Here’s some solid ammunition for professionals wanting to skip a day at the office: working from home can boost productivity by up to 13%.
According to a new study by Stanford University, a nine month experiment with employees from Ctrip’s Shanghai office, found those who worked from home were more productive.
After a lottery draw, some staff members stayed in the office as a control group while others worked from home – all employees remained doing the same jobs, with the same working hours, with the same equipment and reporting to the same managers.
“We found several striking results,” the study stated. “First, the performance of the home workers went up dramatically, increasing by 13% over the nine months of the experiment. This improvement came mainly from a 9% increase in the number of minutes they worked during their shifts (i.e. the time they were logged in to take calls). This was due to reductions in breaks, time off and sick-days taken by the home workers.”
The remaining 4% of improvement came from home workers increasing the number of calls per minute worked.
The workers attributed this increase in time worked to the greater convenience of being at home, while their increased output per minute was down to home being “quiet”.
However, for most employees, working from home was a little too quiet.
Despite such positive results, many staff members claimed working from home isn’t for everyone – and when the company offered working from home options to all employees after the study, about half of them decided to come back to the office instead.
“In particular, two thirds of the control group decided to stay in the office, citing concerns over the loneliness of home working,” the study revealed.
“Half of the treatment group changed their minds and returned to the office – especially those who had performed relatively badly at home, but also ones who found the lack of social contact particularly costly.”
The study also delved into how revenue levels were impacted from working at home. It highlighted the firm improved total factor productivity by between 20% to 30% and saved about $2,000 per year, per employee working at home.
About two third of this improvement came from the reduction in office space and the rest from improved employee performance and reduced turnover