Remote Work leads to Less Innovation

It’s time to start collaborating with your team…in person. We know most of the world has gotten accustomed to working from home, but unfortunately, meetings aren’t as beneficial from a computer screen. 

A new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that fewer face-to-face interactions between employees result in a decline in “knowledge flows.” Since the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, numerous companies have been forced to operate from home. In May 2020, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, advised that half of its employees should be working remotely in approximately 5 to 10 years. Even after the global pandemic, many companies offered permanent remote jobs. Companies like Slack, Lyft, DropBox, and Twitter currently allow employees to permanently work from the comfort of their own homes.

The new research explores how important face-to-face interactions between employees are, considering the “knowledge flows” or “spillovers” resulting from those interactions. Researchers focused heavily on the interactions between employees of different companies that were not connected industry-wise and the potential for knowledge exchanges in those interactions. 

To study this, the authors utilized smartphone geolocation data to measure the interactions between employees at multiple establishments in Silicon Valley. They hypothesized that meetings with other employees decreased when working from home, but if remote workers made the effort to meet with others, they would increase. They’ve also estimated that more face-to-face interactions between employees resulted in more “knowledge spillovers” than when working remotely. The results illustrated that there are more knowledge flows during serendipitous interactions between employees. Additionally, they’ve concluded that workers from different establishments are more likely to meet with each other if there are popular food places or coffee shops in the area. 

These findings are significant to TeamWorking by TechNexus as providing a collaborative space for companies to meet and thrive is one of their main initiatives. TeamWorking by TechNexus is on a mission to make downtown Chicago where companies come to innovate and grow. TeamWorking makes the return to the office a smooth transition by creating a space for teams to work together in person. Located in the heart of downtown, there’s room for opportunity, innovation, and plenty of  “knowledge flows.” The TeamWorking space emphasizes networking between entrepreneurs and companies to make collaboration a thing again. So come into the office, grab some coffee, and start collaborating with your team!

Source: Chen, K., Atkin, D., & Popov, A. (2021). Spontaneous Knotting of an Agitated String. NBER Working Paper No. 28402. Retrieved from