Study Shows Marissa Mayer’s No Telecommuting Policy Was Wrong All Along

Working from home increases productivity study says

Working from home increases productivity study says

In the finance industry, this question is not as relevant (yet), but startups who want to provide flexibility and good morale within their companies, often offer work from home days, or hire remote contractors.

A few years ago, you would be hard pressed to find jobs offering remote options, but now, a search on LinkedIn or Craigslist will reveal that more and more jobs are offering employees partial or fully remote jobs.

In 2013, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer enacted a no work from home strategy because she concluded it is bad for work culture and efficiency. But according to Peter Cohan in a 2013 Forbes article, Mayer had it all wrong. Harvard Business Review agrees, as does US News, and the Oxford Journals.

In fact, two Harvard students in conjunction with Chinese firm Ctrip, ran a comprehensive 9-month experiment with employees who could work from home, and employees who couldn’t. The results of the experiment would be surprising to Mayer.

So what were the results of the experiment? First, the performance of the home-workers went up dramatically, increasing by 13% over the course of the nine months. This increase in output came mainly from a rise in the number of minutes they worked during each shift, which was due to a reduction in the number of breaks and sick days that they took. The home-workers were also more productive per minute, which employees told us (in detailed surveys) was due to the quieter working conditions at home.

Second, there was no change in the performance of the control group (and there were no negative effects seen from staying in the office). Third, the rate of staff turnover fell sharply for the home-workers, dropping by almost 50% compared to the control group. The home-workers also reported substantially higher work satisfaction and less “work exhaustion” in a psychological attitudes survey. 

With startups like WeWork sprouting off-site locations in the U.S. and beyond for working remotely, the work from home philosophy has gained more not less traction. Since Mayer first created a media storm with her policy, studies have suggested she was wrong.

And people working from home may be sharing a collective chuckle at her expense.

 

 

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