The Future of Work (From Home) Workshop

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The Future of Work (From Home)
A Centre for Market Design Workshop

We are delighted to invite you to participate in the Future of Work (From Home) programme on Friday 3rd June, 12:30pm - 5:30pm.  The Work from Home (WFH) revolution is reshaping workplaces at a pace not seen since the Great Depression.  Together, we need to re-think and re-imagine what this means for workers, government, companies, and the economy.

We have curated a series of the world’s leading economic experts on WFH to explore perspectives ranging from the microeconomic impact of WFH on teams’ productivity to macroeconomic impacts on how WFH will reshape where companies and employees work.

Join us for an afternoon of insights, robust debate, and learning as we explore topics such as:
* How much do employees value WFH?
* How does WFH affect companies’ productivity?
* What diversity and mental health challenges does a WFH future present?

Our experts will present the summarised evidence and state of knowledge from the research frontier to then be discussed through extensive Q&A sessions with workshop participants. As a working group, we will discuss these new challenges and possible solutions arising from the WFH revolution.

Please join us on campus, or virtually online, in this free workshop. This programme is generously supported by the Samuel and June Hordern Endowment and the Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne. Registration is essential and can be done via the link below.

Venue:
In Person: Level 10, Woodward Conference Centre, University of Melbourne or Virtual: Zoom Link (to be sent following registration)
Registration:
https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/the-future-of-work-from-home-registration-321129295367
Cost:
Free
Enquiries:
Prof David Byrne, byrned@unimelb.edu.au

Programme

12:30 - 1:00     Participant Arrival and Light Lunch
1:00 - 1:05Prof Paul Kofman - Sidney Myer Chair of Commerce/Dean, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne
Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome
1:05 - 1:35Prof Nicholas Bloom (Keynote) - Stanford Graduate School of Business
How and where will WFH stick?  What is its impact on companies' productivity?
1:35-2:05Peter Lambert & Prof Nicholas Bloom - London School of Economics and Stanford GSB
How offering WFH and job flexibility affects employee recruiting and retention?
2:05 - 2:30Afternoon Tea
2:30 - 3:00 Michael Brennan - Chair of the Productivity Commission
WFH and Urban, Rural and Regional Reallocation of Work and Living in Australia
*Session graciously supported by the Samuel and June Hordern Endowment
3:00 - 3:30 Dr Maria Recalde - University of Melbourne
WFH and the Evolution of Gender Gaps in the Workplace
3:30 - 3:45Break
3:45 - 4:15 A/Prof Victoria Baranov - University of Melbourne
What are the Implications of WFH on Mental Health and Well-Being in the Workplace?
4:15 - 5:00 Industry Panel - Evolving the Workplace Toward a WFH Future
What are the considerations for organisations today?  What actions need to be taken?

Panel Members:
Ben Walsh, Chief Life Insurance Officer, AIA Australia
Andrew Wear, City Economist & Director, Economic Development and International, City of Melbourne
Steven Hamilton (Moderator), Assistant Professor of Economics, The George Washington University
5:00 - 5:30Networking and Drinks


Session Details

Where Will WFH Stick? What is its Impact on Companies’ Productivity?
Professor Nicholas Bloom, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Professor Bloom will provide an overview of evidence from the research frontier on whether WFH will stick in the long run, industries and contexts in which it will stick (or fail), and the impacts of WFH on companies’ productivity. Insights will be drawn from the Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes, the world’s leading database on the economics of WFH, which dates to 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Bloom runs this database and the WFH research organization, WFH Research, which studies it. Finally, implications for how to organize teams and workplaces within organizations will be discussed.


How Offering WFH and Job Flexibility Affects Employee Recruiting and Retention?
Peter Lambert, London School of Economics
Professor Nicholas Bloom, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Together with co-author Peter Lambert from the LSE, Professor Bloom will present hot-off-the-press cutting-edge research on the impact of offering job flexibility and WFH arrangements on companies’ ability to attract and retain employees. Such first-of-their-kind insights will be presented from a recent large-scale randomized control trial where Professor Bloom partnered with the job search platform Glassdoor. Implications for how to leverage WFH to compete for and retain talent will be discussed.

WFH and Urban, Rural, and Regional Reallocation of Work and Living in Australia
Michael Brennan, Chair of the Productivity Commission

Chair Brennan will discuss the Productivity Commission’s landmark 2021 research paper Working from Home. His session will focus on macroeconomic perspectives of WFH, how it will affect how companies and employees will organise their work, and how WFH will reshape local economies across urban, rural, and regional Australia.


