July 2017
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Is Working From Home Better Than Working in the Office?
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Although workforces are becoming more spread out and technologies such as videoconferencing are making workplaces more fluid, employees who work exclusively from home are still getting a bad rap. Their jobs aren’t viewed as legitimate, and they aren’t as valued as their more traditional counterparts. However, this notion isn’t necessarily based in reality. According to Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Nicholas Bloom, requiring employees to be in the office is an outdated work tradition. Such inflexibility ignores employee desires needlessly and actually hurts employers and their workers. “Working from home is a future-looking technology,” Bloom said during TEDxStanford, which took place in April. “I think it has enormous potential.” To back up this claim, Bloom studied China’s largest travel agency, Ctrip. The company employees 20,000 individuals and is worth around $20 billion. Ctrip’s leaders solicited worker volunteers for a study in which half of those selected would work from home for nine months, while the others came into the office every day. “We found massive, massive improvement in performance—a 13% improvement in performance from people working at home,” Bloom says. Two immediate reasons for this were apparent. First, employees working from home actually worked their full shift. Those coming into the office were often distracted or delayed. Second, those working from home were better able to concentrate. The office is incredibly distracting, and—although it might be counterintuitive—it might not be the best place to work.

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