Working from Home around the World

Innovation and Economic Growth

Article Snapshot


Nicholas Bloom, Steven J. Davis, Mathias Dolls, Cevat Giray Aksoy, José María Barrero and Pablo Zárate


CESifo Working Paper No. 9938, 2022


The COVID-19 pandemic caused a shift to more work from home (WFH). Workers were more productive than expected, and many firms shifted their arrangements to accommodate WFH.

Policy Relevance

The post-pandemic shift to more WFH is expected to last.

Main Points

  • The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a large, lasting shift to WFH.
  • A survey of workers in 27 countries showed that the average worker works from home 1.5 days per week; post-pandemic, employers planned for an average of .7 WFH days per week, with workers preferring 1.7 WFH days per week.
  • Countries differ widely in the amount of WFH days planned by employers, from .3 in Taiwan to 1.8 in India; countries also differ in the amount of WFH days preferred by workers, from 1.1 in China to 2.2 in Canada.
  • Employees consider the option to WFH two to three days per week as equivalent in value to 5 percent of their earnings; those with long commutes, women, and men and women with children value WFH more.
  • The pandemic triggered an increase in WFH because it served as a mass social experiment, generating a flood of new information about WFH; workers were more productive in WFH than expected.
  • Firms and individuals shifted their arrangements to accommodate work from home.
  • In countries with the most stringent lockdowns, employers are planning the most WFH days post-pandemic; COVID-19 death rates did not affect post-pandemic WFH plans.

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