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Harvard study reveals surprising impacts when employees are allowed to work not just from home, but anywhere

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A study found that “work from anywhere” policies increased productivity.

Source: hbr.org

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 are the highlights of the 50+ page study

– 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)

– They showed that in one department (Art department) teams created informal remote relationships when they were located near colleagues and this increased their productivity 

– Older WFA workers were more likely to move out of the region (Alexandria) than younger WFA workers, but both groups experienced a reduction in the 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

PTO’s remote worker avoided 84 million miles of travel thus reducing emissions by 44k tons

PTO saved $38M in RE

The study valued the productivity from PTO’s remote work program at $1.3 billion. It reduced commuter travel by 84M miles and emissions by 44k tons. And it saved the agency $38M in real estate costs.

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