Future of Work: The future of WFH


26 Oct, 2022

Remote work - work from home (WFH), work from anywhere, telework - in all its shapes and forms has gained momentum and is here to stay. Companies that get it right will boost productivity, retain talent and shape the new culture of the future of work. The great change has not been without the Great Resistance but the new way of working has benefits for both employers, employees and is beginning to shape the way we live.

The key benefits of hybrid working that are driving it into the future of work are:

1. Employees are happier
2. Productivity is higher
3. Strengthens diversity and inclusion
4. Saving space and shifting focus to new spatial areas of opportunity

Happier employees

Around one third of working days are currently worked from home and following the pandemic employees have divided into three categories: fully on-site, hybrid and fully WFH. Employees are happier when working from home and value for hybrid-WFH equates to approximately an 8% pay increase. However, not all employees can or want to WFH everyday and research suggests that the strongest desire is for working from home between 2-3 days per week (approximately 2.75 to be precise). Current trends also showed that WFH arrangements reduced quit rates by one third - suggesting there is greater job satisfaction, better retention of talent and increased productivity when providing a WFH-hybrid.

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Boost to productivity

Working from home has been found to boost productivity by saving time from commutes and providing space for better concentration for “deep” work. Whilst the boosts observed have been marginal, the key drivers of productivity have wider benefits for innovation and employee happiness which is already translating into better job satisfaction. Research has found that WFH-hybrid strategies increased messaging and video calls (even in the office) between different teams.

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Remote work presents an opportunity for change in the way we work and live - the opportunity to create more inclusion for all. Hybrid-WFH has strengthened diversity and inclusion across different aspects including race, gender, age and religion. Research also shows that the desire for flexibility is strongest among underrepresented groups.


Too much of anything isn’t great - and choice is no exception - but greater choice and flexibility than what was expected pre-pandemic is becoming non-negotiable. Employees should have greater choice and flexibility in order to boost productivity and retain top talent, however complete freedom of choice can be challenging to manage at scale because of the top three pulls to working on-site:

- Face-to-face collaboration
- Socialising
- Work-life balance and boundaries

The challenge lies is in determining how many days and which days employees should WFH. Choice and coordination is a challenge because employees want both. However, whilst there is a variation in what employees desire when deciding number of WFH days, collectively 45% of workers would choose 1-4 days per week with a majority opting for 2-3 days.

To make the most of hybrid-WFH companies can:

- Coordinate teams coming on site on the same 2-3 days each week.
- Encourage in person collaboration, events and social times on on-site days.
- Recommend office-wide online meetings, reading and writing tasks on remote days.
- Plan an extra day per week for new employees to be mentored.

By building a culture and carefully coordinating WFH and hybrid arrangements teams can operate better.

This article is part of ‘Future of Work’ - a series of guest articles discussing the latest ideas and insights around the future of work with key figures pioneering the future.


Nicholas Bloom is the William Eberle Professor of Economics at Stanford University. His research focuses on working from home, management practices and uncertainty. He previously worked at the UK Treasury and McKinsey & Company.

He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the recipient of the Guggenheim and Sloan Fellowships, the Bernacer Prize, the Frisch Medal and a National Science Foundation Career Award. He has a BA from Cambridge, an MPhil from Oxford, and a PhD from University College London.