The coronavirus epidemic means millions of people suddenly find themselves out of the office and working at home. Some people may prefer this situation, and
this study from Microsoft studied the impact of 350 employees working from home. The results, published in the Harvard Business Review, are eye opening. By looking at the e-mail, calendar and instant messaging metadata with ID removed, and comparing it with the metadata before the pandemic, the study found that, on average, people “turned on” four hours more per week. It is believed that the reason behind these extra working hours is that people use their personal time to take care of their children, walk their dogs and breathe fresh air. In order to make up for these breaks, employees start working earlier and leave work later. Another interesting finding relates to meetings. People spend 10% more time in meetings, but less in length. The number of meetings within 30 minutes increased by 22%, and the number of meetings over one hour decreased by 11%. According to the employees, “we shorten the meeting time in an organized way, not authorized by any management.”
working from home means more and more communication between managers and employees. They sent 115% more instant messages, compared with 50% more personal emails. In addition, afternoon meetings have replaced morning meetings, with lunch time instant messaging down 10%, compared with 25% before the outbreak. As people work hard, a new “night shift” model has emerged, with a 52% increase in the number of afternoon instant messages sent between 6pm and midnight. The study also showed that people who used to work the least amount of time on weekends worked three times as much as usual.
other studies have also shown that working from home leads to an increase in the average length of working days. Microsoft said it hopes to solve the problem by “standardizing managers one-on-one, helping employees get clarity and contact, increasing group meetings to eliminate the isolation of remote work, reducing late night instant messaging to address job burnout, and eliminating loneliness among many people. While many companies are bringing employees back to their offices now, several tech giants have told employees to work at home until at least next year.