Are Employees More Productive When Working In The Office Or Remotely?

Despite the fact that 50% of knowledge leaders are pushing to have their teams back in the office by the end of the year, and the US Bureau of Labour Statistics reporting a decrease in the amount of Americans working remotely, those working from home remain significantly more productive than those who work in the office.

Research from Future Forum shows that workers with full schedule flexibility report 29% higher productivity, and 53% greater ability to focus than workers with no ability to shift their schedule.

This echoes similar reports from Great Place to Work and The University of Chicago, both of which showed that working from home increased productivity by 6% and 7% respectively.

The reasons for increased productivity can be attributed to many things: no commute, less distraction and the ability to tailor your output to your personal energy cycle being the most common.

The fact remains that many workers are dealing with enforced RTO policies based on the assumptions of senior management, rather than cold hard facts.

Even before the pandemic and the rise in remote work, experts at the MIT Sloan Management Review were arguing that senior managers often struggled to look past the proximity bias that comes from seeing employees in the office.

This meant that those who committed to regular in-person catch ups and meetings were often promoted faster and earned more than those who worked remotely.

The phenomenon, while not new, has only accelerated post-Covid, with a Microsoft study reporting that 49% of managers struggle to trust that remote workers are excelling at their job.

However, enforcing a strict five-day a week in-office policy may backfire on companies who insist on it for employees, with 65% of US workers wanting to work remotely full time, and 32% opting for a hybrid schedule.

What’s most interesting about this change in attitude to work is that 60% of workers have indicated that if their flexibility was threatened or changed, they would have no problem seeking another job. And they are likely to find one that suits too, with 74% of US companies offering hybrid working arrangements and employee flexibility.

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