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Close the office - let your employees perform much better from home

Steen Uno
The office environment contains lots of interference and disturbances of any kind that make us significantly less effective than if we work from home - a Stanford professor is concluding after a two years study of the Chinese travel agency giant Ctrip.
Steen Uno

Steen Uno 

"It´s old school thinking and past work tradition, dating back to the industrial revolution if you demand and expect your employees stick to the desk.

Working from home is a future-looking technology with enormous potential," professor of economics at Stanford University, Nicholas Bloom, states.

For two years, he followed the Shanghai-based travel agency Ctrip to find out if the company giant with 30,000 employees would be able to continue its growth by lowering its office space costs without losing the efficiency of the employees.

Nicholas Bloom shared his volunteer participant in two groups. It turned out that the group which was working from home for nine months and just had to go to the office once a week did perform 13.5% stronger than the control group that was working full time in the office.

Extra workday

"Ctrip's results were amazing. With their staff working from home Ctrip hoped to save money on space and furniture and that these savings would outweigh the loss of productivity caused by the homeworking employees´ loser discipline and efficiency.

But instead, we found that the employees working from home handled 13.5% more calls than their colleagues doing their job at the office," the Stanford professor resumes.


According to Ctrip's study, their employees working from home did actually perform
13.5% higher than the colleagues at the office - almost an extra working day per week.    


"Ctrip thus got an extra workday a week from each of their home working office employees. At the same time they provided half as many terminations as their colleagues in the office - and not surprisingly, they also reported much higher job satisfaction."

After the nine-month project, the Chinese travel agency announced with satisfaction that they had saved $ 1,900 on each of the study's home working focus subjects.

And subsequently, Ctrip decided to give all employees the opportunity to do parts of their weekly work from their private homes.

Shorter breaks

Nicolas Bloom estimates that homeworkers achieve higher efficiency due to sharper concentration and focus when the working day is no longer beginning in a car queue, stressing for reaching the train, etc., so transport time can convert to productive home working hours.

"A significant part of the remarkably higher productivity is probably the result of a calmer working environment. To my mind open offices are terribly distracting and disturbing places to work concentrated," the professor adds.

According to Eurostat, 13.7% of the Dutch workforce is currently estimated to feel
free to work from their private home.


Another recent US study reports that nearly a third of office workers in the United States spent their entire working hours in their offices. British forecasts predict that half of the nation's office workers will work remotely in 2020.

A survey from June 2018 by the EU Statistical Organization Eurostat shows that 13.7 of the Dutch workforce - as the highest score of all EU countries - to some extent have the opportunity to perform from home.

Social isolation

However, social scientists and experts are warning that too much work at the distance might lead to professional and social isolation from the workplace.

"When working at the distance, you also cut off from the social dimension at work. It's not the big problem if your homework is limited and you know your colleagues very well.

But the importance of daily small-talking at work with your colleagues physically should indeed not be underestimated," Danish work environment researcher Karen Albertsen points out.  ●                             

MatchOffice News December 2018Read more: Working from home in the EU 8 productivity hacks for working from home 10 Things You Need to do to Successfully Work From Home











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