With the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, work from home became the norm in 2020. However, even though mobility restrictions have been lifted, many workplaces all over the world continue to follow a model of remote or hybrid working. This has raised questions about worker productivity, work-life balance, and the future of commuting and cities.
In this edition of I4I Conversations, Nirvikar Singh (University of California, Santa Cruz) and Nicholas Bloom (Stanford University) talk about the future of work. They delve into Prof Bloom's seminal work on management practices and work from home prior to the pandemic. They discuss the effects of flexibility on productivity, happiness and building managerial capital. They go on to speak about trends in remote work over the last few years, and how that has differed across countries. This leads to further discussion about the impact on cities and the environment, as more people move to suburbs and commute to work. They also touch upon the differences in preferences around work from home of people in non-professional roles, women with young children, and older workers who are looking to transition out of the workforce.
The conversation centers around how, despite some potential pitfalls, work from home has proven to be beneficial for both employers and employees, and is likely here to stay. With that in mind, the speakers go over the technological and managerial advances that have been made – and can be made going forward – to accommodate remote workers. They finally highlight the implications of this major shift for countries like India and Mexico, which are likely to benefit from outsourcing, and the policy measures and changes in infrastructure that need to be made to accommodate this new future of work.
This is the eleventh edition of I4I Conversations.
Also available as a video.