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The rise of the new well-being era

We need a new model of corporate life where thriving employees are not seen as a luxury, but as the key propeller of sustainable corporate performance

Source | | Mauro Nardocci

Throughout the past year corporate life has changed dramatically. Tens of millions work from home. Children interrupting remote meetings has become the norm, as well as seeing our colleagues with unlikely virtual backgrounds such as tropical beaches or outer space landscapes. We are all trying to figure out how to adapt to this new reality.

Early results from the Harvard Business Review found a positive impact of remote work. The research found remote workers focus more on “difference-making activities.” They spend 12 percent less time drawn into large meetings and 9 percent more time interacting with customers, resulting in a rise of productivity.

A similar productivity bump was identified by an internal case study at Publicis Sapient, an IT consulting company that tracked work by 410 employees on roughly 40 tech-focused projects for a large New York investment bank. Between March 16 and April 10 2020, tasks were completed at either the same rate or faster than before the COVID-19 crisis.

A famous experiment by Stanford’s economist Nicolas Bloom studied more than 1000 employees at Chinese travel company Ctrip. The study revealed that working from home during a nine-month period led to a 13 percent increase in performance – almost an extra day of output per week – plus a 50 percent drop in employee-quit rates.

Remote work and mental health

The element of personal choice is a key factor contributing to the success of Ctrip’s work-from-home policy. Of the 1,000 Ctrip employees offered the choice to work from home, 500 volunteered. After nine months of remote work, half requested to return to the office, despite a long commute. Employees cited feelings of isolation and loneliness as contributing to their desire to return to the office.

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