Good article with lots of data to support the benefits of remote work including increased productivity, better work-life balance, being able to live in more affordable areas, and more.
Harvard study reveals surprising impacts when employees are allowed to work not just from home, but anywhere
A study found that “work from anywhere” policies increased productivity.
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)
- 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.
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.
“We have listened and learned,” CEO Charlie Scharf said in an email to employees worldwide.
U.K. employees were reportedly so distressed by the move they were considering legal action. "We did not fully appreciate the level of impact this would have on those employees with existing arrangements,” said CEO Scharf. He originally backed the move citing increased collaboration and quicker decision making, but after the employee outcry, announced he was rethinking the move.
"The GitLab team handbook is the central repository for how we run the company. Printed, it consists of over 2,000 pages of text. As part of our value of being transparent the handbook is open to the world, and we welcome feedback.
Why would you want to read a 2,000 page employee handbook? Because it's amazing. It covers everything from their core values to chat/email etiquette. There's a whole chapter devoted to communications protocols including how to keep virtual workers from feeling ostracized. Another chapter not only reveals the dozens of apps they use to manage their work, but details about how to use them.
A UC Davis researcher quoted in the article suggests there's an unconscious perception that people who are seen around the office during regular working hours are more reliable, committed, dependable than remote workers (including telecommuters and those who travel heavily). In fact, Microsoft's 'unconscious bias' training includes an example of forgetting to invite remote workers to a meeting.
The worry is that the 'not-being-seen'-bias could result in poorer performance reviews. It suggests including social time with remote workers and making sure managers judge their people by what they do, rather than their subjective feelings toward them.
RA 11165 or An Act Institutionalizing Telecommuting as an Alternative Work Arrangement for Employees in the Private Sector encourages employers to adopt telecommuting - a work arrangement that allows an employee to work from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunication and/or computer technologies.
The new law does not require employers to offer telecommuting, it simply requires that if they do, they ensure they are treated no differently than other employees. It specifically mentions having appropriate training, technology, and access to colleagues and advancement opportunities. These have proven critical to the success of work-at-home programs in the U.S. and elsewhere, so it's good to see them baked into law.
Reducing traffic and improving work-life balance are the primary drivers of the telecommuting law.
17 Reasons you should formalize your mobile, activity-based, or unassigned desk program. Plus dozens of tips for how to do it.
New research shows strong trend toward formal workplace policies around activity-based working, unassigned desks, mobile work, and telework. Here’s what you need to know.
If you've been running your workplace program without formal policies, practices, and training, this is a must read. It's based on a new benchmarking report sponsored by IFMA's Workplace Evolutionaries.
The 'Tips' section offers dozens of must-have policies and guidelines for:
- Space usage
- Tools and Technology
- Remote or mobile workers
- And more
This study, conducted by Staples, included over 500 Canadian employees.
The report covers a wide range of topics and is well worth reading if you're interested in what's happening in Canadian work trends. It includes a surprise section on what employees want and expect from their facility managers and how they feel about their offices.
Highlights of the Facilities Management (FM) section:
- 82% of employees feel their FM plays a role in their success
- 59% say FMs are underappreciated
- 65% say the FMs role should be strategic and they should be given maximum resources to get their job done
- Only 29% of employers offer agile seating
- 38% work in open space, 38% work in semi-open space, and 23% work in mostly closed offices
- 66% spend some of their time working outside the office. Of those 48% sometime work at home and 17% sometimes work in co-working spaces
- 48% say the look and feel of the office space is a major factor in selecting an employer
Other topics covered in the study include:
- Workplace distractions
- Health and wellness
- Seasonal and vacation habits