Study: Teleworkers more satisfied than office-based employees

Nov 15, 2010

Employees who telecommute the majority of the work week are more satisfied with their jobs compared to those working mostly in the office because working remotely alleviates more stress than it creates, according to a new study by a communication researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM).

The study, conducted by Kathryn Fonner, UWM assistant professor of communication, and Michael Roloff, a professor of communication studies at Northwestern University, compared the advantages and disadvantages of each arrangement. A paper outlining the results appears in the November issue of the Journal of Applied Communication Research, published by the National Communication Association.

The main benefit reported by participants who telework at least three days a week is the decreased work-life conflict that a flexible work arrangement allows. Alienation from workplace communication, often cited as the biggest disadvantage of telework, was reported as minimal by the study's participants. Teleworkers reported exchanging information with others less frequently than office-based , but both groups reported similar timely access to important work-related information.

Results of the study pointed to multiple reasons why telework is linked to high job satisfaction, namely that employees working remotely are, on average, shielded from much of the distracting and stressful aspects of the workplace, such as office politics, interruptions, constant meetings and information overload, says Fonner.

"Our findings emphasize the advantages of restricted face-to-face interaction, and also highlight the need for organizations to identify and address the problematic and unsatisfying issues inherent in collocated work environments," says Fonner. "With lower stress and fewer distractions, employees can prevent work from seeping into their personal lives."

In addition to implementing telework arrangements for employees, organizations may consider several other strategies to boost for both office-based and distance workers, she adds, including:

  • Limiting the number of meetings and mass emails.
  • Streamlining office communication by creating a repository of information that can be accessed at any time.
  • Designating certain times when, and spaces where, office-based employees can work uninterrupted.
  • Creating a supportive climate where employees can register concerns without fear of retaliation.
  • Encouraging employees to disconnect from workplace communication when they are finished for the day.

Explore further: A two generation lens: Current state policies fail to support families with young children

Provided by University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

4.5 /5 (4 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Get some balance - make flexible work policies work

Jan 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Most organisations' flexible work policies sit idly in policy documents, employees too uncomfortable to implement them because they might be frowned upon by employers or co-workers for deviating from the ...

Recommended for you

Scholar tracks the changing world of gay sexuality

Sep 19, 2014

With same-sex marriage now legalized in 19 states and laws making it impossible to ban homosexuals from serving in the military, gay, lesbian and bisexual people are now enjoying more freedoms and rights than ever before.

User comments : 0