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WFH ‘not always a good thing’, says BoE chief economist

Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, has questioned the long-term effects of home working, especially in regards to people’s creativity despite reports made that it is improving employees’ happiness. 

In his latest speech at the Engaging Business Summit and Autumn Lecture, the BoE chief said working from home “raises questions” about the impact on productivity and output in the workplace. 

Haldane stated the “lack of distraction”  and noise for employees who work from home is 

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“not always a good thing” and that it is well-established that exposure to new and different experiences – sounds, smells, environments, ideas, people – is a “key source” of creative spark.

It follows reports that nearly two thirds of Gen Z and Millennials seek permanent home working after the pandemic, with  24% of under-35s would consider moving elsewhere in the UK if their job became a remote-working role.

Haldane said: “Taken at face value, [reports on home working] are encouraging. Workplace happiness is, in general, higher and many are feeling a greater sense of workplace empowerment.

At the same time, it is too early to be reaching definitive conclusions on what the long-term effects of these seismic shifts in how we work will be.” 

He added: “It is also crucial to recognise that these changes have affected individuals in very different ways. For many frontline workers – from health and social care, to public transport and police – home-working has simply not been an option. 

Those jobs, and many others like them, have become both harder and more hazardous as a result of the Covid crisis.”

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