Some very large, well-known companies have rolled back their work at home policies in the past few years, citing a lack of productivity and fewer opportunities for employee collaboration. However, according to Nicholas Bloom, a Professor of Economics at Stanford, a recent two-year study revealed that employees who work at home had a massive increase in productivity.
The work at home employees were more productive (they worked the equivalent of an extra day every month) thanks to fewer distractions and meaningless conversations. In addition, they tended to remain in their jobs longer, were happier, and took fewer sick days.
How does working from home impact employee engagement? Gallup data shows that employees who work from home three to four days a week are more likely (41 percent vs. 30 percent) to feel engaged and less likely (48 percent vs. 55 percent) to feel disengaged than people who work in a shared office space.
Why does working from home produce such desirable outcomes? We know that one of Millennials’ top criteria for a great place to work is flexible work arrangements. People in younger generations do not want to be bound to a fixed work schedule or location. We also know that people of all generations do not like being watched or micro-managed. For these reasons, it makes sense that autonomy and knowing leaders trust you equals increased engagement.
WHAT CAN I DO? If you work in an organization where senior leaders are “old school” and only think people are working if they can actually see them working, consider sharing this new data, as this perception is incorrect. Your organization and the people it serves will benefit from having a workforce that stays longer, is happy, calls in sick less and is more engaged. And you will be in a better position to hire the best and brightest talent in the marketplace, as many Millennials and Gen Zers will only work for organizations that work with them and meet their needs.
The original version of this post was published on Jill Christensen International.