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One or two days in the office: the ideal setup, Harvard suggests

April 13, 2022

Hybrid work is emerging as a novel form of organizing work globally, and Harvard researchers have reported causal evidence on how the extent of hybrid work—the number of days worked from home relative to days worked from the office—affects work outcomes. The study examines actual performance of hybrid workers rather than just their preferences. And the conclusion is: just one or two days in the office is the ideal setup for hybrid work, since it gives workers the flexibility without the isolation of being fully remote or in the home office.

The results of the Harvard Business School paper were based on an experiment in the summer of 2020, where 130 administrative employees were randomly assigned to one of three groups over nine weeks. Some spent less than 25% of their work days in the office, some more than 40% of the time, while a third “in-between” group was in the middle, the equivalent of one or two days a week. This latter group delivered more original work than the other groups, and “the difference was significant.”

“Our results indicate that an intermediate number of days in the office results in more emails sent, a higher number of email recipients, and increased novelty of work products. Our test for underlying mechanisms suggests that hybrid work might represent the ‘best of both worlds,’ offering workers greater work-life balance, without the concern of being isolated from colleagues.”, the authors wrote.

Source: Harvard Business School