Datum 2021-04-21
Artikeltyp News

Research shows that we have become more productive during the pandemic

This article was written before our official name change on January 1, 2022 from Mälardalen University (MDH) to Mälardalen University (MDU).

During the coronavirus pandemic, many workplaces have switched to working remotely, a transition that can be challenging for both employees and managers. At MDH, a research project group has investigated the experiences of both groups and the results of the feasibility study show that the majority believe that they have become more productive.

The feasibility study was conducted through a survey where around 150 people were asked to respond and describe their experiences in their own words. The feasibility study carried out in 2020 shows clear results that working from home has its advantages.

– A majority of respondents believe that productivity improved, with increased flexibility and more opportunity to manage their work, says Rachael Tripney Berglund, a PhD student and one of the project members at MDH.

However, there were also some people who said that productivity had deteriorated. Many people miss the daily and spontaneous conversations with colleagues and believe that the physical work environment is worse. Only a few believed that working from home did not affect productivity at all.

Fewer interruptions boost productivity

When talking to colleagues, many miss the breaks and the daily exchange of information. People also miss the lack of exchange of new ideas and the energy that talking with colleagues provides. However, fewer interruptions and the ability to choose when and who to talk with leads to increased productivity, according to many in the feasibility study. Views differ on the question of work meetings – some think that spending more time in online meetings impairs productivity, but for many, meetings are fewer and more efficient.

– In order for us to work as well as possible from home, it is very important to create a well-functioning workplace, with good ergonomics and a stable internet connection, says Rachael Tripney Berglund.

According to Rachael, homeworkers may also need support to manage their workload and workday planning, so that they get the necessary breaks and do not work too much outside of working hours. For the future, homeworkers also need to have better access to information from their workplace. Most people point out that today it is difficult to get answers and to keep themselves updated on what is happening in the organisation.

Lessons for the future

Racheal believes that improved productivity through increased self-management of work and fewer interruptions is something that could also be used at ordinary workplaces. Many homeworkers have written that their productivity has increased now that they can decide over their working hours for instance, and work in a focused way without interruption.

The research project and the study have now entered a new phase, where SIQ (The Institute for Quality Development) will send out the survey to all its members. The results will be relevant to employees and managers of several organisations whose employees are likely to continue working from home regularly in the future.

The main project is financed by AFA Försäkring. In addition to Rachael, the other members of the project are Tomas Backstöm and Adesuwa Omorede, who are project managers.

Health and wellbeing

MDH has research that ties in with all the UN's global sustainable development goals. This study is directly linked to Goal 3, regarding good health and well-being.

Parts of this article contain a revised text from SIQ, who have participated in the study. Read more about the research project here.

This is how MDH work with the sustainable development goals

On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change. This is how MDH work with the sustainable development goals.

Sustainable development goals

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