Why working from home will stick

A new research paper from the Ronzetti Initiative for the Study of Labor Markets predicts that working from home (WFH) will stick after the pandemic ends, with 20% of full workdays to be performed remotely long-term versus 5% previously. It also estimates a 5% productivity uplift from WFH:

We survey more than 30,000 Americans over multiple waves to investigate whether WFH will stick, and why. Our data say that 20 percent of full workdays will be supplied from home after the pandemic ends, compared with just 5 percent before.

We develop evidence on five reasons for this large shift: better-than-expected WFH experiences, new investments in physical and human capital that enable WFH, greatly diminished stigma associated with WFH, lingering concerns about crowds and contagion risks, and a pandemic – driven surge in technological innovations that support WFH.

We also use our survey data to project three consequences: First, employees will enjoy large benefits from greater remote work, especially those with higher earnings.

Second, the shift to WFH will directly reduce spending in major city centers by at least 5-10 percent relative to the pre-pandemic situation.

Third, our data on employer plans and the relative productivity of WFH imply a 5 percent productivity boost in the post-pandemic economy due to re-optimized working arrangements. Only one-fifth of this productivity gain will show up in conventional productivity measures, because they do not capture the time savings from less commuting.

WFH has eliminated the need for millions of workers to waste money, fuel and time travelling into central locations to work. In turn, it has eliminated a wasteful part of the production process, as well as providing greater work/life flexibility.

My view is that a hybrid model, whereby employees work part from home and part at the office, is most enticing long-term.

This hybrid model offers the best trade-off in terms flexibility and productivity, and seems to be preferred by most employees according to recent workplace surveys.

Unconventional Economist


  1. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Nah. The only stick I’m hearing about is the rough ended one good managers are rightly using to get staff back into the office where they can be properly monitored! The Sydney CBD is buzzing and renters are reporting that public transport is thankfully jam-packed again. All part of the boom for sure.

  2. Yeah, Most people seem to like to work from home on Mondays and Fridays.
    Nah, it wont last as people arn’t really “working” from home.
    And zoom meetings suck.

  3. I’m working from home this week as Perth crawls out of the lock-down… I gotta say, my house has never been tidier, garden never been neater, plants never been so well watered and the groceries never been so well stocked

  4. Minimalism is coming back.

    Covid is one issue. The other issue is trust is breaking down. Lots of stuff is happening at the moment and if you ask them, ” Where will you be in 5 years? Can you guarantee the job your about to take means you’ll be employed in 5 years? ” and Im fairly certain most people wont have a clue.

    There’s no stability anymore and I think people are getting sick of that. Better to work for yourself and earn small money then to work for someone else and be sacked in 6 months. At least you can grow something and be better in 6 months when you work for yourself, then ending up completely unemployed altogether.

    Like I’ve said previously, there’s no future in most of this stuff. Most of its just ‘Dead end jobs’ that go nowhere. You cant even guarantee you’ll be employed in 6 months.

    Aside from avoiding Covid, people want a sense of ‘Achieving Something’ or ‘Going somewhere’ and there’s hardly much of that left in Australia anymore. No vision. No future. In Government and in Australias Corporatocracy.

      • Yeah. Stay single. Its cheaper. The next 20 years is Australian economic depreciation. We are going broke. Its not just woman but woman are pretty bad. Everyones going to be needing money but the tide will be going out. There just wont be enough money around to satisfy everyone ( including woman ). It stands to reason your going to see an uptick in divorce rates and gold diggers chasing every bloke they can for every cent.

        Men should get mates and look out for each other. Get hobbys and enjoy your life.

        Yeah. I think the next 20 years are going to be brutal.

        Dont get me wrong. I dont ‘hate woman’ as people. Im actually not against the idea of paying a little bit of Tax and having a decent welfare system. I like welfare and think its how Australia should be. This would help everybody ( including woman ). The problem is what I would like to happen and what I think will realistically happen are two different things.

        We can dream that society will be intelligent, ordered and resolve all our problems over the next 20 years. For a country that hasnt given a sh*t about anything for 50 years, done very little to fix itself, tried to palm its problems off onto someone else at the first available opportunity, I just dont see us fixing anything.

        If you think Society is going to be a well ordered and intelligent resolution of our problems, then Im sorry, but I cant stop laughing at you. Nobodys going to give a sh*t and its all going to implode. Money will deteriorate. People will want money everywhere out of necessity and Woman will be Gold Diggers looking to grab anything they can. Typical Mob mentality when a society breaks down.

        Its not like this stuff hasnt been said 1000 times before already. Just people dont give a sh*t. People are making money now so its not really a problem. Its when the money stops that it becomes a problem.

        Im a very patient man. I can see whats coming.

      • Most men I know have no self-esteem or self-worth. When it comes to punching a guy in the mouth and saying, ” Thats not acceptable behaviour “, most Aussie men are cowards.

        People might not like hearing that but its the truthe.

        Most blokes I know wont stick up for themselves. They have no self-worth. They act all tough but they are really just weasels. They cave at the first sign of pressure.

        Most men I know are so weak and without any ‘Lifes Aspirations’ of there own that they let woman tell them what to do. Woman are basically there Gods of Worship because they have no life of there own.

        It sounds harsh but your better to suicide then be a slave. If its the only future you have left as a Man, then go suicide. If you dont want to suicide, then its time you get mad… and start telling people what you WANT. If you cant do either, then your a coward.

          • I think Australias Government has no relevance to any other states except Canberra, NSW and VIC.

            The only role the other States serve in this picture is to pay into the kitty which then gets distributed for maintaining all these lifestyles we are seeing on TV.

