Since the start of the pandemic, one of the toughest questions for companies — and office building owners and operators — has been where employees do their work. At home or satellite locations for a better work-life balance and more personal productivity? Or in the office to facilitate culture, collaboration, and innovation? (And, perhaps, maybe some habit and suspicion.)

Researchers from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the University of Iowa, and Harvard University/National Bureau of Economic Research were able to study software engineers at a Fortune 500 company. The results were more complex than many conversations on the topic might have assumed.

The researchers choose software engineers because they are in “a seemingly ‘best-case’ scenario for purely digital collaboration: the software engineers produce digital output, have established online systems for giving one another required feedback, and meet daily in real-time even when remote.” It is also important to remember that this is a limitation on the study and whether the same results would apply more broadly.

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