Roy Gilbert

Americans Are Done With 5-Days a Week in the Office. Here’s What That Means for the Economy

Americans are shedding their masks, buying concert tickets and booking vacations like it’s 2019. But there’s one thing that’s doesn’t appear to be going anywhere as the pandemic fades: remote work.

Companies from Vanguard Group Inc. to Ford Motor Co. are permanently adopting “hybrid” work schedules where employees spend some of the week at home and the rest at an office. Forecasting the implications of these long-term work shifts on the U.S. economy is no small task.

Enter Nicholas Bloom, a Stanford University economist who started researching the economic impact of remote work years ago and has become a de-facto “working-from-home” expert during the pandemic, with his findings featured in dozens of publications. Bloom, who is also co-director of the Productivity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, has spent the last year surveying tens of thousands of U.S. firms and employees about their post-pandemic work arrangements.

In a conversation ahead of the release of his latest working paper , “The Donut Effect of Covid-19 on Cities,” published with Stanford colleague Arjun Ramani, Bloom spoke about remote work’s impact on migration, real estate, diversity and productivity.

The conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Your research shows that Americans are congregating in the suburbs and, arguably, apartments in urban, more dense areas are being vacated at a faster pace.

We call it the “Donut Effect.” The places losing the most people are centers of big cities. Downtowns are doing very badly, they’ve lost roughly 15% of people and […]