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Work from Home Arrangements and Organizational Performance in Italian SMEs :Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic


  • Laura Abrardi
  • Elena Grinza
  • Allessandro Manello
  • Flavio Porta


We use survey data on Italian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) collected during the COVID-19 pandemic to explore the relationship between the adoption of work from home (WFH) practices and organizational performance. In so doing, we investigate the possible underlying mechanisms, including measures of labor productivity and workers’ concentration and motivation, the level of absenteeism, the organization of work through management by objectives (MBO), and the presence of coordination and communication costs. We obtain several results. First, we find a significantly enhanced capability of firms that adopted WFH during the pandemic to sustain the overall organizational performance, particularly when such work practice is used intensively. Second, increased labor productivity and workers’ concentration and motivation, decreased absenteeism, and a substantial rise in the adoption of MBO seem to be the main drivers behind the detected benefits related to WFH. Third, when WFH is used at medium levels of intensity, it is associated with augmented coordination and communication costs, which nonetheless do not appear to overcome the benefits associated with WFH.

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  • Laura Abrardi & Elena Grinza & Allessandro Manello & Flavio Porta, 2022. "Work from Home Arrangements and Organizational Performance in Italian SMEs :Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic," Working Papers CEB 22-010, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/346683

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Work from home (WFH); teleworking; agile working; smart working; organizational performance; labor productivity; management by objectives (MBO); COVID-19; small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); survey data;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

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