Working or shirking from home? : an empirical case study of home office performance and implications for the future of work
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- Master Thesis 
In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic required hundreds of thousands of Norwegian employees to primarily work from home. Many companies are now considering their future practice of home office. We report the results from analyzing performance and survey data of call center representatives at a major company in the Nordic bank and insurance market. In the period from early January to late August 2020, we find that home working led to a decrease in the time spent on handling each call. Thus, there was a small increase in productivity relative to the time actively spent on performing work tasks. On the other hand, our findings also imply that the employees had more and/or longer breaks when working from home. These effects equalized each other with the result being that there was no significant difference in terms of daily productivity (total number of calls handled). Moreover, we also find that working from home led to a small decrease in the quality of the work. The effects of working from home did not vary between characteristics such as age, gender and experience. Rather, the effects seemed to depend largely on employees’ individual preferences and motivation. We also find that employees understood whether they performed better or worse at home. Interestingly, there were no correlations between how they performed and their preferred use of home office. The latter was determined by other factors that were not directly related to performance, such as commuting time, living arrangements and age. We believe that our findings will apply to other jobs which share the same characteristics as the work design of call center representatives.