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Working Remotely? Selection, Treatment, and the Market for Remote Work
How does remote work affect productivity and how productive are workers who choose remote jobs? We estimate both effects in a U.S. Fortune 500 firm’s call centers that employed both remote and on-site workers in the same jobs. Prior to COVID-19, remote workers answered 12 percent fewer calls per hour than on-site workers. When the call centers closed due to COVID-19, the productivity of formerly on-site workers declined by 4 percent relative to already-remote workers, indicating that a third of the initial gap was due to a negative treatment effect of remote work. Yet an 8 percent ...
Is Work-from-Home Working?
Though some offices have re-opened as the pandemic has receded, many workers have continued to work from home. Recent survey data suggest that workers would like more remote-work days than firms want to supply—a pattern that was evident even before the pandemic. Why have firms been so reluctant to offer remote work? And what will the recent seismic shift in remote work mean for the economy?