- Since lockdown orders sent employees home in March, the number of meetings per person has increased 13% compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to data from the National Bureau of Economic Research. The research used de-identified aggregated meeting and email meta-data from more than 3.1 million users in 16 global metropolitan cities.
- The number of meeting attendees have also increased by 13.5% compared to pre-pandemic levels, though the length of meetings has shortened by 20.1%. During the post-lockdown period, employees spent 11.5% less time in meetings than they spent in meetings during lockdown.
- The finished report was hindered in at least two ways, according to the researchers: The data was restricted from seeing the content of the studied emails and unable to see if the purpose of exchanges changed. And, because the data was de-identified, there was no way to tell the demographics of users, or what kind of businesses or industries changed the most in communication patterns.
The pandemic changed how employees engage with each other, business and customers — all the while juggling the role of homeschooling or dog walking.
The line between work- and home-life will be blurred for the foreseeable future, but that's been a gamble Silicon Valley companies liked to take long before COVID-19.
The employee's average workday extended by about 48.5 minutes while working remotely. Researchers used the time between the first and last email users sent in a 24-hour period to determine the hourly increase. There was an 8.3% increase in emails sent outside of business hours.
Beginning in March, the U.S. workforce dismantled the idea of an "ideal worker", reported Harvard Business Review. The pandemic inadvertently unlocked a fallacy employees and employers lived in prior to the pandemic, focussing on the disruption of who a family unit's "caregiver" is.
The inundation of distractions that come with a WFH environment add to changes in behaviors, and employees resisting breaks.
State lockdowns were taken into account for the study, and their influence on behaviors. But while users restructured workdays, the report can't definitively say if the 48.5 minutes added to the day is because they're working longer hours or if their schedules are atypical.
Distractions and fatigue will hinder performance and employees' ability to make good decisions, according to a report from Tessian, based on a survey of 2,000 workers in the U.S. and U.K. More than 40% of employees are more error-prone when tired.
Contributing to a sense of exhaustion are the virtual meetings intended to take the place of in-person encounters, but sometimes the intention backfires.
On video calls, "you have an audience — sometimes of multiple people — constantly staring directly back at you. All the while, we are unable to move because we have to keep our head in the frame. It’s intense and exhausting, especially if you are doing it many times a day," said Jeff Hancock, a professor at Stanford, in the report. The same promise of constant eye contact isn't expected in face-to-face encounters.