The study involved workers at China's largest travel agency, Ctrip, for about two years. Half the workers worked primarily from home, coming into the office just one day a week. The rest of the workers went to the office each day. Those that worked from home had a 13% improvement in performance. The study attributed the gains to longer working hours (no running errands or getting stuck in traffic) and improved concentration.
Telecommuting has grown faster than any other way of getting to work, up 159% since 2000, according to a Quartz analysis of data from the U.S. census and the American Community Survey.
Given the technology available today, requiring workers to commute to an office can produce gains as the study suggests, but there are also stories of workers gone wild.
The big question now is how to manage workers when they are home. Technology can help with that. Employers can monitor and track activity, although such big-brother oversight risks employee alienation.
Big tech companies, like IBM and HPE, are also struggling with this issue and recently reversed telecommuting policies and are now actually requiring workers to come to the office. Part of the solution may lie in who is allowed to work from home; what kind of work needs to be done and who is holding workers accountable.
It is no surprise that computer programmers represent the largest percentage of telecommuters among all occupations. Nearly 8% of programmers work from home.