Flexible working, in office or at home, is more popular than ever, but some managers still worry about working from home becoming “shirking from home.” A study published in February 2013 shows this fear to be more fiction than fact.
In December 2010, a team from Stanford University began a nine-month study of workers at a NASDAQ-listed, $5 billion Shanghai-based travel agency with 16,000 employees. About a thousand of these employees in Shanghai volunteered for the study and were randomly selected to work either from home or the office.
The researchers found a 13% performance boost for the at-home workers, who had fewer absences and higher productivity in the quieter home environment. The results prompted the company to offer the option to work from home to all its employees. More than half the study participants then switched from office to home or vice versa. Letting workers choose where to work boosted productivity even more—by 22%. The data speaks for itself. Work anywhere works.