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Event 9 June 2021: Digit Debates - Pandemic, performance, and the pace of work

To what extent has the COVID-19 pandemic really changed the world of work?

At the point that the UK entered lockdown at the end of March 2020, 42% of the working population began working from home (ONS, 2020).  Very soon after the start of this ‘mass homeworking experiment’, there was a popular discourse arguing that the world of work will never return to pre-pandemic norms. While it is clear that homeworking can be carried out on a large scale – particularly as a result of the rapid advances in the quality and scope of videoconferencing technology and other remote information and communications technology – we should still remain cautious as to the true potential for homeworking.

This talk will report on findings from the Working@Home project ( which has followed the experiences of 80 ‘new’ homeworkers throughout the past year. The presentation will also discuss survey data collected from around 1300 participants across the UK on two occasions, again, over the past year. The talk will specifically focus on the impact of homeworking on the pace of work. We argue that now is the time to be looking at new ways of conceptualising work output which not only break away from quantification of activities and time spent working but also from the increasingly dangerous and often false notion of algorithmic accountability.

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