A Deeper Look into the State of Remote Work

A Deeper Look into the State of Remote Work

We’re excited to announce the findings of a new research study that TINYpulse has co-authored with Owl Labs, on the state of remote work. The study is one of the first of its kind to focus on employee success and retention for remote workers.

The topic of working remotely is more important than ever, as more than half of employees surveyed report working from outside the office at least one day a week. As more employees prioritize flexibility in their job search, we wanted to know how the shift to supporting remote work affected both management and the individual contributors in this new environment. The findings were truly fascinating.


Collecting data from 1,097 workers based all over the United States, our survey found that job performance is the most important factor for managers when considering an employee’s request to work remotely.

Meanwhile, managers of distributed teams reported that the biggest challenge they faced wasn’t measuring performance, but cultivating company culture. In fact, tracking productivity and performance ranked lower than coordinating activities, sharing common knowledge, and supporting career progression, when it came to quantifying the challenges of supporting remote work.

Graph displaying data which shows that over 50% of employees work remotely


The truth is, remote workers actually have slightly higher levels of investment in their work, and on average the study found that they performed equally to onsite employees. Since 51% of remote employees reported working remotely to improve work/life balance, it’s possible that the better engagement in remote workers comes from the clearer boundaries and work habits required to successfully work remotely.

When you consider that companies that support remote work have a 25% higher retention rate than companies that don’t, supporting remote workers seems like a no-brainer. The study also found that even among employees who don’t work remotely today, 65% of them would like to work remotely at least once a month in the future, meaning this trend is probably on the rise.


While there are challenges to working remotely, our research suggests that most of those challenges are handled by the remote workers, more than by management. Of those surveyed, remote workers reported having 25% fewer career growth conversations on average than their onsite counterparts. Remote workers also responded that their biggest challenge was staying in the loop, and that conversations and celebrations were things that they missed most when working remotely.

Since we already know that employees are 10% more likely to stay with their organization if there are professional growth opportunities to be had, it’s important for managers with distributed workforces to put aside time for those conversations with their employees, and for employees to take the lead on initiating these conversations when they are needed.

If you combine the retention benefits of consistent hands-on career coaching from management and leadership, with the increased engagement that natural occurs when employees have some schedule flexibility, and you might find that you’ve unlocked better employee engagement for your organization.

Related: How to Attract Millennials With Your Company Culture


One interesting find in this new report is related to companies that had entirely distributed workforces. According to the research, these companies were able to hire 33% faster than other companies. This suggests that without geographical limitations to hiring, fully-distributed companies can more effectively expand their talent pool, finding the most skilled and experienced candidates faster.

Small businesses are also more likely to hire distributed workforces; respondents reported being twice as likely to hire full-time remote employees as larger companies. Especially in a competitive job market, small employers can compete with larger organizations to find and acquire high-talent potential when they can offer flexibility and support to prospective employees that want to work from home.


Of those employees that do work onsite exclusively, 57% of the them reported that the nature of their job didn’t allow for remote work. Far fewer respondents reported working onsite due to personal preferences.

Combined with only 25% of all respondents saying that they would not like to work remotely, the data suggests that there’s a large number of employees who would like more flexibility, but just aren’t getting it in their current positions.

Takeaways: employee engagement and employer success might all depend on better support for remote workers

There’s already data that supports the theory of a remote-work sweet spot, where engagement and productivity are at their highest—and it’s not an onsite-only ratio. Understanding the challenges and features of a remote workforce can help empower managers to change behaviors and protocols to support these talented team members, and to make smart choices in managing their human capital.

Estelle Pin
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Estelle is the content marketing specialist for TINYpulse, and an avid lover of board games and good books. Learn more here.

Multi-Factor or Not Multi-Factor? That Is the Question

Multi-Factor or Not Multi-Factor? That Is the Question

Written by: Chris Shuba, Helios Quantitative Research, LLC

Let’s pretend you are a US investor that wants to deploy some of your money overseas.  You think international developed market stocks are attractive relative to US stocks, and you also think the US dollar will decline over the period you intend to hold your investment.  Your investment decision is logical to you. But you have choices:  You could a) simply invest in a traditional index like the MSCI EAFE, b) invest in a fund that systematically emphasizes a single factor (like a value fund) that only buys specific stocks related to that factor, or c) invest in a developed fund that blends several factors together, like the JPMorgan Diversified Return International Equity ETF (JPIN).  What is the best choice? 

Investing in a traditional international market capitalization index like the MSCI EAFE is not a bad choice. It has delivered nice returns for a US investor, especially uncorrelated outperformance in the 1970s and 1980s, and helped to diversify a US-only portfolio.

Your second choice is to invest in one particular factor because it makes sense to you.  Sticking with the example of a value strategy, you might believe a fund or index that chooses the cheapest or most attractively valued stocks based on metrics like Price to Earnings (PE) is best.  

