A recent study conducted by Scoop and People DataLabs shines a fresh light on the ongoing debate about remote work and its impact on productivity and company success. Companies that allow people to work remotely at least two days a week appear to be able to recruit people twice as quickly as employers who require a full working week in the office.
Whether mass remote working improves total productivity or whether everyone going back to the office is better for the company. Science is certainly not yet clear on the matter. But in the discussion, recent research by Scoop and PeopleDataLabs shines completely new light on the matter.
Over the past year, companies with fully flexible work policies (where employees can choose where they work) have seen their workforce grow by a solid 5.6%. Hybrid companies (where employees can spend 1 to 4 days a week in the office) have experienced a respectable 4.1% growth. On the flip side, traditional full-time office-based organizations have seen a more modest 2.6% growth. These trends stick around, as in the last three months, fully remote companies grew at 1.9%, hybrid companies at 1.5%, and full-time office-based organizations lag behind at 0.8%.
Working from home is not only for startups
Importantly, this phenomenon is not limited to tech startups. The Scoop team merged data from PeopleDataLabs on individual companies’ workforce expansion with data from the quarterly Flex Index, which records the flexible work rules of approximately 4,500 companies. This data is collected from hundreds of public and private sources, such as applicant ATSs, to collect people’s start or end dates at a business and is then aggregated at the firm level to track workforce growth.
‘Large or small: fully flexible groups turned out to be best able to hire people.’
Initially, the study’s researcher, Robert Sadow, suspected that fast-growing tech startups with remote-friendly policies were driving this trend. These tech companies are often quite remote or require only a minimal presence in the office. However, a thorough examination revealed that the benefit of flexible work policies held true across all sizes of businesses. He broke down the data by company size and discovered that whether it’s a small startup or a large corporation, those who embrace fully flexible, or hybrid work arrangements hire better than those with full-time office-based policies.
The more flexible, the easier it is to recruit
Sadow puts it simply, “It seems that companies that are flexible have an easier time hiring.” It applies to all kinds of companies, not just the tech ones. While more hires don’t necessarily mean a company is doing great overall, it’s a good sign of how well the economy is doing. Companies that let their employees choose where they work tend to do better when it comes to hiring. Given these findings, Sadow says, ‘At least, when it comes to recruitment. Companies should be very careful about requiring new talent to be in the office for at least four days.’
Not all occupations can be done at home, but when home-working is possible, it’s important to know how relevant that is for your talent. For example look at software managers in Germany. The employer benefit to work from home is a real driver for the target group, even as (flexible) working hours. This comes from data from the Talent Intelligence Dashboard Giant
Companies that ask their staff to return to the office for the full working week are actually shooting themselves in the foot. They appear to have a lower ability to attract people. However, they ensure that their employees are more likely to hunt for another employment where they will not be expected to be in the office for five days. According to Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom’s research, employees value the ability to work flexibly, roughly as much as an 8% salary rise.
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