Why working from Home should be standard practice

And if your boss is on the fence, here’s a compelling case study — from economics professor Nicholas Bloom

Quick — imagine a person working from home. If you pictured somebody in pajamas watching videos on their laptop, you’re not alone. “Many people think of working from home as shirking off work,” says Stanford University economics professor Nicholas Bloom (TEDxStanford Talk: Go ahead, tell your boss you are working from home).

But Bloom thought there had to be more to telecommuting than binge-watching Netflix. The professor — who co-directs the Productivity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship program at the US’s National Bureau of Economic Research — had worked from home at a previous job, and he recognized that it’s becoming more and more common around the world. In the US, the number of employees who telecommute has tripled over the past 30 years, although it’s still only 2.4 percent. “Out of the 150 million Americans who work, that means roughly 3.6 million Americans work from home,” says Bloom. However, in developing countries — where mobile technology and improving digital connectivity have coincided with congestion and skyrocketing rents in cities — between 10 and 20 percent of employees work remotely at least part of the time.

He found few unbiased studies on the subject. “Everything I saw was pro-working from home and put out by people who were for it from the outset. The people against it have stayed quiet,” Bloom says. Plus, it’s not an easy subject to investigate. “It requires close monitoring and enough participants to fill experimental and control groups, and the participants need to be willing to continue with the experiment for an extended period of time,” Bloom explains. Finally, researchers must find a company that is willing to experiment with their workers.

Fortunately, Bloom knew someone with access to the critical elements. In his graduate economics class was James Liang, cofounder and CEO of Ctrip, China’s largest travel agency, with a workforce of 16,000. “One day while James and I were talking, he mentioned Ctrip was interested in allowing its Shanghai employees to work from home,” Bloom says. Office space in the Chinese megacity was expensive, and the company was experiencing high attrition rates, in part due to workers getting priced out of living in the city center and having to endure long, difficult commutes. But without hard data to inform their decision, the company was reluctant to make dramatic changes to their telecommuting policy.

Bloom and Liang designed a randomized controlled trial to put remote work to the test. More than 500 employees in the company’s call center volunteered, and about half met the study qualifications, which included having a private room at home from which to work, having been at Ctrip for at least six months, and decent broadband access. Those with even-numbered birthdays were selected to telecommute four days per week; those with odd-numbered birthdays remained in the office as a control group.

Would employees be able to resist the three main pitfalls of being at home: the bed, the TV and the fridge? Adding to managers’ concern was the fact that call center workers are among the youngest in the company, and they might be especially prone to distraction without in-person supervision. The study lasted for nine months, and Bloom guessed the experiment would basically break even in terms of benefits and drawbacks.

the work-from-home employees

were far from goofing off

— they increased productivity

by 13.5 percent

When they reviewed the results, Ctrip management and Bloom were stunned. “It was unbelievable. Ctrip saved $1,900 per employee over the course of the study on office space, and we knew this would happen,” Bloom says. “But to our amazement, the work-from-home employees were far from goofing off — they increased productivity by 13.5 percent over those working in the office. That’s like getting an extra day’s work from each employee.” The people working from home also reported shorter breaks and fewer sick days and took less time off.

The gains went beyond productivity — attrition rates among the at-home group were 50 percent lower than those who worked in the office. In interviews with researchers, the remote employees also reported higher job satisfaction. Still, to the surprise of Ctrip management, more than half of the volunteer group changed their minds about working from home — they felt too much isolation. And for a number of them, being at home was not alone enough. “Some of the employees who lived with their parents were quite ready to get back to the office,” reports Bloom.

Bottom line: the study shows that companies have little to lose — and much to gain — by allowing employees to work from home. “My advice for companies who are curious is to examine different ways to do it,” Bloom says. Some options: it could be offered on a contingency basis when severe weather events are forecast, or for summer days when people’s children are out of school; it could be given on an individual, probationary basis; it could be part of a promotion; or it could be granted in lieu of a raise or a bonus. And if productivity falls, an employee can return to being in the office full-time.

