There has been a lot of discussion about work models since the onset of the pandemic. With people being forced to work remotely, and having success in doing so, it changed the conversation. Even prior to COVID, there was an increased desire among workers to have more balance. They wanted the ability to work from home when it made sense. But there are many skeptics.
The hybrid work model has been studied in professional, and academic circles and looked at extensively by our Toronto recruiters. The research is in!
According to research by Harvard Business School, the hybrid work model is the most effective. In a recent study, Is Hybrid Work the Best of Both Worlds? Evidence from a Field Experiment, researchers looked at how the extent of hybrid work—the number of days worked from home relative to days worked from the office—affects work outcomes.
Researchers conducted a field experiment of 130 workers with BRAC in Bangladesh, the world’s largest non-governmental organization. They randomized the number of days workers worked from the office and from home over a nine-week period.
Here is a summary of how the study operated:
- They categorized workers into three groups based on how often they worked from home
- high WFH (0-8 days in the office, corresponding to 0-23% of workdays in the office)
- intermediate WFH (9-14 days in the office, 23-40%)
- low WFH (15+ days in the office, greater than 40%)
- They used email as the main measure of productivity. They looked at the number of emails sent, word length, sentiment, and unique recipients.
The study found a positive correlation between the number of days in the office and email communication:
- Intermediate WFH is associated with a 0.814 increase in the number of emails for a given day and low WFH is associated with a 0.537 increase
- Individuals in the intermediate-WFH category have greater novelty of work products compared to workers in low- and high-WFH categories
- Workers in the intermediate-WFH category reported greater satisfaction with working from home, greater work-life balance, and lower isolation compared to workers in the high- and low-WFH categories
- Intermediate WFH arrangements allow workers to capture the benefits of a productive and enjoyable workplace almost as much as those workers who are always in the office
Based on the findings, working in the office 23-40% of the time is the ideal hybrid work solution. Researchers offered the following conclusion based on their findings:
“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.”
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