Home-Based Workers Are More Productive
If youâre a U.S. worker, thereâs a 10 percent chance that you work from home at least once a week, and a 4.3 percent chance that you work from home most of the time. And if youâre one of those working from home, youâre likely a more productive worker, at least according to a study recently published by Stanford.
More employees working from home than ever before, and yet widespread skepticism about the practice remains. Policies vary wildly from company to company, even within the same industry. For example, according to the paper, JetBlueâs call center employees work from home the vast majority of the time, but Delta and Southwest have no work-from-home program.
To study whether employees are more or less productive at home or in the office, the researchers created perhaps the first randomized study of remote work at Ctrip, a travel agency in Shanghai, China with 13,000 employees. One of the co-authors of the paper, James Liang, actually used to be the CEO of Ctrip and was still the chairman at the time of the study, giving the team unique access and insight into the companyâs management strategies.
Ctrip was concerned about the rising costs of office space, and a 50 percent annual attrition rate. The company found 255 employees in its airfare and hotel divisions who both wanted to work from home and met a few requirements to do so. (They had worked for the company for at least 6 months, had broadband access at home and a private room to work from.) The researchers then split those 255 volunteers into two groups: those with even-numbered birthdays would work from home four out of five days a week, those with odd-numbered birthdays stayed in the office. Employees who worked from home had the same supervisors (who were all office-based) and worked the same shifts as their counterparts to ensure a direct comparison.