Is Working From Home More Productive?

Letting people work from home saves a lot of energy and keeps people off the roads. However, many still call it “shirking from home” and are not convinced that people who do it are as effective or productive as those who go to the office. Klint Finley at Wired points to a new study done at China’s largest travel agency, CTrip. The company was concerned about the high cost of Shanghai real estate and the high attrition rate among its call center workers.

Workers on the same shift with the same manager were broken into two groups, one working in the office and the other at home. The WFH (work from home) group had a 13% increase in performance, 9.5% of which came from working more minutes per hour (fewer breaks and sick days) and the balance from doing more calls per minute, attributed to quieter working conditions. The job attrition rate dropped by half.

The company also calculated that it saved $2,000 per employee in office costs. Surprisingly, when the experiment was over, almost half of those who were working from home in the experiment asked to come back to work in the office; the ones who performed best at home were the ones who preferred to stay at home. Clearly WFH doesn’t work for everyone. But giving people the choice of home or office improved everyone’s performance.

(Link to PDF of study by Nicholas Bloom, James Liang, John Roberts and Zhichun Jenny Ying here.)

Do you have any personal experience with working from home? Are you more or less productive? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!


10 Green Work from Home Tips
New Green Work Spaces
Fall into Work: Inspiring Home Offices

By Lloyd Alter, TreeHugger


Lency Lenin
Lency Lenin4 years ago

Working from home has many advantages, from being our own boss,the personal freedom that we can enjoy,spend more time with friends and family,and mainly its a creative outlet that boosts our confidence.I experience this day to day since I work from my home.I have been into online business for the past few years,I do reselling business with and make a good turnover at the same time spend time with my family too...

Dorothy Jacob
.4 years ago

good post

Lyn Simcock
Lyn Simcock5 years ago

There have been days when I simply haven't been able to get my job done in the office (phone calls, people stopping by to ask for things or for help with something they're doing, regular fire drills, etc, etc). Fortunately my boss knows that I do actually work when I say I'm working from home and will accept my requests to take things home to complete. The actual hours I work are my own choice, so I usually start later in the morning that I would at the office - so long as the work is done, everyone's happy.

Mac C.
mac C5 years ago

Nice to have that choice. Good article. Thank you.

Terry V.
Terry V5 years ago

thank you

Christy P.
Christy P5 years ago

I used to work from home most of the time - and I can confirm you get FAR more done, and better, than at the office. There's not a colleague who wouldn't agree with that. I will say this, though: I'd have gone insane if we didn't have regular meetings at the office; you need the contact with your co-workers, if just for a good round of gossip!

Berny p.
Berny p5 years ago

I can well believe that. Usually far less distractions.

Marie W.
Marie W5 years ago

With smartphones in the office- few are working.

J.L. A.
j A5 years ago

For most projects and tasks, it is more productive--but it is also important to ensure good communication with co-workers, colleagues and supervisors is built into how it is done.

Elaine A.
Elaine Al Meqdad5 years ago

It really takes an individual who is highly disciplined, that will not succumb to distractions of any kind. Or, if working for a company... ethical as well due they are paying you for work that they are assuming that you are doing rather than watching TV etc...