Experiments and Data for Post-COVID-19 Work Arrangements | MIT Sloan Management Review

Workforce Trends

Firms continue to plan and decide on a timeline for an eventual return-to-work of their workforce. These decisions relate to questions ranging from do we return to a five-day workweek in the office or fewer days at longer hours?; has our workforce become accustomed to less time-intensive Zoom and Microsoft Team teleconferences, or are they ready to get back to in-person gatherings? This article argues firms can use experimentation to guide these decisions before committing to a set of policies and practices for the long-term. Experimentation allows firms to test aspects of their business operations and then use the data findings to inform broader policy. For example, one experiment can be where organizations have some groups work in the office every day, work entirely at home, and work a hybrid schedule. Firms can then measure these groups on various outcome variables, such as productivity, work satisfaction, and networking frequencyand then use the results to provide data-based suggestions that inform broader workforce policies and practices. The article offers tips for running experiments, such as start by articulating the questions of interest. 

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