Remote Work Really Is Making the Day Longer

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This much has been apparent since the beginning of the pandemic: Work-life balance during the age of COVID has become little more than a joke. When we have to relax, sleep, eat, and otherwise live in the same space where we work, it becomes harder and harder to know where our boundaries really lie. We should all be paying as much attention to these trends as possible, especially when pandemic life is starting to feel more and more normal.

Last month, the Washington Post reported on a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research that gave us precise snapshots of how much more we're working each day when we work from home. It's nearly an hour — the average workday is 48 minutes and 30 seconds longer than it was before lockdown orders and self-quarantine. We're also enduring 13 percent more meetings, even though time spent in meetings has gone down an average of 20 minutes a day. (The interruption itself can wreak havoc on your productivity all on its own.)

All this data seems to run counter to overwhelming evidence that workers don't want to go back to the office like they were before. That said, setting up firm allowances for yourself and your employer should help you both in the long run. In fact, it's worth remembering that there's not a lot of correlation between how many hours you work and how much you actually get done. The sooner you can prove that to your supervisors, the better off everyone should be.