Productivity Dynamics of Working from Home during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from a panel of firm surveys

Author Name MORIKAWA Masayuki (President, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. February 2022 22-J-005
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This paper presents an overview of the adoption, intensity, and productivity of working-from-home (WFH) during the COVID-19 pandemic using panel data from original firm surveys. According to the results, first, both the ratio of WFH-adopting firms and the intensity of WFH decreased substantially compared to when the first State of Emergency was declared in 2020. Second, although mean WFH productivity improved by a few percentage points, it is still about 20% lower than productivity at the workplaces. The firms' evaluation of WFH productivity is quite similar to the result obtained from a survey of workers. Third, as the COVID-19 pandemic has continued, increasing numbers of firms introduced cost subsidies for WFH employees and reduced office space. Fourth, about half of firms are planning to discontinue the WFH practice and to revert to the conventional workstyle after the end of COVID-19, indicating that there is a large gap between corporate interests and the preferences of WFH workers.

The English version of this paper is 22-E-061.