Conestoga news

September 7, 2021 11:43 AM

Research report examines the impacts of working from home

Conestoga’s Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness & Performance (CISWP) has released a report detailing results from its knowledge synthesis study examining the impacts of work-from-home (WFH) arrangements on personal and organizational productivity and performance. The report is now available on the CISWP website.

“With organizations around the world suddenly having a large portion of their workforce in a WFH arrangement as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many organizations considering what their work environments may look like moving forward, we aimed to consolidate the research evidence surrounding the impacts these arrangements have on the productivity and performance of both the individual worker and the organization,” explained Dr. Amin Yazdani, CISWP director. “Our aim was to foster a broader understanding of these impacts to help inform the development of recommendations for organizations to prepare strategies for an effective, resilient and inclusive WFH workplace that also align with business goals.”

Dr. Yazdani, and CISWP researchers Dr. Marcus Yung and Dr. Amy Hackney, along with their collaborators at the University of Toronto and La Trobe University, found that working from home can have positive impacts on productivity and performance; however, these positive impacts are likely related to non-mandatory arrangements. When working from home becomes mandatory and full-time, or when external factors like the pandemic are at play, the overall impacts are less positive and can even be detrimental.

Furthermore, how organizations evaluate the effectiveness of their WFH arrangement varies greatly in terms of the measurement tools used and the types of questions asked which can make it difficult for organizations to infer conclusive results.

“Organizations are encouraged to consider implementing policies to define what productivity and performance means to them, and what measurements are best suited to reflect these impacts in their own business goals,” added Yazdani. “It is important for organizations to develop a worker-centric and participatory approach to develop post-COVID flexible workplace arrangement strategies that allow a transitional period for workers to better adjust to the new way of working.”

In addition to the release of the report, CISWP has launched a complimentary webinar series to discuss the results of its work-from-home studies.

For more information about the study findings, contact CISWP at The research was co-funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Government of Canada’s Future Skills program.

The Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness & Performance, located within Conestoga's School of Business, works to improve the safety, wellness, and performance of the Canadian labour force by generating knowledge, transferring research to practice, and strengthening workforce development — all in collaboration with stakeholders.