The Smart Investor’s Edge: Why WFH Policies Are the New Investment Goldmine

6 min read
WFH Policies

Is your investment strategy stuck in the pre-pandemic era? It’s time to consider a game-changing factor: WFH policies. Today’s smart investors are not just looking at financials; they’re diving deep into a company’s WFH policies, recognizing them as a significant indicator of future success.

Unveiling the Advantage of WFH Policies

The Q4 2023 Scoop Flex Index reveals an intriguing trend: companies embracing flexible work arrangements are not just surviving; they’re flourishing. The evidence is staggering. From 2020 to 2022, companies with full flexibility led their peers by a remarkable 16% in revenue growth, adjusted for industry differences. This trend isn’t confined to the tech world; non-tech companies with flexible policies still boasted a 13% growth advantage.

But what about hybrid models, which blend remote and office work? These companies, too, are showing their prowess, outpacing fully in-office companies by a growth margin of 3%. This may seem modest, but it highlights the efficacy of a balanced approach in driving business growth.

The corporate world’s shift toward flexibility is unmistakable. By the end of 2023, 62% of US companies had adopted some form of work location flexibility, a significant increase from 51% at the year’s start. Meanwhile, companies insisting on full-time office work dwindled to 38%. This shift transcends a mere pandemic reaction; it’s a strategic move towards adaptability and resilience.

Start-ups, especially those established post-2010, are leading this change, with 93% offering flexible work arrangements. This number stands strong even outside the tech sector. The message is clear: the future business landscape will prioritize flexible work, with traditional office work likely dwindling to a minority.

Using WFH Policies for Investment Decision Making

Jeff Klemens of Sageview Capital highlights that in his decision-making of which companies deserve investment, the efficacy of WFH policies is undeniable. That’s especially the case for sectors where human capital reigns supreme – like tech. With assets primarily comprising laptops and data storage, the real value lies in the talent pool – from engineers to sales experts. How these teams collaborate significantly influences overall performance.

However, it’s not just about offering flexibility. Consistency in WFH policies is crucial. Inconsistent policies can lead to interdepartmental friction, hindering productivity and ultimately affecting customer experience. Successful hand-offs across departments, vital for customer satisfaction, depend on clear communication protocols, which are defined by coherent WFH policies.

Investors, take note: WFH policy clarity and employee buy-in should be integral to your investment criteria. The trade-off between attracting top talent globally and creating a localized team nucleus deserves more attention than currently given. Policy clarity should start at the highest level, including the board of directors.

Recent CEO changes altering WFH policies illustrate this point vividly. Such shifts can lead to employee turnover and strain customer relationships built under different policy frameworks. Hence, Klemens suggests securing a board seat in new portfolio companies could be a wise move, ensuring policy consistency and embedding it into the company’s culture.

For businesses with high human capital investment, seamless customer journeys are critical. Here, the intersection of team policies can significantly impact performance. The pandemic has shown that a variety of WFH policies can work, but coherence and productivity must not be sacrificed.

Investors should adopt a more discerning approach towards WFH policies. Startups need to realize that their WFH policies are increasingly becoming a key criterion for investment evaluation. The message is clear: in the modern business landscape, the adaptability and clarity of WFH policies are not just employee perks; they are crucial determinants of a company’s growth trajectory and, consequently, its attractiveness to investors.

Broader Investment Decision-Making Strategies Using WFH Policies

Jeff’s story is embodied in over a dozen calls I get a week from investors who want to consult with me on evaluating WFH policies of companies in which they want to invest – whether startups or well-established companies. These investors are not just interested in surface-level details. They are keen on understanding how WFH policies translate into tangible business outcomes, specifically those that impact the bottom line. Their primary concern is not what feels comfortable for company leadership, which leads to biased thinking; rather, they are focused on identifying policies that are optimized for organizational success. This shift in investor perspective marks a significant departure from traditional investment evaluation criteria, where leadership comfort often played a more central role.

During these consultations, I advise investors to look for companies that are not just adopting flexibility for the sake of it but are following best practices grounded in empirical research. These best practices are evident in companies that have integrated flexibility into their core operational strategy, recognizing it as a driver of growth. As the Scoop Flex Index finds, companies offering flexible working arrangements are growing at a faster pace compared to those sticking to rigid, traditional models. This growth is not just in terms of revenue but also in market share and innovation capacity.

Moreover, the clarity of a company’s WFH policy and the degree of employee buy-in are critical factors that investors should evaluate. Policies that are well-defined, transparent, and have the support of the workforce lead to improved retention rates. In the current job market, where talent acquisition and retention are increasingly challenging, the ability to keep skilled employees is invaluable. Companies with strong, clear WFH policies are more likely to attract a diverse talent pool, offering them the flexibility and work-life balance that modern employees seek.

Additionally, these policies play a significant role in enhancing employee engagement and morale. When employees feel that their needs and preferences are acknowledged and accommodated, it fosters a sense of belonging and commitment to the organization. This heightened engagement translates into higher productivity, creativity, and overall job satisfaction, which are key drivers of business success.

In essence, for investors looking to gauge the potential of a company, evaluating its WFH policies offers a window into its future performance. Companies that have successfully integrated flexible work arrangements, backed by clear policies and strong employee support, are setting themselves apart as forward-thinking, resilient, and adaptable. These are the companies poised for sustainable growth in an increasingly dynamic and competitive business landscape, making them attractive prospects for discerning investors.

