teleworking employee

Report: Teleworking Can Boost Employee Satisfaction and Productivity, When Done Right

Over the past several years the federal government has aggressively promoted expanded use of telework for agencies and employees.

A new scientific report published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest found that success of telework plans are influenced in part by the proportion of time an employee works remotely versus in the office.

Workplace psychology researchers Tammy D. Allen (University of South Florida), Timothy D. Golden (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), and Kristen M. Shockley (City University of New York) came to that conclusion following a systematic review of scientific research which highlighted the importance of interpersonal relationships between coworkers.

Full-time teleworkers often have stronger relationships with their managers, the research found, but weaker relationships with their coworkers. Thus, “face-to-face time may be particularly important at the start of new projects,” the authors wrote.

The report did affirm evidence that telecommuting is associated with positive outcomes for employees, such as greater job satisfaction, lower work stress, and improved job performance. However, it did find that those positive outcomes are not seen for all workers in all situations.

“Telecommuting may be most beneficial when it’s practiced to a moderate degree,” the researchers wrote.

Commentary from Kenneth Matos (Senior Director of Research) and Ellen Galinsky (President and Co-Founder) of the Families and Work Institute accompanying the report suggests that moderating factors, such as whether employees get to choose if they telework, employee control over their schedules, the extent that an employee’s work is dependent on others in the organization, and relationships with supervisors and coworkers, among other factors, are important practical considerations in determining the ultimate outcome of telework for employees and an organization.

Highlights and key takeaways from the report can be accessed in articles, here and here, discussing the report. The full report can be accessed here



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