Telework Comes Up Trumps (Again)

teleworkWas Marissa Mayer right to ban telecommuting at Yahoo?

This week I read an interesting article on a very recent study conducted by Nicholas Bloom, a professor of economics at Stanford University, and graduate student James Liang, who is also a co-founder of the Chinese travel website Ctrip.  The study once again pitted teleworking staff against office-bound staff in an effort to ascertain who were the most efficient, productive and satisfied employees and telework comes up trumps (again).

Ctrip gave the staff at Ctrip’s call centre the opportunity to volunteer to work from home for nine months. Half the volunteers were allowed to telecommute; the rest remained in the office as a control group. Survey responses and performance data collected at the conclusion of the study revealed that, in comparison with the employees who came into the office, the at-home workers were not only happier and less likely to quit but also more productive.

Some key findings

  • People working from home completed 13.5 per cent more calls than the staff in the office did – meaning that Ctrip got almost an extra workday a week out of them.

  • They [people working from home] also quit at half the rate of people in the office – way beyond what we anticipated.

  • At-home workers reported much higher job satisfaction and Ctrip saved $US1,900 per employee on furniture and space for the nine months

  • They [the people working from home] started earlier, took shorter breaks and worked until the end of the day.

  • They [the people working from home] had no commute, they didn’t run errands at lunch and sick days for employees working from home plummeted.

Some key conclusions

  • The more robotic the work, the greater the benefits, [we think].

  • The evidence still suggests that with most jobs, a good rule of thumb is to let employees have one to two days a week at home.

  • It’s [working from home is] hugely beneficial to their well-being, helps you attract talent and lowers attrition.

  • We found that the younger workers whose social lives are more connected to the office tend to not want to work from home as much

This was a great article because it was so recent.  And while the findings clearly state that telework isn’t for everyone, the author’s felt that it was for the bulk of jobs and the bulk of people.  Read the full BRW article here.  Have you ever been involved in a teleworking pilot? Was it found as effective as it has here or did you get different results?


Leigh Grigaliunas

Leigh is an owner and co-founder of School Hours Pty Ltd.Leigh's passion for helping others coupled with his desire to achieve a balance between raising children and earning a living, lead him to create School Hours Pty Ltd with his wife Yasmin.School Hours will be the place to go for Australian parents wanting to connect with progressive thinking, family friendly employers.

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