            I think if those States removed themselves from the Federation, formed there own Federation and left Canberra, NSW and VIC to squabble amongst themselves then Australia would be a better place.

            I think Canberra needs to be dissolved and the States need to find a new Federation.

            Im pretty sure if QLD and WA came together to discuss the move, then Canberra/NSW/VIC would have absolutely no power. Those states would have no money to fight over and would dissolve overnight.

            The things happening in Canberra are just so out of touch with the rest of Australia that we may as well form a seperate Country.

            Its probably the only way you’ll ever solve half these corruptions going on in Canberra and fire a shot across Canberras ‘Bow’ that things need to change.

            Most QLD blokes I’ve ever known are pretty ‘Earthy’. Maybe they arent as Artificial as blokes from Canberra / NSW and VIC ? More botox then human.

            I think the corruptions in Canberra are now so extensive that its probably time to split the Federation.

            If Australia wants a Government that ‘Serves the People’ instead its own Self-Interest, then I think its time to Split Australia. From what I’ve seen, I dont think this can ever get fixed from the inside. I dont think fixing it is ever going to be an option.

            Canberra / NSW and VIC to become one Country.

            QLD, NT, SA, WA and TAS to decide on becoming the other Country.

            Its pretty clear that the rest of Australia has nothing in common with Canberra, NSW and VIC anymore.

          • Woah Nellie.

            No use generalising about a whole gender. I have multiple friends where it is the husband with the gambling problem, spending too much on ‘toys’ when they have no savings, and generally having to be the voice of reason on expenditure/encouraging saving. In fact likely about 80% it is the wife helping to ensure there is a budget and provisions for the future.

            Velvet paws me thinks in discussing the role of one gender with regard to Australia’s future. I would be more concerned about the effect of growing inequality and the effect that has on society rather than whether you can ‘command’ either gender. Noone wants a ‘puppet’ for a partner regardless of gender/orientation.

      • Over the next 20 years, Governments going to go broke. Its going to start ‘Weaponising Laws’.

        It might jack up GST. It might introduce Levys. It might jack up House Prices. It’ll use the power of LAW to do whatever is within its power, to keep its own self alive at your expense.

        There are two ways to Tax. Property ( Adam Smith ) and Relationships ( Karl Marx ). Yes… Im expecting 20 years of Feminism and to see some extreme ‘Feminist Laws’ being introduced that target men exclusively. They will all be aimed at sucking money out of men ( because the Governments broke ).

        I find it difficult to see how over the next 20 years, Australian Government, will be anything but an ‘Enemy’ of the people of Australia.

        While the Government should be looking out for Australians and our Future, the Australian Government has become nothing more then a Self-Serving Entity trying to keep its own self alive. Over the next 20 years, I believe this will become even more apparent.

        The Government is the ‘Enemy of the People’ and will do very little for you in the next 20 years.

  5. I think Australians are waking up to the Land Lords. They are getting smarter. Just because you have a huge pay packet doesnt mean you arent giving it all up in rent. If its not ending up as ‘Take Home Earnings’ then doesnt matter what your Salary is, its not doing anything for you.

    The thing I’ve found in Australia is the secret isnt to ‘Earn as much money as you can’ because it just gets eaten by fee’s. The secret to living in Australia is getting your Expenses to nothing. The secret is having as much ‘Take home pay’ as you can. Sometimes, the big city wages earn less then the poor guy living in the regions. When your expenses are virtually nothing, your pocketing everything you earn. Cities are expensive. Most people I know earn big money but those pay packets have virtually gone into bills straight away. There ‘Take Home Pay’ is effectively nothing.

    You might earn a $100k salary but if you dont get to keep any of it then whats the point?

    A typical campervan costs $50k. Live in your car. Pay no rent. Tell Landlords to FK off, pocket the money for YOU and be richer for it. Your solving THERE problem. They arent solving yours.

      • Really? Im probably really dumb then. Maybe you could link some?

        I just know that people have a right to ‘Live Life’ and as an Australian Citizen who’s seen some of the most digraceful and disgusting sh*t over the past 20 years, from people who get away with it, I find it hard to be anything but angry at what this Country has done.

        But yeah… that’d be awesome. Why isnt this stuff advertised? Maybe MB should do a column on really cheap houses for under $100k each week because Im certain Fairfax wont be doing it. No commission in the cheap stuff.

        I dont believe people are living in there cars to avoid the regions. I believe they simply dont know about this stuff because Australias Media doesnt want them to know. It doesnt impact me personally. Im not looking to buy but to someone who’s homeless and wants to avoid rent, sounds like something we should be advertising more.

        I’d live in a cardboard box if it meant I didnt have to pay rent. I just HATE rent ( thankfully for me, I dont pay rent ). Im sick and tired of how greedy this Country has become.

        People are suiciding because of this stuff and 40% of Australia thinks thats funny.

  6. WFH is fine. As long as you’re capable of working without constant supervision. Which I am. Really, what’s the difference between sitting at home and staring at my computer for 7 hours vs schlepping my way to the office to do exactly the same thing? Apart from missing out on some middle manager wanting to have a meeting to talk some drivel?

    Obviously it’s not suitable for everyone, but large chunks of the workforce, yeah, it’ll be fine.

    • Sounds exactly like my experience. I do the same computer work at home, and am more efficient as I know I can work quicker to enjoy a bit of sunshine at 12pm and go back later to do some more. Wasting 2hrs a day travelling costs you time and money you can’t even claim for. the power I use is probably 20c extra, so I save $25/d by not travelling.

  7. macrofishMEMBER

    My company is reducing the amount of floor space in our CBD office while we are bringing on more new people then we have in a long time.

    But hey all the people here say that cant be true.

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