How Can Telecommuting Work for You?
- Increased employees’ perceived autonomy, or how much control employees feel they have over their jobs
- Decreased work-family conflict
- Increased interpersonal relationships between telecommuting employees and their supervisors
- Increased job satisfaction
- Increased supervisor ratings and archival records of job performance (but not greater self-ratings of performance than non-telecommuters)
- Less employee turnover intention
- Less employee role stress
IntensityIntensity is number of days per week an employee telecommutes. Employees who telecommute more than half a week tended to have more negative relationships with their coworkers (but not supervisors). One reason why supervisor relations are not affected with increasing telecommuting, while coworker relations are not, might be self-selection into telecommuting. In other words, employees who are already doing well probably have better relations with their supervisor, who would be more willing to let them telecommute. At the same time, employees might want to telecommute because they already have negative relationships with their coworkers and would not mind spending work time away from them. Additionally, high intensity telecommuters tend to have even less role-stress than employees who telecommute less often.
GenderTelecommuting samples that had higher proportions of women had greater objective and supervisor ratings of performance and also had greater perceived career prospects (rather than feeling like career prospects were being hurt by telecommuting).
ExperienceExperience, as it relates to telecommuting, is conceptualized as how long an employee has telecommuted for work. Employees who have telecommuted for more than a year had even less role stress and work/family conflict than those employees with less experience.
- If feasible, consider offering telecommuting as an option to help retain or recruit more talented and qualified employees.
- Be clear with your employees about how telecommuting may affect their future career prospects with your organization.
- Employees who are just starting to telecommute may have a more difficult time learning to balance their work-family life at first. Consider offering some type of training or counseling to help ease the transition to telecommuting and make the experience more likely to be successful for both employees and your organization.
- Take steps to ensure that telecommuting does not lead to or enhance negative relationships between telecommuting and non-telecommuting employees. Holding regular meetings or work lunches that include both your telecommuting and non-telecommuting employees may help ease tensions. Ensuring telecommuting seems normal and not just a special privilege can help reduce negative feelings between employees.
DeGarmoThis was a summary of the research and practice implications from: Gajendran, R.S., & Harrison, D.A. (2007). The good, the bad, and the unknown about telecommuting: Meta-analysis of psychological mediators and individual consequences. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(6), 1524-1541.