Some people think that when employees work from home, they aren’t as dedicated and might take advantage of not being watched by the boss. According to a new report from the National Bureau of Economic Statistics, that’s not true. The report says that employees are working about 48 minutes more than they did when they worked in the office before Covid-19. That doesn’t necessarily mean that workers aren’t sneaking in a Netflix show during the day, but it means that workers may voluntarily extend their days beyond the traditional 9-5.
Jeffrey Polzer, a Harvard Business School professor and one of the paper’s co-authors, examined anonymous email and calendar data of more than three million users from an unnamed tech provider, also found significant increases in internal emails.
Looking at your calendar, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that the number of meetings increased by about 13%, although they are about 20 minutes shorter per day.
As the researchers analyzed VPN data, they found that workers are putting in three additional hours per week. Polzer notes we are also pushing our work into non-traditional hours. Polzer told Bloomberg, “As we try to manage our work from (our) home environment, it’s tough to turn off work. That’s always been true since our phones have followed us home, but that phenomenon has grown.”
The study compared data for the two eight-week periods before and after Covid-19 lockdowns. It is unclear whether these changes will be permanent.
My view is that leaders today need to guard against employee burnout even while they work from home. Another thing that I’ve also heard is that people miss their colleagues and the camaraderie of their colleagues.