November 30, 2023

No, going remote doesn’t boost sales by 20%

Authors:

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Dubious Data™️: Bloomberg Edition

In this week’s edition of Dubious Data™️, Bloomberg’s article “Letting People Work From Home Is Good for Companies’ Revenue Growth”. 

Bloomberg recently wrote an article (here) with a few eyebrow raising claims. The main point: “The analysis of 554 public companies that employ a collective 26.7 million people found that “fully flexible” firms — which are either completely remote or allow employees to choose when they come to an office — increased sales 21% between 2020 and 2022, on an industry-adjusted basis. That compares with 5% growth for companies with hybrid or fully onsite workforces.”

It went on further: “Among the companies that did require at least some office attendance, those that came in a few days a week boosted sales at twice the rate of those in the office full-time, according to the survey.“

The survey they’re referring to was run by Boston Consulting Group and Scoop Technologies…a flex-work advisory. So yeah, no bias there. That study is here.

I’ll cut to the point. I have no doubt these numbers are true. But there’s a key concept to remember:

👉Correlation does not equal causation.

So before you change your office plans based on a Bloomberg article (lol), two things to consider that were absent from the study:

1. This study was during both the heart of the pandemic and The Great Resignation. (Yes I feel gross for once again mentioning TGR.)

Two distinct periods were of course remote work was better. It was the only way to conduct business and the only way to hire anyone, respectively.

Both time periods were outliers. It’s almost 2024. A different era entirely.

2. There’s a huge omission in this study: experience level of sales teams.

The entire premise was that remote teams sell more than onsite teams. But literally every sales leader reading this knows exactly why: because remote teams have more experience.

One of the biggest dilemmas and pushes for return to work in the office space is junior sales reps are hard as hell to train in full remote situations compared to in office. At least at any kind of scale.

The more senior your sales staff is, the more likely you are to allow flex work. Because they can do the job and don’t need as much training or management. 

So yeah. I’m not shocked in the least that remote teams sell more. But being remote isn’t the reason why.

All that said: I’m still Team Remote. I’m just also Team No Clickbait.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

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