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Weekly Updates

  • One of the biggest economic changes of the pandemic was the faster adoption of flexible working. UK data suggests 44% of workers spend at least part of their week working from home. US government data understates flexible working, but academic research suggests similar figures. Around a quarter of the German workforce works flexibly—higher manufacturing employment means the German ratio will naturally be lower.
  • Recent positive revisions to GDP data suggest that fears of employees secretly spending their workday watching television or surfing social media are misplaced. There is no evidence of weak productivity in sectors where flexible working is common, and flexible working may have increased productivity.
  • If flexible working helps people work better, why are some managers still speaking out against it? One reason may be a problem in understanding a diverse workforce. An office environment can favor extrovert employees, and put introverts at a disadvantage. Only a minority of CEOs identify as introverts. An extrovert CEO may assume that their way of working is best for everyone, when this is very unlikely to be true.
  • Job security may also be an issue. If extrovert behavior becomes less important for career success, some CEOs might fear a quiet revolution, with their introverted employees looking to take over.

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