How Hybrid Working from Home Works Out

Article Source: NBER Working Paper No. 30292, 2022
Publication Date:
Time to Read: 2 minute read
Written By:


James Liang

 Ruobing Han

Ruobing Han



Hybrid working from home (WFH) has greatly increased since the pandemic. Data shows that WFH employees enjoy increased job satisfaction and lower attrition. WFH changes the structure of the work week and messaging behavior.


Policy Relevance:

WFH slightly improves productivity.


Key Takeaways:
  • “Hybrid” WFH arrangements call for employees to work two or three days at home and the remaining days in the office.
  • For several decades, WFH had been increasing in the United States, but greatly increased following the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Hybrid WFH is the most common approach.
    • In 2022, about 30 percent of working days will be worked from home.
  • WFH has four main benefits.
    • Employees avoid preparing for work and commuting.
    • Home is usually quieter, better for focused activities like coding.
    • WFH allows more flexibility for errands or breaks.
    • WFH can reduce the costs of office space.
  • In 2021 and 2022, a global travel agency with 35,000 employees ran a hybrid WFH trial for 1612 engineers; managers were concerned that employees would underperform while at home.
  • WFH reduced attrition by 35 percent and increased employees' job satisfaction.
    • WFH could address employee stress and concern about excessive working hours.
    • Lower attrition rates reduce firms’ training and hiring costs.
  • WFH reduced hours worked about 80 minutes on home days, but increased hours worked about 30 minutes on other days and on the weekend.
    • On WFH days, employees took advantage of the greater flexibility to accomplish tasks such as caring for children, going to the dentist, or exercising.
    • WFH spreads working time out of the core working day into evenings and weekends.
    • As performance did not suffer despite reduced minutes overall, one may infer that WFH employees were more efficient.
  • Hybrid WFH decreased employees' use of verbal communications even in the office, and increased use of individual messaging and group video calls.
    • Messaging increased most with fellow team members.
    • Office days remain important for employees to network and build ties with others.
  • WFH did not affect performance reviews or promotions, and WFH employees' self-assessed productivity increased.
    • WFH employees wrote more code, mostly on in-office days.
    • WFH has a small positive effect on productivity.
  • Following the trial, the firm decided to implement a hybrid WFH plan for the entire company.



Nicholas Bloom

About Nicholas Bloom

Nicholas (Nick) Bloom is the William Eberle Professor of Economics at Stanford University, a Senior Fellow of SIEPR, and the Co-Director of the Productivity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His main research interests are on measuring and explaining management and organizational practices across firms and countries, and trying to use this to explain differences in firm and country level growth. He also works on innovation and IT, looking at factors that affect these such as competition, tax, learning and Government regulations.