Did the new Coronavirus Pandemic really improve 'productivity'?



In response to the epidemic of the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19), 'working from home' was rapidly promoted in each country. Professor

John Quiggin , a prominent Australian economist , explains the impact of working from home on productivity.

Have we just stumbled on the biggest productivity increase of the century?
https://theconversation.com/have-we-just-stumbled-on-the-biggest-productivity-increase-of-the-century-145104

According to the results of the 'Social Life Basic Survey' conducted by the Statistics Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan every five years in 2016, the average commuting time is 1 hour 19 minutes (39.5 minutes one way). Even overseas, the average commuting time is about one hour , which does not mean that 'Japan has a particularly long commuting time.' According to the discovery of physicist Cesare Marchetti , human commuting time has hardly changed from one hour since the Neolithic era.



However, due to the 'COVID-19 Pandemic' that occurred in 2020, governments recommended working from home, and some desk work became 'zero commuting time.' If the commuting time becomes zero, the one hour that was previously spent on commuting will be floating. However, a

joint study by Harvard University and New York University has revealed that 'full commuting time' is nothing more than a desk theory.

A joint survey conducted by Harvard University and New York University in July 2020 analyzed the digital communication of about 3.14 million workers, and based on the emails sent and received by each worker, the time and working hours of the meetings attended, etc. To estimate. As a result of this survey, it was found that the meeting time was reduced by 11.5% compared to before the pandemic. It turns out that people are 'leaving the meeting'. On the other hand, however, average working hours increased by 48.5 minutes per day.

Even if you take into account the decrease in commuting time due to working from home, the free time is calculated to increase by only 11.5 minutes. However, Professor Kuigin pointed out that 'many people do household chores while working from home.' He explains that the actual increase in free time is greater than the visible increase in free time.

In addition to the benefits of free time to work from home, Professor Kuigin argues that commuting costs and time spent commuting and preparing for work can be reduced. Combining these benefits, he says, 'it's clear that working from home generally brings pure benefits.'



On the other hand, Professor Kuigin also mentions the disadvantages of working from home. One of the disadvantages that Professor Quigin mentioned is lack of social contact. For those who find communication at work a good stimulus, working from home can be stressful. Also, people who prefer to chat with colleagues to come up with ideas will run out of chat due to the shift to email and chat.

What's wrong with people who get sick due to 'long-term work from home'? --GIGAZINE



In addition, working from home has disadvantages for middle management. Prior to the pandemic, managers were able to actually see and supervise workers. However, if you move to work from home, you can only estimate the work situation from the operation on the computer. Regarding this situation, Professor Kuigin points out that 'even if you try to estimate the work situation from the operation on the computer, you may be fooled.'

Professor Kuigin also mentions the inequality caused by working from home. The COVID-19 pandemic called for the need to work from home, but a University of Chicago survey found that only 34% of jobs could work from home . Blue-collar jobs and the like cannot be worked from home, and even if working from home increases the productivity of some jobs, the impact cannot be shared across the community.

Pointed out that working from home promotes 'wealth inequality' --GIGAZINE



Regarding this situation, Professor Kuigin argued that 'government intervention is needed.' He pointed out that lowering the unemployment allowance as the number of unemployed people increases due to pandemics would lead to a sharp increase in problems due to suicide rates and other social distresses. He argued that employment itself should be increased.

in Note, Posted by log1k_iy