Gimme work from home or else...
The pandemic induced lockdown was a huge experiment on the possibilities and limits of working from home. Suddenly thousands of workers had to set their own home-offices and learn Zoom, Teams and what not. A year and a half later, with some signs of the pandemic receding, we started wandering what the future of work might look like: will WFH stay or will it go? Respondents to online surveys were overtly enthusiastic about prospects of WFH in the future. Up to 40% of workers in US stated that they will change their job if their employers do not introduce hybrid work models.
But, how much should we trust these estimates? Will people walk the walk? We provide a simple frame experiment in an online survey. We show that a very mild treatment (informing respondents of consequences of WFH) affects their willingness to work in hybrid model, the wage value of having a hybrid work arrangement and even their perceptions of productivity in the past year.
What will the future of WFH will look like? Well, this question we are not ready to answer. But given how susceptible people are to small framing, prevalent narratives might matter as much as economic fundamentals.