A Survey of Perceptions of Remote Work and Work Productivity in the United States during the COVID-19 Shutdown
36 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2020
Date Written: July 8, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic pushed organizations and workers in the U.S. to transition to remote work both quickly and with little choice, and to do so under extreme conditions. We survey 592 Amazon MTurk respondents living and working in the U.S. about how they perceive their personal work productivity and their subordinates’ work productivity during the COVID-19 shutdown (hereafter, COVID) and factors associated with those perceptions. Our preliminary analyses reveal three key results regarding perceptions of work productivity: (i) respondents perceive improvements in work productivity during COVID for both themselves and their subordinates; (ii) respondents’ personal perceived productivity improvement during COVID is positively related to how much time they had spent remote working before COVID; and (iii) when given the freedom to choose, respondents prefer to remote work more after COVID than they did before COVID, and that preference for more remote work is positively related to their personal perceived productivity improvement during COVID and how much time they had spent remote working before and during COVID. We further examine these key results as they relate to three themes: (i) respondents’ personal/family demographics; (ii) organizational variables and respondents’ job-related variables; and (iii) supervisory control variables. Our results suggest that the involuntary adoption of remote work due to COVID may have increased the desire of workers for voluntary remote work arrangements post-COVID, even for demographic groups (e.g., males, singles, those with no minor children) w ho may have a weaker preference for remote working before COVID. For organizations considering the impact of increased remote work arrangements on work productivity, our results indicate that respondents perceive positive impacts on their own productivity and that of their subordinates. However, this comes with caveats. In designing remote work arrangements, our results suggest that organizations need to consider demographic variables (e.g., childcare access during remote work), job-related variables (e.g., jobs of a business professional nature, position level, job tenure), and supervisory control variables (e.g., tight supervisory controls) that may affect the degree to which remote work impacts work productivity.
Keywords: COVID-19, remote work, productivity, supervisory control
JEL Classification: M12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation