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Working from home: Productive vs unproductive debate (Includes interview)

Two executives from major financial institutions said that working at home, despite the massive growth, is losing its effectiveness. However, data compiled by analysts at Prodoscore comes to different conclusions.

The executives made their opinions known at the World Economic Forum, which took place during February 2021. Here Jes Staley, Chief Executive at Barclays, said with regards to working from home, “It’s remarkable it’s working as well as it is, but I don’t think it’s sustainable.” In other words, ‘get back to the office soon’.

In addition, Mary Erdoes from JPMorgan Chase & Co. opines that remote working creates conditions that are difficult for employees to focus. The banker says: “It is fraying. It is hard. It takes a lot of inner strength and sustainability (without) the energy that you get from being around other people.”

This runs counter to industry surveys that show a marked rise in productivity from remote working, especially after the teething issues faced during the first coronavirus lockdown had been addressed. An example of such surveys comes from Prodoscore.

Commenting on his company’s survey for Digital Journal is Sam Naficy, CEO of Prodoscore. Naficy has a different opinion.

Naficy explains: “After shifting through over 105 million data points collected from 30,000 users, we believe remote workers are in fact effective when given support, flexibility and good coaching.” In other words, things work well under auspice of the ‘good employer’.

The key point is, Naficy continues, that the “data revealed a 5 percent increase in productivity year over year, challenging the assumption by business leaders that employees working from home are less productive than when working on-site in an office.” 5 percent, while not earth shattering, is a step in the right direction.

In terms of the extent of the findings, Naficy notes: “ This data shows a sea of change (and opportunity) across industry. Leaders we talk to are more and more open to the idea of allowing employees to work remotely, and software like ours is playing a big role. Prodoscore saw significant traction and market adoption in 2020, raising two rounds of capital in quarter 2 and quarter 4, 2020.”

In essence Naficy maintains that working from home is just as effective than working in an office, and it may even create an upward bounce in productivity.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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