Harvard study examines work from anywhere vs. work from home vs. working from an office and uncovers new findings.
A team from Harvard used 8 years of data from the US Patent & Trademark Office to examine the difference in outcomes between work-from-home (WFH) vs. work-from-anywhere (WFA) programs. Here's what they found:
-WFA employees who lived within a reasonable distance from colleagues, may form remote connections which, in one department (the Art department) led to increased productivity
-They confirmed earlier research showing productivity was higher for all remote workers
-The productivity increase was greatest among WFA workers (4.4% percentage points higher than WFH), and lowest among WFH who lived >50 miles from the office (with the productivity increase among those who lived <50 miles from the office falling in between)
-Older WFA workers were more likely to move out of the region (Alexandria) than younger WFA workers, but both groups experienced a reduction in their cost-of-living
-For remote workers whose job required significant interaction with colleagues, having a mandated set of IT tools increased productivity even further (3%)
-There was no decline in quality among either group of remote workers
The study estimated the outcomes of PTO's remote worker program to include $1.3B in increased productivity, $38M in real estate savings, reduced travel totaling 84 million miles, and reducing emissions by 44k tons.
Citrix commissioned a survey of 5,000 U.S. office workers that hold positions which could be carried out remotely. These are most likely to be knowledge workers who effectively think for a living.
The study found that 70% of office workers who currently reside in cities say they would be very or fairly likely to relocate to the suburbs if it wouldn't impede their career. Lower costs and better worklife balance were cited as the most common drivers (83% and 77% respectively). Other key findings included:
- 85% say they could do their job effectively from any location
- 81% felt a rural location would offer better worklife balance
The full study can be downloaded here.
New research documents positive impact of biophilic design on human performance in both simulated and real environments
Defending his dissertation, Harvard PhD candidate Yin Jie uses VR, eye-tracking, and biometric sensors to measure the impact of biophilic design on human performance.
Yie Jie conducted three experiments (one with 28 participants, one with 30, and another with one hundred) in an attempt to quantify the impact of physiological and cognitive responses to different indoor biophilic designs. His results showed:
- Both real and virtual reality biophilic experiences showed similar responses including reduced blood pressure, skin conductivity, and better short term memory.
- Compared to the base case environment with no biophilia, indoor biophilic environments in both open and enclosed office spaces resulted in lower levels of physical stress and higher creativity scores.
- Participants in virtual biophilic environments recovered from stress more quickly than those in virtual non-biophilic ones.
It’s about how you approach work, not how long you spend there.
Work-a-holics possess over work and even if they don't work long hours, they are still more likely to develop cardiovascular disease or diabetes than non-work-a-holics. By contrast, the research cited in this HBR article suggests that while those who work long hours not because they are possessed, but because they love what they do, are generally not at greater risk for serious health problems. The difference appears to be the ability to let it go and refresh. It the chronic rumination that is most toxic.
06/20/2019 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM - Despite escalating investments in workplace programs, human capital challenges have become perennial. For the last decade, talent scarcity has remained among the top five CEO concerns and employee engagement scores have barely improved. By leveraging an evidence-based approach and leaning on 150 years of science, workplace strategists have the opportunity to drive measurable outcomes for people and business."
This webinar will reveal an innovative approach that allows workplace strategists to make informed decisions and move the needle on what matters.
The speaker is Dr. Shreya Sarkar-Barney, founder and CEO of Human Capital Growth (HCG), an evidence-based talent management firm. Combining science and analytics, HCG helps organizations such as Microsoft, Merck, General Mills, and Ecolab achieve better leader and talent outcomes.
Carnival and Disney are leveraging technology to delight their customers.
A simple wristband makes it possible for the Magic Kingdom to grant you access to rides, pay for food and other goodies, unlock your hotel room, enjoy a personal hello from Goofy or a birthday song from Mickey, and deliver pictures you didn't even know you posed for (HBR).
The (optional) medallion Carnival gives you is your key to not just your rooms, but get drinks and food delivered to wherever you happen to be, the ability to find and track your onboard friends, and of course, easily lose some money in the casino. It helps the cruise line account for people in an emergency, track their workers, schedule maid service when you leave your room, and much more.
Privacy issues abound, but what can we in workplace design learn from these and other consumer pioneers?
"The value of horizontal teamwork is widely recognized. Employees who can reach outside their silos to find colleagues with complementary expertise learn more, sell more, and gain skills faster."
The article points to a variety of research on the importance of cross-functional teams and acknowledges how difficult creating those connections can be. It suggests 4 strategies for success:
1) Develop and use cultural brokers, people inside the organization who have experience in multiple sectors and functions and can bridge the gap and solidify connections
2) Teach people to ask (the right) questions and challenge conceived notions about one another
3) Get people to see the world through one another's eyes
4) Broaden your employees' vision by creating opportunities for them to widen their horizons both internally and externally
Employees are eager to embrace retraining—and companies need to seize this as a competitive opportunity.
It would be impossible to do justice to this article in a few paragraphs but here are the key takeaways:
- Six categories of disruption of the future of work:
- Accelerating Technological Change
- Growing Demand for Skills
- Changing Employee Expectations
- Shifting Labor Demographics
- Transitioning Work Models
- Evolving Business Environment
- Employees are better than leaders at focusing on what these disruptors will mean to them
- Employees are eager for re-skilling. They feel it's their responsibility, not their employers or the governments. Still they're worried about how.
- Employers think otherwise. They think employees are resistant.
- Employees are worried about freelancers and contractors taking their jobs
"Employees exposed to a workplace wellness program reported significantly greater rates of some positive health behaviors compared with those who were not exposed, but there were no significant effects on clinical measures of health, health care spending and utilization, or employment outcomes after 18 months."
By all reports the research behind the latest report that workplace wellness programs don't work is to be admired. But while I agree the research was conducted properly, it, like so many similar studies fails to account for the impact of wellness on productivity. Healthcare costs are minuscule compared to the productivity lost to presenteeism (being at work, but not performing your best) and absenteeism. Until we start measuring that, we won't know whether our interventions are worth the bother.
We have never been subject to more workplace noise and distraction than we are now, but the challenges are more complex than they first appear
Workplace Insight just produced an excellent round-up of research on the impact of noise on human performance. If you follow the topic, there won't be any big surprises, but it's great to have the data all in one place. Here's some of the research cited in the report:
- The noise problem is getting worse
- 60% of work is individual, not collaborative
- A third of employees say the have to leave the building to focus
- 63% of employees say they don't have access to quiet space
- 40% of executives understand the negative impact of noise on productivity, but only 6% mitigate it
- 75% of the noise problem is subjective
- Only 25% of the noise problem relates to its volume
- Even low levels of noice can reduce cognitive performance by 30%
- Some noise is good for creativity