Those working from home during the coronavirus pandemic lose up to 15 minutes of productive time per day, new research shows.
Productivity levels across Australia will fall by as much as three per cent, economic modelling by Philip Adams and Janine Dixon, from Victoria University, suggests.
The findings come amid concerns strict COVID-19 rules, including Melbourne‘s draconian Stage Four restrictions, are dragging down economic growth and wages.
By encouraging people to work from home, productivity was plummeting, the Australian Financial Review reported.
Data suggested that initial productivity losses were between one and three per cent – which is between five and 15 minutes of an eight-hour workday (pictured, a woman working at home in Adelaide in April)
The economists said school and childcare closures only worsened productivity levels, with parents distracted by their children.
Data suggested that initial productivity losses were between one and three per cent – which is between five and 15 minutes of an eight-hour workday.
‘The productivity loss also varies across industries, so in medical health and hospitality working from home would obviously see productivity fall much more significantly,’ Professor Adams said.
Stage Four measures were enforced in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire on August 2, with all residents forced to stay at home for all but essential reasons.
Dr Nixon said that productivity will increase in the long run – particularly when children return to school.
People working from home aren’t the only ones losing time from their working day.
‘For workplaces that are still operating with staff on site, productivity is also negatively impacted,’ the authors said.
‘This is due to additional cleaning and hygiene requirements and social-distancing requirements such as limits on the number of passengers in lifts, and the need for 4 square metres of space per person.’
The authors said containment strategies for COVID-19 required people to work from home and this imposes a productivity loss. Pictured: Woman walks passed sign urging people to stay home in Melbourne
Using the productivity drop in forecasts, the researchers found consumption, employment and GDP could also plummet as a result.
Their research showed that GDP could fall by 10.7 per cent of its pre-COVID-19 rates in the June quarter.
This will reduce to 7.9 per cent in the fourth quarter.
The economists determined there were three recovery scenarios to deal with this massive loss in the GDP.
Scenario one is when the economy begins immediately following the fourth quarter, while the second shows recovery lagging a year following the final quarter.
The economists said school and childcare closures only worsened productivity levels. Pictured Donna Eddy helps her son Phoenix with school work during lockdown in Sydney
In the third scenario there is mild short-term recovery, but it isn’t until the June quarter of 2023 where a real recovery would be seen.
The GDP isn’t the only thing expected to drop – with household income projected to fall by 13 per cent in the June and September quarters compared to pre-coronavirus levels.
‘Around 40 per cent of household expenditure is allocated to activities that are affected by social isolation. Expenditure on these activities is assumed to drop by an average of 30 per cent,’ the authors said.
Source: Daily Mail