One of the most common questions that exists around working from home, is what is the impact on productivity?
Some believe having remote employees hurts productivity and others say it actually improves results.
But what you have probably discovered is everyone has varying degrees of opinions on that topic. Of course, there are both positives and negatives to working from home.
So what is a company to do?
Before dismissing remote work or assuming productivity will decline, check out the data first. Here are a collection of working from home productivity statistics that all employers should know.
Working From Home Productivity Statistics
U.S. employers for example expect nearly 1 in 5 of their workforce to be remote going forward. People want flexible work options and the ability to work from home, which is what top talent is searching for in a job.
So it’s inevitable that many companies where people work in an office will need to consider remote opportunities. Understanding remote work productivity and the research behind it can hopefully help ease any potential concerns.
1. A study by Stanford of 16,000 workers over 9 months found that working from home increased overall productivity by 13%. This increase in performance was due to a quieter and more convenient working environment and working more minutes per shift because of fewer breaks and sick days.
2. 77% of those who work remotely at least a few times per month show increased productivity, with 30% doing more work in less time and 24% doing more work in the same period of time according to a survey by ConnectSolutions.
3. Stress is a major factor in your productivity, and 82% of remote workers reported lower levels of stress when working from home. With lower stress, comes increased happiness and productivity.
4. According to Owl Labs, employees working from home at least once per month are 24% more likely to feel happy at work.
5. If your team is fully remote, your business can likely fill roles 33% faster than your competitors. This affects the overall productivity, as your company is not wasting time trying to fill open roles or have current teams trying to pick up that slack.
6. In a survey by PWC in 2021, more respondents say they’re more productive now working remotely than when they were before the pandemic (34% vs. 28%). And more executives agree: over half (52%) mentioned the average employee productivity has improved vs. 44% who said the same prior.
7. Workers with full flexibility report 29% higher productivity and 53% greater ability to focus than workers with no ability to shift their schedule to work from home, according to a report from Future Forum.
8. A study with a random assignment of programmers, marketing, and finance staff found that hybrid work, similar to remote work, reduces attrition by 35% and resulted in 8% more code written and completed.
9. A two-year survey by Great Place to Work of more than 800,000 employees showed that the shift to working remotely in the pandemic actually boosted worker productivity by 6% on average.
10. In a University of Chicago research paper, scientists found that nearly six in ten of their survey respondents reported higher productivity when working remotely, while only 14% proved less productive.
11. A research study from Harvard University published in the National Bureau of Economic Research found a large increase in the amount of time worked by remote workers compared to those in-office workers.
12. We know from research that we are best suited for various activities that don’t necessarily match the typical rhythms of a 9-5 schedule. By doing specific work tasks at various times, we can get more done and increase productivity.
13. Data from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that remote workers, on average, work about 48.5 minutes longer. For full-time employees, this time could add up to more than 193 additional working hours in a year.
14. Time Doctor’s productivity reports revealed that there was a decrease of 56% in unproductive time when working at home versus in the office.
15. While remote workers did take more time for official breaks than office employees, evidence shows that taking breaks actually leads to higher rates of productivity.
How to Help Increase Work from Home Productivity
Feeling like your own work from home productivity could be improved? Are you leading a team remotely and want to provide some tips to co-workers and new hires?
Regardless of your current situation, here are a few ways to increase work from home productivity.
- Set a schedule and stick to it – Working from home can be challenging to set a schedule and your work boundaries. But set up how you plan on working and ensure your remote co-workers know it.
- Take frequent breaks throughout the day – As data has shown above, frequent breaks improve productivity. However, when working from home you may find it more difficult to step away. Here’s more about setting a work from home break schedule.
- Create a space that avoids distractions – While not everyone can have a dedicated home office, it’s important your space can inspire your work. Find a place where you can set up your workspace and where you won’t easily get distracted.
- Connect with your team virtually – It’s easy to become siloed or feel disconnected from your co-workers. And that feeling can decrease your happiness and productivity. Make sure to connect with your team, by setting up virtual coffee breaks.
- Make time for deep work – Block off your calendar for deep work, that is where you can concentrate on various tasks without being distracted. It’s a great way to get things done and avoid meetings, chats, or other notifications.
Unfortunately, there seems to be a trust issue between managers and employees.
Even when the data consistently shows working from home has generally improved productivity, the distrust continues.
Microsoft released a study around hybrid work (a mix of work from home and in-office work models), where it found that 85% of leaders say that the “shift to hybrid work has made it challenging to have confidence that employees are being productive.”
For good managers, monitoring progress remotely is more challenging because you can’t visually see “how” and “when” employees are working.
But it doesn’t mean productivity is not happening or that managers can’t adjust, but it can be a difficult thing to measure.
Now, those not-so-great managers or the dreaded “micromanagers” usually are the ones that have misconceptions or hate the idea of remote work. Mostly because it’s a completely different way to manage and they lose a sense of control over their team.
But as the data clearly shows above, any misconception that remote work kills productivity is just wrong.
Want More Awesome Data Around Remote Work and Working From Home? Check Out These Other Statistics: