However, he warned that the locked-out working arrangements had been much less constructive for others, and the sharp decline in face-to-face interaction was destroying vital opportunities for creative expression and innovation.
Drawing on his own experience working remotely from the bank since March, he said: “I don’t miss the ride. But I deeply feel the loss of working relationships and external stimuli – the chance conversations, listening to very different people with very different lived experiences, exposure to new ideas and experiences.
“These losses will increase over time. At some point, they will offset the benefits of avoiding southwest trains. ”
The government was forced to stop a campaign to bring white-collar workers back to their offices last month, as the rise in coronavirus infections turned into a second wave, leading to further severe restrictions. After ordering people to return to work after the lockdown, in part to help revive struggling downtown economies, the government then told people to work from home if they could.
Entering the debate over the long-term consequences of changing working arrangements, Haldane said he believes neither five days a week working from home nor five days working in the office is good for well-being. personal or economy.
In an online speech this month, posted on the bank’s website on Monday, he said the sheer volume of virtual meetings was hurting people’s ability to share information vital to building trust and building new relationships. .
While saying that working from home provided a quieter, less distracting environment to help ‘dig tunnels’, or focus on work – which could help generate ideas – he warned:’ The creativity gained by improving the creation of tunnels gets lost in the darkness of the tunnel itself. “
The bank’s chief economist said productivity and well-being gains have been seen from working from home, but people often work longer hours when they normally commute. Senior managers would benefit more than newcomers, and women had also taken a higher share of childcare than men, he said.
The rise of Zoom calls and remote working during the pandemic has created a wedge in society between people who can work from home and those who must continue to commute to work, putting themselves at greater risk.
According to official figures, IT and professional workers are twice as likely to work from home than those in lower-paying jobs in retail, healthcare and industry.