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Email notification icon In addition to an increased number of remote meetings, there was an explosion in the number of emails in the first weeks after a lockdown was declared, with subsequent weeks finding email volume returning to more normal levels. (image: Shutterstock)

A new study by the Harvard Business School and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) found that the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent move to remote work has led to more virtual meetings, with more participants—but that the length of those meetings has decreased. The report also found that workers are putting in longer days—as much as 48 minutes more per day—in part to keep up with email and other remote communications.

The report gathered data from more than 3 million people, from more than 21,000 companies in Europe, Israel, and the United States. The researchers looked specifically at how workers responded to lockdowns, which led many companies to greatly increase the practice of working remotely. The report noted that as of early April, 95% of Americans were required to shelter-in-place because of COVID-19. The study tracked business practices, specifically email and remote meeting data, before, during, and after mandated lockdowns.

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