Hybrid work reduced employee loss rates at a large tech company by 35% and improved job satisfaction scores, with no negative impact on performance or promotions, according to a new Stanford University study. Following the explosion of remote work during the pandemic, many companies around the globe have adopted hybrid working arrangements, frequently from two to three days a week in the office and the rest remotely.
The paper, published by Nicholas Bloom and Ruobing Han of Stanford University and James Liang, evaluated a randomized control trial on 1612 engineers, marketing and finance employees of a large technology firm that allowed odd birthday employees to hybrid work from home on Wednesday and Friday and kept even birthday employees full time in the office.
The authors highlight how hybrid arrangements alter the structure of the working week. In the case studied, employees worked fewer hours on remote days but increased the number of hours worked on other days, including the weekend. In total, employees worked about 80 minutes less remotely, but about 30 minutes more on other work days and on the weekend.
Also, employees working from home increased individual messaging and group video call communication, even when in the office, reflecting the impact of remote work on working patterns.
The study found no significant impact of working from home on performance ratings or promotions overall or in any individual subgroup. However, those with the option to work from home reported slightly higher productivity. There was an 8% increase in lines of code written by this group compared to office workers, a measure of productivity for IT engineers.
“Overall this highlights how hybrid-WFH is often beneficial for both employees and firms but is usually underappreciated in advance. This was a common experience in the US and Europe during the pandemic when WFH went from being rare to mainstream and is now a permanent feature for most graduate employees”, the authors concluded.