Don’t lose the cream. As companies compete to hire and retain the best employees, being able to offer the option to work from home can sweeten the deal. “The need to go into a workplace five days a week started because people had to go to a factory and make products,” he says. “But companies that still treat employees like that are increasingly finding themselves at a disadvantage.”


ConXhub is an evolution in communications technology allowing YOU to make and receive calls from any phone numbers on your personal mobile phone, keeping personal and work calls completely separate.

Communicate from anywhere, even on the go.

ConXhub offers a 7 day, risk free, no obligation trial – take yours today!

Recent Posts

Sign up for our Newsletter

;

Choose your Currency & Plan

Verification / OTA Services

Verify YOUR identity on any WEB SITE - receive SMS to your email address!

Select Your Currency & Plan

  • £ GBP
  • € EUR
  • $ USD

Bronze

Starter
£ 1
00
month-to-month
  • Plan Per Number
  • 30 Inbound SMS
  • SMS to Email Address

Silver

Scale Up
£4
£ 2
50
month-to-month
  • Plan Per Number
  • 100 Inbound SMS
  • SMS to Email Address

Gold

Full Blast
£ 5
00
month-to-month
  • Plan Per Number
  • 250 Inbound SMS
  • SMS to Email Address

Bronze

Starter
1
20
month-to-month
  • Plan Per Number
  • 30 Inbound SMS
  • SMS to Email Address

Silver

Scale Up
5
3
00
month-to-month
  • Plan Per Number
  • 100 Inbound SMS
  • SMS to Email Address

Gold

Full Blast
6
00
month-to-month
  • Plan Per Number
  • 250 Inbound SMS
  • SMS to Email Address

Bronze

Starter
$ 1
40
month-to-month
  • Plan Per Number
  • 30 Inbound SMS
  • SMS to Email Address

Silver

Scale Up
$5
$ 3
50
month-to-month
  • Plan Per Number
  • 100 Inbound SMS
  • SMS to Email Address

Gold

Full Blast
$ 7
00
month-to-month
  • Plan Per Number
  • 250 Inbound SMS
  • SMS to Email Address

Add a Phone Number from your desired Country/City in Next Step

Compare Plans & View Phone Number Pricing:

Choose your Currency & Plan

Call Forwarding

Forward Calls & Messages direct
to your Mobile Phone

Select Your Currency & Plan

  • £ GBP
  • € EUR
  • $ USD

Bronze

Starter
£ 3
00
month-to-month
  • Call Forwarding to any Device
  • Unlimited inbound/forwarded calls
  • Choose a number from 10,000+ cities

Silver

Scale Up
£7
£ 4
00
month-to-month
  • Everything in Bronze
  • Voicemail to Email
  • Profile Identity notifications

Gold

Full Blast
£ 6
00
month-to-month
  • Everything in Silver
  • Full Phone system features
  • Greetings, Busy Message, Hold music

Bronze

Starter
3
60
month-to-month
  • Call Forwarding to any Device
  • Unlimited inbound/forwarded calls
  • Choose a number from 10,000+ cities

Silver

Scale Up
7
4
80
month-to-month
  • Everything in Bronze
  • Voicemail to Email
  • Profile Identity notifications

Gold

Full Blast
7
20
month-to-month
  • Everything in Silver
  • Full Phone system features
  • Greetings, Busy Message, Hold music

Bronze

Starter
$ 4
20
month-to-month
  • Call Forwarding to any Device
  • Unlimited inbound/forwarded calls
  • Choose a number from 10,000+ cities

Silver

Scale Up
$8
$ 5
60
month-to-month
  • Everything in Bronze
  • Voicemail to Email
  • Profile Identity notifications

Gold

Full Blast
$ 8
40
month-to-month
  • Everything in Silver
  • Full Phone system features
  • Greetings, Busy Message, Hold music

