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.
“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.
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.
About 135 million Americans commute to work, and according to a 2016 survey by research firm Global Workplace Analytics (GWA), 50 percent of them have jobs they could do remotely at least part time. If all those workers skipped the commute just every other day, we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as we would by taking 9 million cars off the road.
The article points to employer and employee benefits of remote work including reduced work-life conflict, lower greenhouse gas emissions, a reduction on the outbound migration of talent, and even...increased voter turnout!
Gallup finds huge shift in employee engagement among remote employees. Highest now among those who do so 60-80% of the time, up from 20% of the time just last year.
All employees who spend at least some (but not all) of their time working remotely have higher engagement than those who
don’t ever work remotely. And the tipping point for optimal engagement has
increased dramatically — from less than 20% of time to 60% to 80% of time
The report also found those who work remotely 2-3 days a week feel substantially more productive than those who are office-bound or are who work remotely less frequently.
I just finished reading a telecommuting research report published by oneDrum.com, a U.K.-based company that’s working on making Word, Excel, and Powerpoint truly collaborative. In other words, you and your virtual colleagues could be simultaneously working on the same document! Based on a November 2009 survey of over 1,200 U.K.-based employers and employees, oneDrum found that the inadequate technology, not worker mistrust, was the top...
Randy Duermyer, About.com’s Home Business Expert, always has something interesting going on. His recent poll asked the question: Did you find work from home or did it find you? Of the 7,600+ people who responded (yeah, his readership is huge), 16% said they went after it and got it. Now call me a glass-half-full kinda gal, but I think that should be an inspiration to...
Virginia Telework Day could save employees, companies, and communities millions and spare the environment of the greenhouse gas equivalent of taking 1,500 cars off the road. Imagine what a National Telework Day, or better yet, year-round telework program could do.
We had some fun doing a webinar with Alpine Access today. They’re, one of the leading virtual call centers with about 3,000 home-based agents in more than 34 states. The webinar was about the many myths that surround the home-based call center concept, but the issues we covered are similar for any company that’s considering a telecommuting workforce. Below is a slideshow of the presentation....