Stanford University

WORKING PAPER

The Future of Work: Work from Home Preparedness and Firm Resilience During the COVID-19 Pandemic

John (Jianqiu) Bai

Chi Wan

Social Science Research Network
July 22, 2020

We use the universe of U.S. job postings to construct a firm-level index that assesses each company’s work from home (WFH) suitability, and study its impact on firms’ resilience during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Using a difference-in-differences framework, we find strong evidence that, compared to their low-WFH peers, firms with high WFH index values have higher stock returns, lower return volatility, and better financial performance during the pandemic. Our results are robust to stringent empirical specifications that include a variety of fixed effects. Contrary to conventional wisdom, our results hold primarily in non-high-tech industries.

Stanford University