Smart working in the Covid era: more work, more meetings and more emails

We work longer, we meet (virtually) more times and with more colleagues present and we exchange many, too many e-mails, almost all internal to the company. These are the first results – six months now from the start of the health crisis in the world – of the first effects of the lockdown, emptied offices and smartworking. To support him one joint search of 32 pages of New York University’s Stern School of Business and Harvard Business School for the US National Office of Economic Research.

The internal dynamics

The scholars analyzed the work habits of 3.1 million people in 16 cities (including Rome and Milan) in Europe, North America and the Middle East. The first conclusion – confirming the disappearance of the boundaries between home and work – that on average the working time is lengthened by 48 minutes and a half every day, equal to an increase of 8% compared to the pre-Covid pace. Meetings increased – by almost a fifth – (+ 17%), as did the number of colleagues present in the various virtual meetings on Zoom or Teams (+ 14%). But, surprisingly, both the average duration of these meetings decreased (-21%), and the total time spent talking to others (-9%).


The dynamics on e-mails (always in the workplace) are also curious. The research argues that smartworking has led employees to send more emails within the company, but that by shifting the lens on emails sent outside, these have actually decreased – by 3% – a sign that the lockdown and the pandemic in general have reduced digital interactions outside the company. Working from home meant – confirms the American study – also being more attached to the mobile phone (and computer) beyond office hours, so much so that e-mails sent in the evening and at night have increased by 5%.

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15 August 2020 (change August 15, 2020 | 12:52)



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