Recently, it was reported that BNY Mellon has ordered its UK-based employees to stop working from home, causing upheaval and uproar among staff who have become accustomed to having this flexibility.

Employees previously allowed to work from home several days a week now are expected to be at in BNY Mellon offices full-time, with the exception of unavoidable circumstances – i.e. illness, family emergencies, etc.

According to the latest US Census, 3.7 million employees work from home for at least half the time, and the number of regular telecommuting has grown 115% since 2005. Per Gallup, 51% of employees surveyed say they will switch jobs if a new employer offers them the option for flextime, while 37% employees said they’d switch jobs if a new employer offered them the option to work from home at least some of the time.

While telecommuting and work-from-home options continue to be adopted by a large and growing percentage of employers, several — such as BNY Mellon and Yahoo — have moved to reverse the trend of work-at-home employment, forcing employees back into corporate offices.

Many employers struggle with work-from-home policies because managers are unable to discern the productivity level of remote workers. They wonder: if employees are far away from the watchful eye of management, might they be distracted, taking too many breaks, and/or “phoning it in”?

What the Data Says About Work-from-Home Productivity

At Sapience Analytics, we have always endeavored to help people and organizations move from assumption-driven management to evidence-based management.

To this end, we worked with some of our clients to understand what the actual data tells us about work from home.

A feature in our people analytics software enables us to capture work trends based on location. We can now assess how work happens when people are in the office in contrast to how work happens when employees are at home; this is an automated feature and does not require any user input.

Even we had to admit the results were astounding!

We found that work-from-home employees spend on average 2 more hours per day on work than their work-in-office counterparts, and 1.8 hours a day engaged in more focused (non distracted) ‘core time’ as compared to their work-in-office colleagues. These kinds of revelations go a long way toward challenging many assumptions that employers have – and specifically, the bias against work-from-home policies.

Understanding how to optimize employee effort and output (productivity) is essential, and solutions like Sapience Analytics’ Work from Home solution enables organizations to observe overall work trends and productivity of remote employees. It’s a vital tool that enables work-from-home scenarios to “work” for both employee and employer. And in the current tight job market, work-from-home options can be a boon to companies, enabling them to leverage an expanded talent pool without geographic constraints.