Researchers working from home: Benefits and challenges

Researchers working from home: Benefits and challenges
How did quarantine affect the work of researchers? Examining the experiences of more than 700 international researchers working from home instead of labs, research rooms and libraries, nearly two-thirds of scientists would like to work more from home than before the epidemic, while some of their work can be done more efficiently in the traditional, onsite work.The study of Balázs Aczél, Márton Kovács, Tanja van der Lippe and Barnabás Szászi was published by PLOS ONE.


The flexibility allowed by the mobilization of technology disintegrated the traditional work-life boundary for most professionals. Whether working from home is the key or impediment to academics’ efficiency and work-life balance became a daunting question for both scientists and their employers. The recent pandemic brought into focus the merits and challenges of working from home on a level of personal experience. Using a convenient sampling, we surveyed 704 academics while working from home and found that the pandemic lockdown decreased the work efficiency for almost half of the researchers but around a quarter of them were more efficient during this time compared to the time before. Based on the gathered personal experience, 70% of the researchers think that in the future they would be similarly or more efficient than before if they could spend more of their work-time at home. They indicated that in the office they are better at sharing thoughts with colleagues, keeping in touch with their team, and collecting data, whereas at home they are better at working on their manuscript, reading the literature, and analyzing their data. Taking well-being also into account, 66% of them would find it ideal to work more from home in the future than they did before the lockdown. These results draw attention to how working from home is becoming a major element of researchers’ life and that we have to learn more about its influencer factors and coping tactics in order to optimize its arrangements.

You can read the whole study here.