Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment
AbstractAbout 10% of US employees now regularly work from home (WFH), but there are concerns this can lead to "shirking from home." We report the results of a WFH experiment at CTrip, a 16,000-employee, NASDAQ-listed Chinese travel agency. Call center employees who volunteered to WFH were randomly assigned to work from home or in the office for 9 months. Home working led to a 13% performance increase, of which about 9% was from working more minutes per shift (fewer breaks and sick-days) and 4% from more calls per minute (attributed to a quieter working environment). Home workers also reported improved work satisfaction and experienced less turnover, but their promotion rate conditional on performance fell. Due to the success of the experiment, CTrip rolled-out the option to WFH to the whole firm and allowed the experimental employees to re-select between the home or office. Interestingly, over half of them switched, which led to the gains from WFH almost doubling to 22%. This highlights the benefits of learning and selection effects when adopting modern management practices like WFH.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1194.
Date of creation: Mar 2013
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working from home; organization; productivity; field experiment; and China;
Other versions of this item:
- Nicholas Bloom & James Liang & John Roberts & Zhichun Jenny Ying, 2013. "Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment," NBER Working Papers 18871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- M1 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting - - Business Administration
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-03-09 (All new papers)
- NEP-CNA-2013-03-09 (China)
- NEP-CWA-2013-03-09 (Central & Western Asia)
- NEP-EXP-2013-03-09 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-HRM-2013-03-09 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
- NEP-LAB-2013-03-09 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-LMA-2013-03-09 (Labor Markets - Supply, Demand, & Wages)
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