Remote workers work longer, not more efficiently

A new study on remote working | Business

6/13/2021 8:00:00 AM

A study has found the real source of inefficiency was time spent in meetings. The answer is simple: don't call as many meetings, and keep them short

A new study on remote working | Business

.Early surveys of employees and employers found that remote work did not reduce productivity. But a new study* of more than 10,000 employees at an Asian technology company between April 2019 and August 2020 paints a different picture. The firm uses software installed on employees’ computers that tracked which applications or websites were active, and whether the employee was using the keyboard or a mouse. (Shopping online didn’t count.)

Florida heads to Supreme Court on Covid-19 regulations for cruise ships Dow closes above 35,000 for the first time Man arrested after taking Houston ambulance at gunpoint with paramedic and patient inside, police say

The research certainly concluded that the employees were working hard. Total hours worked were 30% higher than before the pandemic, including an 18% increase in working outside normal hours. But this extra effort did not translate into any rise in output. This may explain the earlier survey evidence; both employers and employees felt they were producing as much as before. But the correct way to measure productivity is output per working hour. With all that extra time on the job, this fell by 20%.

The interesting thing is why this happened. The academics were able to analyse how much time the employees spent in “collaboration hours”, defined as various types of meetings, and how much time they had as “focus hours”, uninterrupted by calls or emails, where they could concentrate on their tasks. Despite working longer hours, the employees had less focus time than before the pandemic. Instead, all their extra time was taken up by meetings. Long-time readers may recall Bartleby’s law: 80% of the time of 80% of the people in meetings is wasted. This study certainly offers evidence for the proposition. headtopics.com

One possibility is that managers are less certain of their team’s commitment and are holding more meetings to check on them. Another is that managers call so many meetings to validate their own existence when they are not in the office. However, the academics suggest the greater need for meetings is the result of the greater difficulty of co-ordinating employees when they are working remotely—another hint that the process is inefficient. When working remotely, employees also spend less time being evaluated, trained and coached.

This seems a raw deal for the employees. They received no more money for the overtime. Although they saved commuting time, this did not offset the extra hours spent in meetings. Not all workers behaved the same way. Those who had worked at the company the longest tended to be more productive, suggesting that they found it easier to navigate the hazards of home-working. Employees with children worked around 20 minutes a day more than those without, implying an even greater fall in their productivity, presumably because they were distracted by child-care duties.

So does this mean companies will abandon remote working altogether, even its hybrid version? The academics point out that the staff at the firm under study are nearly all college-educated and their roles “involve significant cognitive work, developing new software or hardware applications or solutions, collaborating with teams of professionals, working with clients, and engaging in innovation and continuous improvement”. Such work may have posed a particular challenge in remote settings, compared with occupations like responding to customer calls, say, where employees may work to a scripted set of replies.

It is hardly surprising that there would be some teething and co-ordination problems involved with remote working. The practice was, after all, imposed suddenly. The study stopped last August and one wonders whether employees have learned to use their time more efficiently since then. And the research shows that employees were able to achieve as much output with slightly less “focus time” than they had at the office. The real source of inefficiency—surprise, surprise—was the time spent in meetings. And the answer is simple; don’t call as many, and keep them short. headtopics.com

New bill to hold social media companies accountable for health misinformation DHS terminates two border wall contracts in Texas Why hundreds of Frito-Lay workers have been striking

* “Work from home & productivity: evidence from personnel & analytics data on IT professionals”, by Michael Gibbs, Friederike Mengel and Christoph Siemroth Read more: The Economist »

Virgin Galactic's rocket reaches space with Richard Branson on board

The suborbital trip edges out fellow billionaire and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who is planning a similar feat July 20 with his company, Blue Origin.

Tell that to Biden. LOL Pressure from commercial estate landlord lol No surprise there. StopAfghanWar Oh this is stale news. We ALL knew this way back when this whole 'fashion' of calling meetings one after another began. Just that we didn't have the numbers to prove it. From working experience over the past 25+ years, a lot of meetings were not useful and/a wast of time.

Circle Jerks. Mostly men. 50% of people in meetings shouldn't. I've found the biggest outcome of business meetings was the scheduling of future meetings. Corporate propaganda

A Little More Remote Work Could Change Rush Hour a LotThere is something uniquely awful about that time of day when there is no good way to get around. The car horns sound nastier as downtown traffic snarls. The elbows feel sharper on a jammed subway. The sight of red brake lights is soul-crushing when they lead on a highway all the way to the horizon. Mere mention of it makes the body tense up: rush hour. But for much of the pandemic, it vanished. Not only did people travel less over the past year, with schools closed, restaurants off-limits, and That sounds like a good thing. Sure would be nice. I mean I'm glad people can go out, but man. I sure didn't miss the traffic the non essentials create. Especially Fridays with the weekenders getting on the roads during rush hour traffic. And the holidayers on the last work day before a holiday.

Indian medical workers scale mountains to bring vaccines to remote cornersAs India rushes to vaccinate its people against the coronavirus, medical workers often have to trek to perilous heights and across treacherous terrain to reach those in remote areas.

Long-Forgotten G4 Correspondent Still Producing Remote Segment On 2012 E3Among the dozens of video game journalists covering this year’s E3 was a, let’s just say surprising, face: Kevin Pereira, a long-forgotten G4 correspondent, was seen still producing a remote segment on 2012’s convention. AdamSessler help your boy out Attack Attack ESCAPED? I'll be there to pick him up A+

Facebook says remote working move could slow jobs growth in IrelandFacebook (FB.O) still plans to 'aggressively' grow staff numbers in its European headquarters in Ireland but a company-wide policy allowing permanent remote work from other countries could slow that growth over time, its Irish chief said on Friday.

Indian medical workers scale mountains to bring vaccines to remote cornersAs India rushes to vaccinate its people against the coronavirus, medical workers often have to trek to perilous heights and across treacherous terrain to reach those in remote areas.

Facebook says remote working move could slow jobs growth in IrelandFacebook (FB.O) still plans to 'aggressively' grow staff numbers in its European headquarters in Ireland but a company-wide policy allowing permanent remote work from other countries could slow that growth over time, its Irish chief said on Friday.