Telework at times of a pandemic: The role of voluntariness in the perception of disadvantages of telework

  • The implications of telework are discussed controversially and research on its positive and negative effects has produced contradictory results. We explore voluntariness of employee telework as a boundary condition which may underpin these contradictory findings. Under normal circumstances, individuals who do more telework should perceive fewer disadvantages. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, employees could no longer voluntarily choose to telecommute, as many organizations were forced to introduce telework by governmental regulations. In two studies, we examine whether the voluntary nature of telework moderates the association between the amount of telework and perceptions of disadvantage. In Study 1, we collected data before and during the COVID-19 pandemic (N = 327). Results show that pre-pandemic participants (who were more likely to voluntarily choose this form of work) reported fewer disadvantages the more telework they did, but this was not the case for employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. To validate these findings, we measured employees’ voluntariness of telework in Study 2 (N = 220). Results support the importance of voluntariness: Individuals who experience a high degree of voluntariness in choosing telework perceive fewer disadvantages the more they telework. However, the amount of telework was not related to reduced perceptions of disadvantages for those who experienced low voluntariness regarding the telecommuting arrangement. Our findings help to understand when telework is related to the perception of disadvantages and they can provide organizations with starting points for practical interventions to reduce the negative effects of telework.

Download full text files

Export metadata

Author:Antonia J. KaluzaORCiDGND, Rolf van DickORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Current psychology
Place of publication:New York, NY
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2022/04/01
Date of first Publication:2022/04/01
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2023/11/13
COVID-19; Telecommuting; Telework; Voluntariness
Issue:online version before inclusion in an issue
Page Number:12
Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt
Data availability The data of both studies is available at the open science framework under:
Early View: Online Version before inclusion in an issue
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International