Why working from home should be standard practice

Nicholas Bloom is a Professor in the department of economics at Stanford University. He also co-directs the Productivity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship program at the US’ National Bureau of Economic Research.

He conduced a study which he discussed on his TEDxStanford Talk: “Go Ahead, Tell your boss you are working from home.” 

Bloom wanted to really convince people. So he conducted a study with James Liang, the co-founder and CEO of Ctrip, China’s largest travel agency. Employees had to endure long commutes to the city centre as living close to work proved to be not affordable.

Bloom and Liang designed a randomised controlled trial to put remote work to the test. The main concern was that, as a call centre, the majority of the company were very young. Would they be able to resist bed, the TV and the fridge?

The results were amazing.

 “It was unbelievable. Ctrip saved $1,900 per employee over the course of the study on office space, and we knew this would happen,” Bloom says.

“But to our amazement, the work-from-home employees were far from goofing off — they increased productivity by 13.5 percent over those working in the office. That’s like getting an extra day’s work from each employee.”

The people working from home equally reported shorter breaks, fewer sick days and took less time off.

Bloom concludes by staying companies have little to lose – and much to gain. One or two days a week is probably the ideal amount of time to work from home.

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