Learn More About Nicholas Bloom
As organizational leaders try to carve out a new workplace model, they will need to go beyond weighing what employees are thinking and feeling to considering the economic impacts of distributed work on businesses, industries and society. For more than a decade, Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom – a global authority on remote and hybrid work – has been measuring those impacts as part of his broader research into worldwide management practices, particularly in times of uncertainty and market shocks. His research is helping leaders make key decisions as they prepare for a return to the office.
Today, with more than 70% of businesses moving toward some form of hybrid work model – including massive multinationals such as Google, Citi and HSBC – Bloom’s up-to-the-minute insights are helping leaders create more supportive cultures using fair metrics that mitigate discrimination (and potential lawsuits) and lead to better employee collaboration, innovation and retention. He is also helping companies understand how they can serve this new workforce with innovative products and services.
The Post-Pandemic Workplace
During a 2017 TEDxStanford talk, Bloom boldly proclaimed, “Go Ahead, Tell Your Boss You’re Working From Home.” That was before COVID-19 upended the world. After interviewing thousands of firms during the pandemic, and collecting data showing the downside of letting employees decide their work days, he now recommends leaders do the choosing, with some caveats.
“Sure, there are upsides to working from home, the biggest being increased productivity and no commute. But our research already sees problems too. A big one is the potential for inequality. Then there are the broader problems – empty commercial buildings in cities and the ripple effects on small businesses and mass transit due to people moving to the outskirts of cities, what we call the ‘Donut Effect.’ There’s a lot to consider.”
A veteran management consultant, Bloom’s research focuses on understanding differences in organizational practices across firms and countries and investigating the causes and consequences of economic uncertainty. His core expertise lies in helping leaders determine which management practices make the most sense fiscally. And in some cases, a fully remote workplace may well be the solution. For example, his 2014 study of Ctrip, a NASDAQ-listed Chinese travel agency with over 16,000 employees, showed that WFH policies can lead to 50% reduced attrition, a nearly 22% productivity gain, lower real estate expenditures and a roughly $2,000 increase in profits per employee.
“The pandemic has started a revolution in how we work,” says Bloom. “Working from home may allow for happier, more productive employees. But to keep those practices truly inclusive, leaders need to weigh a variety of factors to ensure the model serves both the organization and its employees.”
Nicholas Bloom is The William Eberle Professor of Economics at Stanford University and a professor, by courtesy, at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Among other roles, he is co-director of the Productivity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship program at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and a Senior Fellow of the Centre for Economic Performance, the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and the IZA Institute for Labor Economics where he has led the World Management Survey initiative since 2003. He has advised the UK Treasury on business tax policy and worked for the Institute for Fiscal Studies, a London-based tax think tank. In 2010, he won the Frisch Medal for his research on how large uncertainty shocks, such as credit crunches, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Cuban Missile crisis, impact the U.S. economy. He received his undergraduate degree from Cambridge, his Master’s degree from Oxford University and his PhD from University College London.
Nicholas Bloom is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.
Nicholas Bloom is a seasoned consultant who uses original data and focused research to help leaders optimize management practices. Drawing from years of experience conducting qualitative and quantitative analyses at such organizations as the UK Treasury, Accenture, McKinsey and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, he guides executives toward decisions that yield consistently higher returns across metrics. His insights and research lead to long-term improvements in such areas as remote and hybrid work, fiscal policies within corporations and governments, decisions around workplace models and solutions that lead to more successful collaboration, innovation and employee retention. He is available to advise your leaders and teams via customized meetings, executive education programs and keynotes.