You could go find a discretionary portfolio manager who only buys stocks he deems to be cheap.  Typically the concept of “cheap” is based on some absolute metric that the manager has in mind, such as never buying a stock with a PE greater than 15.  If there are not enough stocks that are attractive, he will hold his money in cash until he finds the prudent bargains he seeks.  This prudence also obviously risks possible underperformance from being absent from the market.

The alternative is to buy a value index or fund that systematically only buys the cheapest stocks in a particular investment universe.  So if there are 1000 investable stocks available, the index ONLY buys the cheapest decile of 100 stocks and is always fully invested in the 100 securities that are relatively cheapest.  This is an investment approach that a discretionary manger may disdain.  The discretionary value manager may look at those same 100 stocks and think they are pricey.  But nevertheless, academic research has shown that always being fully invested in the relatively cheapest percentiles of stocks in the US has produced superior returns over many decades. 

Such a portfolio is called a “factor” portfolio.  Why the name?   In the early 1960s, academics introduced the concept of beta and demonstrated that individual US stocks had sensitivities to, and were driven by, movements in the broad market.  In the early 1990s, academic research began to show that other “factors” such as value and size also drove US stock returns.  Since then, several factors have been identified as driving individual stock outperformance: value, size, volatility, momentum and quality.  Stocks that are cheaper, smaller, less volatile, have more positive annual returns and higher profitability have historically outperformed their peers.  It turns out these factors also work internationally.

Related: Who Gets Sick When the U.S. Sneezes?

Of all the factors, value is the factor that has been the best known the longest (even before it was academically identified as a “factor”), thanks to the books of Warren Buffet’s teacher Ben Graham.   And if you look abroad at an array of developed global markets and create a value index and compare it to its simple market capitalization weighted brother, the historic outperformance of value has been stunning.  Until recently.  

While there was some variability by country, on average from the mid-1970s up until 2005 a value factor portfolio in a developed market outperformed its market cap weighted index by about 2% a year.  That’s a lot. By contrast, since 2005, the average developed country value portfolio has underperformed a market cap indexes by about -40 basis points.  Which is the danger of investing in one factor.  It may not always work at every point in time.

So if investing in one factor like value runs the risk of underperforming, how about a multi-factor international developed equity portfolio?

Below is a breakdown of individual factor portfolios’ performance in international developed equity markets since 2005, an equal weighted factor portfolio as well the performance of the MSCI EAFE as our performance reference.  Note that, for the last 13 years, value has been the poorest factor by far, while the others have handily beaten the EAFE.  An equal weighted portfolio of all 5 factors, while not as optimal as some of the individual factor results, beats the EAFE by 1.6% and has an information ratio, or risk adjusted returns that are superior by 37%.  The equal weighted factor portfolio also has the advantage of not having to predict which factor will work when, so even when a factor like value does not beat the market, the other factors can pick up the slack.

SOURCE: MSCI, Data as of January 31, 2018. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Shown for illustrative purposes only.

The equal weighted factor portfolio has one other advantage over the market cap weighted alternative. Note in the chart below how well the portfolio outperformed in the 2008 crisis, so it tends to do relatively well in highly volatile sell offs.

SOURCE: MSCI, Data as of January 31, 2018. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Shown for illustrative purposes only.

While it’s not inconceivable that one or two of these factors could erode, or underperform for a stretch, the fact that you have exposure to multiple factors in a portfolio that seems to do especially well in crises suggest the multi-factor blended portfolio remains the most attractive way to invest in developed markets.

So, when asked the question: Multi-factor or not multi-factor?  The data speaks for itself.

Learn more about alternative beta and our ETF capabilities here.

DEFINITIONS: Price to earnings (P/E) ratio:  The price-earnings ratio (P/E ratio) is the ratio for valuing a company that measures its current share price relative to its per-share earnings.

DISCLOSURES: MSCI EAFE Investable Market Index (IMI): The MSCI EAFE Investable Market Index (IMI), is an equity index which captures large, mid and small cap representation across Developed Markets countries* around the world, excluding the US and Canada. The index is based on the MSCI Global Investable Market Indexes (GIMI) Methodology—a comprehensive and consistent approach to index construction that allows for meaningful global views and cross regional comparisons across all market capitalization size, sector and style segments and combinations. This methodology aims to provide exhaustive coverage of the relevant investment opportunity set with a strong emphasis on index liquidity, investability and replicability. The index is reviewed quarterly—in February, May, August and November—with the objective of reflecting change in the underlying equity markets in a timely manner, while limiting undue index turnover. During the May and November semi-annual index reviews, the index is rebalanced and the large, mid and small capitalization cutoff points are recalculated.

Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives and risks as well as charges and expenses of the ETF before investing. The summary and full  prospectuses contain this and other information about the ETF. Read the prospectus carefully before investing. Call 1-844-4JPM-ETF or visit ww.jpmorganetfs.com to obtain a prospectus.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management
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See how ETFs differ from other investment vehicles, learn how to evaluate them, and discover how ETFs can be used effectively to achieve a diversity of investment strategies. ... Click for full bio