While working from home (WFH) has become relatively commonplace, a new form of remote work is emerging: working from anywhere (WFA), in which employees can live and work where they choose. Managers often worry about remote employees working less, or multitasking, mixing personal responsibilities with work. There are also concerns that allowing employees to work from anywhere could decrease communication and collaboration among coworkers. A new study looked at the effects of a work-from-anywhere program initiated in 2012 among patent examiners at the U.S. Patent & Trade Office (USPTO). Researchers analyzed productivity data for patent examiners who switched from work-from-home work conditions to the WFA program. Their results indicate that examiners’ work output increased by 4.4% after transition to WFA, with no significant increase in rework.
Despite a few high-profile retreats from remote work policies in recent years, data on the U.S. workforce suggests that remote work is increasing. A 2017 Gallup poll reported that 43% of employed Americans had spent at least some time working remotely, and US Census data released in 2018 reported 5.2% of U.S. workers being based entirely at home.
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