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Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment

Nicholas Bloom (), James Liang, John Roberts and Zhichun Jenny Ying

No 18871, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: About 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.

JEL-codes: M1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp
Date: 2013-03
Note: LS PE PR
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Published as Nicholas Bloom & James Liang & John Roberts & Zhichun Jenny Ying, 2015. "Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(1), pages 165-218.

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Journal Article: Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment (2015) Downloads
Working Paper: Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: Does working from home work? Evidence from a Chinese experiment (2013) Downloads
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