Productivity of Working from Home during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from an Employee Survey

Author Name MORIKAWA Masayuki (President, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. July 2020 20-J-034
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This study, using data from an original survey conducted in June 2020, presents evidence on the prevalence, frequency, and productivity of working from home (WFH) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan. The results indicate that the percentage of employees engaged in WFH was about 32%. The share of labor input through WFH accounting for weekly working hours and frequency of WFH was about 19%. Highly educated, high wage, white collar workers in metropolitan areas tend to engage in WFH, suggesting that infection risk and social distancing policies may exacerbate economic inequality among employees. Mean productivity of WFH relative to the regular workplace was about 60–70% and it was lower for employees that started WFH after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Highly educated, high wage employees as well as long commuters tend to exhibit a relatively small reduction in WFH productivity.

The English version of this paper is 20-E-073.

Published: Morikawa, Masayuki, 2022. "Work-from-home productivity during the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from Japan," Economic Inquiry, Volume60, Issue2 (2022), 508-527.