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Stanford Researchers Find Telecommuters More Productive, But Workers At Home May Be More Lonely

STANFORD (CBS SF) – With more companies looking at allowing their employees to work from home, a team of researchers from Stanford found home-based workers are more productive, but also found telecommuting is not for everyone.

According to a report published in the Harvard Business Review, a team headed by researchers Nick Bloom and John Roberts studied more than 500 employees at a large Chinese travel agency. For nine months, about half of the employees worked from home, while the other half worked at the office.

All employees worked the same shift, with the same workgroups and managers, along with the same equipment and workflow.

Their research found the performance of the home-based workers went up 13 percent during the study, while the office workers performance stayed the same. Turnover was also 50 percent lower among the home workers.

After the study was over, the company decided to make working from home available to all workers. It found half of the employees who worked from home in the study returned to the office, and most of the office workers declined to work at home. The researchers said the workers at home seemed to be lonely. They also found working at home was preferred by the most driven employees who aren't distracted by things at home.

The researchers said their work was prompted by the actions of Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who sparked controversy by forcing employees who worked at home back to the office.

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