Home News Is a Home Office Actually More Productive? Some Workers Think So

Is a Home Office Actually More Productive? Some Workers Think So

Is a Home Office Actually More Productive? Some Workers Think So

Some Americans have a new outlook on remote working: They prefer it.

In June and July, a group of 1,388 people working from home were asked for their impressions of the experience by workplace consulting firm Global Workplace Analytics and video technology company Owl Labs.

The new arrangement, it turns out, suited many of them.

While roughly 27% said they would have considered such a setup to be ideal before the coronavirus pandemic started, 80% said they would like to continue working remotely for three days of the week or more once the pandemic is over. Many of these people said they would prefer remote work all five days of the workweek.

Another set of 10,000 employees surveyed by the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago say they felt the work-from-home situation was either just as productive or more so than the office. Some told the researchers that home was 30% more productive.

“On average, workers and employers have been pleasantly surprised by productivity when working from home,” says Steven Davis, one of the study authors and a University of Chicago business and economics professor. “Reality exceeded expectations.”

The end of 9-to-5

The many changes imposed by the pandemic are acting as another challenge to the 9-to-5 workday model, which was already under threat before the pandemic. In 2019, more than 87% of full-time U.S. employees averaged eight-and-a-half hours per workday, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

By last June and July, a group of 2,025 full-time workers who worked remotely and non remotely told Global Workplace Analytics and Owl Labs that they were working more during COVID-19.

How much more? An average of 26 extra hours a month, according to the survey. Another estimate, from New York University Stern School of Business doctoral student Michael Impink, shows average daily work hours increasing 8-15%, depending on the day of the week. He examined data from more than 3.4 million workers, counting the time from their first day’s work correspondence to their last.

Not everyone clocked more time at home. More than 40% of employees surveyed by Global Workforce Analytics and Owl Labs said their hours stayed the same while working remotely.

For those who believe a home-office setup is more productive, is it because of a lack of commute or fewer office interruptions?

Mr. Davis’s study declined to offer a single explanation, saying it is “not obvious whether offices or homes have fewer distractions and more quiet time.” There are “co-workers and water coolers” in the office, while televisions and “potentially children” serve as home diversions.

The danger is that a workweek expansion could erode work-life boundaries and contribute to employee burnout.

“The traditional 9-5, Monday through Friday, has been fading for years and the pandemic just accelerated that process,” says Cali Williams Yost, chief executive and founder at workplace consulting company Flex+Strategy Group. “Individuals and teams now need to be intentional about setting up the guardrails for themselves. What that means for the individual is, we need to be more intentional about planning: what needs to get done and when and where we do it best.”

Will remote work stick?

Employers weren’t prepared for the shift to remote work. But some did make things easier by providing employees everything from stipends for home-office equipment to better videoconferencing hookups.

The largest pickup in remote work happened at employers specializing in educational services and finance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Roughly 60% of educational services and 58% of finance companies boosted telework for at least some employees as a result of the pandemic.

Service companies in the food, retail, and construction were among the lowest adopters since it is more difficult to do their work remotely. In those cases, fewer than 20% of employers increased telework.

Will remote work last at the companies that embraced it in 2020? Consumer brand companies are betting the work-from-home culture is here to stay by expanding and revamping factories that make everything from coffee to casual clothes.

The key to remote-work longevity, say some observers, is whether companies can formalize guidelines so all employees are treated equally across the organization. If that happens, they say, companies and workers may benefit.

“It’s not going to be a flip of the switch,” Ms. Yost says. Instead, she expects it to be a “slow recalibration to that next normal.”

Eskalera, a Startup Led by Goldman Sachs’ Former HR Head Has Launched a Diversity and Inclusion Index

Eskalera, a technology startup led by Goldman Sachs former human resources head Dane Holmes, has launched an index to measure corporate diversity and inclusiveness,...

HSBC to Remove 35,000 Jobs Amidst Covid-19 Crises

HSBC Holdings Plc has restarted cutting as many as 35,000 jobs, three months after the coronavirus outbreak forced it to pause a long-awaited overhaul...

Genpact Offers Its Internal Skill Training Program Globally for Everyone

Genpact has announced Adapt and Rise, a role-based online learning platform that leverages Genpact's expertise honed from delivering real-world change for hundreds of clients....

San-Francisco Based Learning Platform Degreed Has Raised $32 Million in New Funding

The upskilling platform, Degreed, has announced $32 million in new funding in direct response to overwhelming demand for better skill insights, talent mobility, and...

Research Shows the Implications of Workplace Layouts on Employee Productivity and Overall Performance

As some workplaces prepare for the gradual return of employees and overhaul office layouts and seating plans, research has shown this could also have...

Employee Concierge ‘Back Technologies’ Integrates Automation Into Internal HR and Other Support Tasks

Companies are under increasing pressure to automate workflows and digitally service their employees, particularly in light of trends toward remote work. It takes an...

HR Strategies to Help Your Business Navigate the New ‘Normal’

No business is immune to the massive changes resulting from the health crisis. Organizations have proven themselves to be agile, and employees have demonstrated...

The Importance Of Diversity And Inclusion In HR, Hiring, Talent Management: Thoughts From A Top Expert

Michael C. Hyter is one of today’s best-known experts on inclusion and diversity and the author of The Power of Choice: Embracing Efficacy to Drive Your Career and The...

HR Expert Highlights Actionable Steps to ‘Make Real Change’ Against Racism in Your Workplace

Kyra Leigh Sutton, Ph.D., is a faculty member at the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations, where she teaches human resources courses...

Adidas Employees Want Company to Investigate HR Chief for Response to Racial Issues

A group of Adidas employees from around the globe is asking the company to investigate its chief human resources officer, as part of a...