The long-term consequences of working from home

Not having to commute generally leaves workers generally happier, but there’s a darker side to prolonged lockdown, says the Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane.

by Stephen Jones

Is Andy Haldane happier working from home? The Bank of England’s chief economist admits that it’s hard to say.

On the one hand Haldane says he’s feeling the benefits of missing the two-hour daily commute on South Western Rail, and the Monetary Policy Committee meetings he has attended for the past 20 years are apparently no less effective virtually than when they were face to face. But he’s acutely aware of a growing disconnection from the people around him - with consequences for creativity. 

“I don't know anyone at work better than I did six months ago,” Haldane told attendees during his closing lecture at the virtual Engaging Business Summit. Without his regular visits around the country and chance conversations with people from different faith and economic backgrounds, he admits that working from home has probably reduced his own capacity for creative thought.

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