information.”

Because of investments in workers and businesses, as well as innovations to support remote work, some varieties of remote jobs are likely to survive the pandemic.

The authors stated, “In light of this fact, the importance of deepening our understanding of remote work and its impacts has never been greater.”

Read the study given below:

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