Add a Phone Number from your desired Country/City in Next Step

Compare Plans & View Phone Number Pricing:

Choose your Currency & Plan

Ultimate SuperPhone

Supercharged communications on your Smartphone

Select Your Currency & Plan

  • £ GBP
  • € EUR
  • $ USD

Bronze

Starter
£ 4
00
month-to-month
  • Unlimited (inclusive*) Calls
  • Inbound/Outbound Calls
  • Choose a number from 10,000+ cities

Silver

Scale Up
£7
£ 5
50
month-to-month
  • Everything in Bronze
  • Voicemail to Email
  • Profile Identity notifications

Gold

Full Blast
£ 7
50
month-to-month
  • Everything in Silver
  • Full Phone system features
  • Greetings, Busy Message, Hold music

Bronze

Starter
4
80
month-to-month
  • Unlimited (inclusive*) Calls
  • Inbound/Outbound Calls
  • Choose a number from 10,000+ cities

Silver

Scale Up
9
6
60
month-to-month
  • Everything in Bronze
  • Voicemail to Email
  • Profile Identity notifications

Gold

Full Blast
9
00
month-to-month
  • Everything in Silver
  • Full Phone system features
  • Greetings, Busy Message, Hold music

Bronze

Starter
$ 5
60
month-to-month
  • Unlimited (inclusive*) Calls
  • Inbound/Outbound Calls
  • Choose a number from 10,000+ cities

Silver

Scale Up
$9
$ 7
70
month-to-month
  • Everything in Bronze
  • Voicemail to Email
  • Profile Identity notifications

Gold

Full Blast
$ 10
50
month-to-month
  • Everything in Silver
  • Full Phone system features
  • Greetings, Busy Message, Hold music

Add a Phone Number from your desired Country/City in Next Step

Compare Plans & View Phone Number Pricing:

Choose your Currency & Plan

ConXhub Business Suite

Connect, Collaborate, Communicate via your Smartphone

Select Your Currency & Plan

  • £ GBP
  • € EUR
  • $ USD

Bronze

Starter
£ 7
50
month-to-month
  • Unlimited (inclusive*) Calls
  • Inbound/Outbound Calls
  • Inclusive IM / SMS

Silver

Scale Up
£15
£ 10
00
month-to-month
  • Everything in Bronze
  • Voicemail2Email, Call Greetings
  • Profile Identity notifications

Gold

Full Blast
£ 12 month-to-month
  • Everything in Silver
  • Full Phone system features
  • activeQ, Widget, Recording, Reports

Bronze

Starter
9
00
month-to-month
  • Unlimited (inclusive*) Calls
  • Inbound/Outbound Calls
  • Inclusive IM / SMS

Silver

Scale Up
18
12
00
month-to-month
  • Everything in Bronze
  • Voicemail2Email, Call Greetings
  • Profile Identity notifications
Popular

Gold

Full Blast
14
40
month-to-month
  • Everything in Silver
  • Full Phone system features
  • activeQ, Widget, Recording, Reports

Bronze

Starter
$ 10
50
month-to-month
  • Unlimited (inclusive*) Calls
  • Inbound/Outbound Calls
  • Inclusive IM / SMS

Silver

Scale Up
$18
$ 14 month-to-month
  • Everything in Bronze
  • Voicemail2Email, Call Greetings
  • Profile Identity notifications

Gold

Full Blast
$ 16
80
month-to-month
  • Everything in Silver
  • Full Phone system features
  • activeQ, Widget, Recording, Reports

Add a Phone Number from your desired Country/City in Next Step

Compare Plans & View Phone Number Pricing:

Choose your Currency & Plan

Messaging Services

SMS using Alternate Phone Numbers

Select Your Currency & Plan

Under construction - Check back soon

Add a Phone Number from your desired Country/City in Next Step

View Phone Number Pricing:

Choose your Product & Plan

Choose your Product & Plan