According to new research from Harvard Business School, organizations that offer flexible work options have been linked to increased productivity, reduced turnover and lower operational costs.
Prithwiraj Choudhury, an associate professor in the Technology and Operations Management Unit at Harvard Business School, came to this conclusion through comparing the outcomes of flexible working at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The USPTO implemented the Telework Enhancement Act Pilot Program (TEAPP) in 2012 that transitioned patent examiners to a “work-from-anywhere” policy over the course of one year. Prior to TEAPP, workers could work from home as long as they were within 50 miles of the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.
The research team found that employees with the ability to work from anywhere were 4.4% more productive that those using the “work-from-home” policy.
“While prior academic research has studied productivity effects of ‘working from home’ that gives workers temporal flexibility, ‘work from anywhere’ goes a step further and provides both temporal and geographic flexibility,” said Choudhury.
[bctt tweet=”Digital technology has made working from anywhere much more accessible, but companies have been slow in providing this option for workers.” username=”allwork_space”]
The research compared 600 examiners’ productivity under these various conditions and based on a patent’s average value, the productivity gained could add $1.3 billion of value to the U.S. economy each year.