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

Author Name MORIKAWA Masayuki (President, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. September 2020 20-E-073
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Using data from an original survey conducted in June 2020, this study examines the prevalence, frequency, and productivity of working from home (WFH) practices during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan. The results reveal that the percentage of employees who practiced WFH was approximately 32%. Labor input attributed to WFH arrangements accounted for approximately 19% of total working hours. Highly educated, high-wage, white-collar employees who work in large firms in metropolitan areas tended to practice WFH. The mean WFH productivity relative to working at the usual workplace was about 60% to 70%, and it was lower for employees who started WFH practices only after the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, highly educated, and high-wage employees, as well as long-distance commuters, tended to exhibit a relatively small reduction in WFH productivity.

This is the English version of the Japanese Discussion Paper (20-J-034) with some additional information and changes.