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Work from home: research data showing the balance

You knew there would also be work from home data.   I want to cite a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research.  

A good rule — think 50/40. About half the people can work from home, and the typical plan for those people involves two workdays a week at home (or 40% of the week). 

“Business leaders often mention concerns around workplace culture, motivation, and innovation as important reasons to bring workers onsite three or more days per week,” the study says. But there are also clear benefits to having a day or two of offsite work every week, across practically every category. In fact, the researchers found a lot of people would even take pay cuts to WFH two or three days a week going forward. Half the staff, at home two days a week. Your company might differ, but that’s a pretty good starting point.

Google has announced their policy – and it’s close to that.   60% of workers will spend a few days a week in the office, 20% will work in new office locations, and 20% will work from home.    From the company’s own survey data, about 62% of Googlers want to return to the office, but just 8% said full time.     

Also of note – job growth in tech hubs is actually slower than other cities.  It’s not because of the tech jobs, however – it’s about the support jobs like coffee and lunch places to shopping that serve those workers.     The thinking is that those jobs might disappear .. .for good.  

Why do we care?

I asked “Why go back to the office” in a recent editorial… and well, here’s some reasons why.      Those benefits of designing work for the various configurations are what we care about.  This study is a good starting point.  

On the jobs note, the interest is learning about local changes to the economy and how they affect your customers.  If you’re in IT services, you care about how your customers businesses are being impacted.  It’s two or three levels removed, and so even more vital to track and learn.