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You're Right—You Are Working Longer and Attending More Meetings


September 21, 2020

A study of 3 million people confirms what many work-from-home employees already know: We're swamped.

Work-from-home employees whose days seem longer, with more meetings and emails than ever before, may find a new Harvard Business School study validating.

An analysis of the emails and meetings of 3.1 million people in 16 global cities found that the average workday increased by 8.2 percent—or 48.5 minutes—during the pandemic’s early weeks. Employees also participated in more meetings, though for less time than they did before Covid-19 sent many workers home.

“There is a general sense that we never stop being in front of Zoom or interacting,” says Raffaella Sadun, professor of business administration in the HBS Strategy Unit. “It’s very taxing, to be honest.”

Shifting to remote work at the start of the pandemic stripped away whatever was left of the elusive 9-to-5 business day and replaced it with videoconferencing and “asynchronous work.” With at least 16 percent of Americans planning to keep working from home part of the time after Covid-19 abates, researchers are probing how virtual interaction might reshape organizations. Read More >

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