To understand the effects of teleworking arrangements on firm productivity and worker well-being, the OECD Global Forum on Productivity has conducted an online survey among more than 1,300 private sector managers and 3,400 private and public sector workers in 23 OECD countries along with Brazil and Malaysia. The survey reveals that a large majority of respondents consider their experience with telework positive. The main reasons, according to managers, are that they find that workers work more and more productively; and workers consider the opportunity to save on commuting costs and time as a key benefit of telework. However, both groups recognise that telework carries important risks as well: managers believe telework could lead to the reduction of knowledge flows, learning, and loyalty within the company, hurting innovation in the longer run; while workers stress the risk of feeling isolated and to some of them career progression could suffer. Given the important trade-offs involved in telework, both workers and managers agree that it would be preferable, from the point of view of company performance and individual well-being, to achieve an optimal balance of 2 to 3 regular teleworking days per week for a large proportion of the workforce. To maximise benefits and minimise drawbacks, both managers and workers consider that the coordination of on-site presence schedules will be crucial, to ensure that there are sufficient in-person interactions. Governments should play a role as well, by enabling telework in both urban and rural areas (through the removal of ICT bottlenecks), empowering managers and employees with skills enhancement and supporting infrastructures (notably related to childcare), and protecting employees from the risk of an excessive amount of telework (especially when performed in inadequate conditions).
"Chiara Criscuolo is the head of the Productivity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Division in the Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation at the OECD. Mainly, her work focuses on entrepreneurship, enterprise dynamics, productivity and policy evaluation. In this realm, she has coordinated large cross-country microdata projects on employment dynamics, productivity, as well as research and development. Chiara has played a lead role in advancing the use of firm level data and of microdata projects within the OECD. She has contributed to key horizontal and high level projects and publications, including the OECD volumes “Future of Productivity”, “New sources of growth: Knowledge Based capital”, and the “OECD Innovation Strategy”. She co-manages the Global Forum on Productivity is also a member of the French and Portuguese National Productivity Boards. Ahead of joining the OECD, Chiara received her doctoral degree in Economics from University College London and held academic appointments at the University of Siena, City University and the University of Cambridge, in addition to the London School of Economics.
Peter Gal is senior economist for the Global Forum on Productivity in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD). He has been working on micro- and macroeconomic aspects of productivity, in particular on the role of differences among firms for aggregate performance. He also worked on labour market issues, focusing on the role of startups in job creation as well as on the role of structural changes – especially digitalisation and globalisation – and of public policies for potential growth. Throughout his career, he worked in various departments of the OECD as well as at the International Monetary Fund and initially at the Central Bank of Hungary. He holds a PhD and an MPhil degree in Economics from the Tinbergen Institute in Amsterdam and a university degree in Economics from Corvinus University of Budapest.
Francesco Losma is a consultant for the OECD Global Forum on Productivity, where he contributes to a strand of research investigating the effect of teleworking arrangements on firms’ productivity and workers’ well-being. He is also a graduate Research and Teaching Assistant in International Economics at Bocconi University. His research interests include Productivity, Macroeconomics, and International Trade. Francesco holds a MSc Degree in Economics and Social Sciences from Bocconi University."
slides: GEE Meeting for website (1).pdf