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Over 10% of US employees now regularly work from home (WFH), but there is widespread
skepticism over its impact and worries about “shirking from home”. We report the results of a WFH
experiment at CTrip, a 16,000 employee NASDAQ-listed Chinese multinational. Call center
employees who volunteered to WFH were randomly assigned to work from home or in the office
for 9 months. Working from home led to a 13% performance increase, of which about 8.6% is from
working more minutes per shift (fewer breaks and sick-days) and 4% from more calls per minute
(attributed to a quieter working environment). Home workers also reported improved work
satisfaction and their job attrition rate fell by 50%. After the experiment, the firm rolled the
program out to all employees, letting them choose home or office working. Interestingly, only half
of the treatment group decided to work at home, with the other half reallocating in favor of office
working. After employees were allowed to choose where to work, the performance impact of WFH
almost doubled, highlighting the benefits of choice when adopting modern management practices
like home working.
What is one software you cannot live without when tele-commuting? For me Basecamp and Dropbox both are required. What is Your Favorite?