WFH and the Evolution of Gender Gaps in the Workplace
Dr Maria Recalde, University of Melbourne

Dr Recalde will summarize what we know about the impacts of WFH on gender gaps in the workplace.  She will speak to evidence on how gender inequality evolved during and coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, how it continues to evolve as companies and employees reshape how they work, and implications for business policies looking to address gender gaps in a WFH future.

What are the Implications of WFH on Mental Health and Well-Being in the Workplace?
A/Prof Victoria Baranov, University of Melbourne

A/Prof Baranov will overview evidence and insights worldwide on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent transition to WFH on employees’ mental health and well-being and interrelated economic impacts. Implications for business and government policies aimed at ensuring the well-being and mental health of individuals will be discussed.

Industry Panel: Evolving the Workplace Toward a WFH Future
Ben Walsh, Chief Life Insurance Officer, AIA Australia
Andrew Wear, City Economist & Director, Economic Development and International, City of Melbourne
Steven Hamilton (Moderator), Assistant Professor of Economics, The George Washington University 

Bios

Nicholas Bloom (Keynote) is one of the world's most pre-eminent economic experts on firm productivity, management practices, and hybrid working structures. He is the William Eberle Professor of Economics at Stanford University and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts. His world-renowned research has been published in the leading academic journals in economics and featured in the Harvard Business Review, The Economist, Forbes, Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post, and numerous other media outlets worldwide.

See: “Hybrid Work Is Here To Stay. Now What? (Back to Work, Better)” for his recent interview on the future of WFH on the Harvard Business Review IdeaCast.

Michael Brennan is the Chair of the Productivity Commission. Previously he was Deputy Secretary, Fiscal Group, in the Federal Treasury and was responsible for budget policy, retirement incomes, Commonwealth-State relations, social policy, and infrastructure financing. Before that, Michael was Deputy Secretary, Economic in the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance, and an Associate Director in the economics and policy practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Maria Recalde is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of Melbourne and an affiliate of the Centre for Market Design. Much of her work uses cutting-edge experimental methods to investigate the often-hidden factors contributing to gender gaps in the workforce. It has been published in the top academic journals in economics and featured in media outlets such as the New York Times, Forbes, The Atlantic, and Harvard Business Review.

Victoria Baranov is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Victoria Melbourne and an affiliate of the Centre for Market Design. She is one of the world's foremost experts on the economics of mental health, often partnering with governments and NGOs worldwide to undertake her research. She received the 2020 Australian Health Economics Society Rising Star Award for her research and policy work on economic impacts of mental health and well-being.

Ben Walsh is Chief Life Insurance Officer, AIA Australia.  Prior to joining  AIA, Ben worked for Mercer and its sister company Marsh for more than 25 years.  He was the Managing Director and CEO of Mercer in Pacific, where he was responsible for delivering the firm's business segments of Health, Wealth and Career.  Ben was also the Australian Chief Country Officer for Mercer's parent, the global professional services firm Marsh & McLennan Companies (MMC) and a Director of seven Mercer Boards across Australia and New Zealand, including the Trustee of the AU$25 billion in funds under management Mercer Master Trust.

Andrew Wear is  City Economist and Director, Economic Development and International at the City of Melbourne, where he is playing a key role in Melbourne's response to the pandemic.  Andrew is the author of Solved. How other countries  cracked the world's biggest problems (and we can too) (2020) which has been translated into many languages.  His latest book is Recovery. How we can build create a better, brighter future after a crisis, which was published in September 2021.

Steven Hamilton (Moderator) is an Assistant Professor of Economics at The George Washington University in Washington DC.  Steven's primary area of research is public finance, where he studies the effects of taxes on behavior with a view to designing better tax policy.  Steven made significant contributions to small business support policy during the COVID-19 crisis, authoring a major small business support policy proposal for the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, and providing extensive commentary in the US and Australia on wage subsidies and other business support measures.  Steven is a former economist at the Australian Treasury, where he worked on the federal budget, and reviews of climate change policy and flood insurance.

David P. Byrne (Workshop Lead)is a Professor of Economics at the University of Melbourne and Deputy Director of the Centre for Market Design. He does empirical research in industrial organization, focusing on retail, energy, and resources. He has run numerous large-scale randomized control trials with businesses and governments to study consumer decision-making, and been an expert in antitrust cases and energy market design reviews in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.