Action Steps for Company Leaders

As CEOs navigate the evolving landscape of investor expectations, particularly regarding WFH policies, it’s crucial to align their strategies with what investors are increasingly prioritizing. Here are specific action steps that CEOs can take to meet these expectations:

  • Conduct a Comprehensive Policy Review: Start by thoroughly assessing your current WFH policies. This involves understanding how these policies impact various aspects of your business, from productivity and employee satisfaction to financial performance. Engage with HR and operations to get a clear picture of the effectiveness of existing policies.
  • Gather Data-Driven Insights: Use data analytics to measure the impact of WFH policies on key performance indicators (KPIs). Look at metrics like employee productivity, retention rates, recruitment success, and overall employee morale. This data will be critical in making informed decisions and demonstrating the efficacy of your policies to investors.
  • Benchmark Against Best Practices: Research and benchmark your WFH policies against industry leaders and competitors. Identify best practices that lead to successful outcomes in terms of growth, innovation, and market positioning. Adapt these practices to fit your organizational context.
  • Enhance Policy Clarity and Communication: Ensure that your WFH policies are clearly articulated, easily accessible, and consistently communicated to all employees. Ambiguity in policy can lead to confusion and inefficiency, so clarity is key. Regularly update your workforce about any changes or enhancements to these policies.
  • Solicit Employee Feedback and Buy-In: Engage with your employees to understand their perspectives on WFH arrangements. Use surveys, focus groups, or one-on-one meetings to gather feedback. Employee buy-in is crucial; policies should reflect the needs and preferences of your workforce while aligning with business objectives.
  • Implement Flexible and Adaptable Models: Depending on your business needs and employee feedback, consider adopting flexible models like hybrid work arrangements. These models should be adaptable to changing circumstances, ensuring resilience and continuity of operations.
  • Integrate WFH Policies into Company Culture: Make flexibility a part of your company’s culture. This means not just having policies on paper but also embracing flexibility in everyday work practices and leadership styles. A culture that supports flexible working is more likely to attract and retain top talent.
  • Demonstrate Leadership Commitment: As a CEO, lead by example in embracing flexible work arrangements. Your commitment to these policies should be evident in your actions and communication. Leadership buy-in is critical in driving organizational change and acceptance.
  • Regularly Report Progress to Stakeholders: Keep your board of directors, investors, and other stakeholders informed about the progress and impact of your WFH policies. Regular reporting should include both qualitative and quantitative insights, highlighting how these policies are contributing to the company’s objectives.
  • Stay Informed and Responsive to Trends: The landscape of work is continuously evolving. Stay informed about emerging trends and be ready to adapt your policies as necessary. This proactive approach shows investors that you are committed to staying ahead of the curve and are responsive to the changing dynamics of the workforce.

By following these action steps, CEOs can align their strategies with investor expectations and demonstrate a commitment to creating a work environment that is not only flexible and employee-centric but also conducive to driving business growth and success.

Addressing Biased Thinking to Appeal to Investors

Incorporating an understanding of cognitive biases into the decision-making process regarding WFH policies can greatly enhance a CEO’s ability to align with investor expectations. Two particularly relevant cognitive biases in this context are the status quo bias and the empathy gap.

The status quo bias, which is the preference for the current state of affairs, often leads to a resistance against change. In the realm of WFH policies, this bias might cause CEOs to lean towards maintaining traditional office-centric models due to comfort with the known, overlooking the potential benefits of flexible work models. This can result in missed opportunities for growth and innovation that flexible policies might bring. To counteract this, CEOs should challenge their assumptions about traditional work models, engaging in scenario planning and examining data from companies that have successfully implemented flexible work arrangements.

Similarly, the empathy gap, which is the difficulty in understanding others’ feelings when they are in a different emotional or physical state, can create a disconnect between understanding the actual needs and preferences of employees regarding WFH policies. If a CEO hasn’t experienced the challenges and benefits of remote work personally, they might underestimate the value of flexibility for employees. This gap in understanding can lead to policies that do not fully address employee needs, reducing effectiveness in terms of morale, productivity, and ultimately, business performance. To bridge this gap, it’s crucial for CEOs to engage directly with employees to understand their experiences and perspectives. Conducting surveys, focus groups, or informal discussions can provide valuable insights into what employees actually need and value in WFH arrangements. Being aware of and actively addressing these cognitive biases can lead to more informed, balanced decisions that benefit the entire organization and enhance its appeal to investors.


As we navigate the ever-evolving business environment, the focus on WFH policies as a key investment criterion is not just a trend but a strategic necessity. Companies that recognize and adapt to this change are set to lead, and investors who identify and leverage this insight will find themselves at the forefront of a new era of smart investing.

Key Take-Away

Investors are shifting focus: WFH policies aren't just perks but vital signs of company resilience and growth. Click To Tweet

Image credit: Andrea Piacquadio/pexels

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky was lauded as “Office Whisperer” and “Hybrid Expert” by The New York Times for helping leaders use hybrid work to improve retention and productivity while cutting costs. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. Dr. Gleb wrote the first book on returning to the office and leading hybrid teams after the pandemic, his best-seller Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). He authored seven books in total, and is best know for his global bestseller, Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019). His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 650 articles and 550 interviews in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, Time, Business Insider, Fortune, and elsewhere. His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, and other languages. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, with 8 years as a lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill and 7 years as a professor at Ohio State. A proud Ukrainian American, Dr. Gleb lives in Columbus, Ohio. In his free time, he makes sure to spend abundant quality time with his wife to avoid his personal life turning into a disaster. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on LinkedIn @dr-gleb-tsipursky, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Facebook @DrGlebTsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, YouTube, and RSS, and get a free copy of the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace by signing up for the free Wise Decision Maker Course at