A new study from Leesman, a workplace productivity consultancy firm, casts doubt on the U.S. economy’s ability to effectively work from home. After surveying more than 94,000 U.S. based workers, the study found that only 45 percent had any experience with telework.
The finding suggests that the strategy of introducing telework as a way to increase social distancing — necessary to fight the COVID-19 pandemic — may come at a material cost to American business in terms of reduced productivity and innovation.
“The main risks with home-working include a notable reduction in sense of community (-11.8%), social interaction (-10.3%), knowledge transfer (-10.0%), learning from others (-13.0%) and informal collaboration (-5.4%).”
The study also pointed out that many workers lack appropriate home setups to accomplish effective telework.
“Of the employees who do work from home occasionally, 83% typically do so for just one day a week or less, and just 1% work from home for more than four days per week. What’s more, only 49% of sporadic home workers have a dedicated room to work from, and 27% don’t even have a designated workstation or desk.”
Tim Oldman, Leesman CEO, said: “Home-working will undoubtedly prove pivotal in limiting the impact of the coronavirus crisis. But the data suggests that many employers and employees will be out of their depth should businesses be forced into lockdown.”
You can read a summary of the study’s results here: