Is Hybrid the Future of Work: Evidence from A CHINESE EXPERIMENT

Last registered on August 19, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Is Hybrid the Future of Work: Evidence from A CHINESE EXPERIMENT
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008075
Initial registration date
August 16, 2021
Last updated
August 19, 2021, 10:22 AM EDT

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Stanford Economics

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Stanford
PI Affiliation
Beijing University Guanghua Management School, and Ctrip

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2021-08-09
End date
2022-01-30
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
As businesses and everyday life slowly return to pre-pandemic activity, one point is becoming clear: The home office isn’t about to shut down. In his research and discussions with hundreds of managers across different industries, Prof.Nicholas Bloom finds that about 70 percent of firms — from tiny companies to massive multinationals like Apple, Google, Citi, and HSBC — plan to implement some form of hybrid working arrangements so their employees can divide their time between collaborating with colleagues on-site and working from home.

Hybrid arrangements balance the benefits of being in the office in person — greater ability to collaborate, innovate and build culture — with the benefits of quiet and the lack of commuting that come from working from home. Firms often suggest that employees work two days at home, focusing on individual tasks or small meetings, and three days a week in the office for larger meetings, training, and social events.

We are conducting a hybrid WFH experiment at Ctrip, a 16,000-employee, NASDAQ-listed Chinese travel agency. Managerial and IT-professional employees who volunteered to WFH every Wednesday and Friday were randomly assigned either to exercise this hybrid working option or in the office for 6 months.

External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Bloom, Nicholas, ruobing han and James (Jianzhang) Liang. 2021. "Is Hybrid the Future of Work: Evidence from A CHINESE EXPERIMENT." AEA RCT Registry. August 19. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8075-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
We are going to collect information on participants' creativity, efficiency, productivity, and happiness. We will also track participants' performance, attrition, promotion, and switches of WFH status in the longer term. With this information collected, we will check the longer-term equilibrium effect of this hybrid option, heterogeneous effect across different subgroups, and indirect effects.
Intervention Start Date
2021-08-09
Intervention End Date
2022-01-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Impact on employee performance, productivity and promotion, Impact on employee satisfaction, Employee and company learning. Variations by employee type (e.g. gender, age, education, location, role, manager etc).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The experiment took place in Ctrip’s airfare and hotel booking call center in Shanghai, China. The experiment lasted roughly six months, mandatory mid-term and post-experiment surveys were conducted.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
This selection of even birthdates into the treatment group was randomly determined by the Chairman, James Liang, by drawing a ping pong ball from an urn in a public ceremony one week prior to the experiment’s start date.
Randomization Unit
Individual level
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
N/A, no cluster
Sample size: planned number of observations
494 technical and managerial employees
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Treatment:233 call center employees

Control: 261 call center employees
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
In the 2015 study we had 125 in treatment and control and picked up significant effects. In this wave we have roughly twice that number, and include all available volunteers. So since this is the largest possible sample, and about twice the prior sample, we have not run any formal power calcuations.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)