Over two-thirds of employers report increased productivity amongst employees that work from home at least part of the work week, an increase that studies have pinned at anywhere from 13% to 55%. In one influential study, a Chinese company that tested a work-from-home policy saw a 13% increase in performance over nine months, and a staggering 50% drop in employee quit rates. Executives were so pleased that they rolled out the policy to all 16,000 employees, and then saw productivity increase further, up to 22%. Other large companies have documented even greater productivity gains: Best Buy, British Telecom, Dow Chemical, JD Edwards, American Express, and Compaq, to name a few.
So what exactly is driving these gains in productivity? Researchers found that the flexibility to work from home engages workers and fosters wellbeing, both of which contribute to employee productivity. In fact, Gallup research has found that highly engaged workforces lead to 41% lower absenteeism, 40% fewer quality defects, and 21% higher profitability. Interestingly, studies have also shown that the optimal engagement boost occurs when employees spend most––but not all––of their time working remotely. Gallup has found the sweet spot to be 60% to 80% remote work. As a Gensler Research Institute paper states, “effectiveness outside the office brings effectiveness back to the office too.”