How working from home can affect a company’s culture

How working from home can affect a company’s culture

Telecommuting, also known as working from home, may create a lonely environment for the people who work in the office, according to a recent study.

Many businesses offer telecommuting as a work-life bonus, allowing employees to spend time with their loved ones and have more control of their schedules. Working from home also saves companies money and allows them to employ people who live far from the office.

The study, published in the journal Academy of Management Discoveries, surveyed a company with more than 600 people, asking them about their thoughts and feelings on both working at home and in the office.

The researchers found that employees who worked in the office ended up feeling lonely and isolated. And many of the employees who worked at home felt the same way and wanted to come into work because they needed social interaction. Due to the large number of telecommuters, they found themselves not having office lunches, hallway interactions with coworkers or small talk at the office.

“This is not a surprising finding,” says Dr. Chandragupta Vedak, psychiatrist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill. “When we think of work, we often think of the paycheck as the only reward. In reality, the benefits of a job go well beyond compensation.”

Dr. Vedak says that the office provides a place to socialize, brainstorm, form new relationships, celebrate successes and mourn losses.

“Telecommuting makes that all go away both for telecommuters and those left behind in the office,” he says.

Professor Kevin Rockmann, co-author of the study, suggested workplaces increase communication technology like email, instant messaging and video conferencing to make up for the lack of physical connectedness.

“Companies that permit employees to decide where they work should be aware that this practice can take on a life of its own and should make sure they have the means to bring teams together – in person and face-to-face – as often as needed,” said co-author Michael Pratt of Boston College, in the study’s news release.

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Comments

4 Comments

  1. Hazel Greenfield January 14, 2016 at 1:36 pm · Reply

    I worked for a company that permitted some but not all employees to telecommute. I had a position where I was part of a team not permitted to telecommute even though it was the perfect position to do so. The supervisor was allowed to do so as needed and took advantage of the option because she had young children. An atmosphere of tattle tellin and backstabbing developed. I had another position where the boss could telecommute and he too was ineffectual!

  2. This is a joke, right? We are more isolated in our on-site office than we will ever be once we’re allowed to work from home. We’re looking forward to a change to telecommuting because it’s not worthwhile for us to be in the on-site environment anymore.

  3. My mother works from home three days per week and goes into the office one day per week. She is a customer service representative for an insurance company and she loves working from home. She enjoys being able to wear casual clothes, get chores done around the house during her breaks, and not have to spend time commuting to and from the office. She is older than most of her coworkers in her same role and I think that she doesn’t do much socializing while she’s at work anyways so working at home is perfect for her.

  4. Lonely!? I don’t commute to work in the rain and sleet and snow to socialize. I commute to work because right now, telecommuting is not an option. What I do, I could easily do from my computer from home in my pajamas. Why should I put on a monkey suit and travel sixty miles round trip five days a week to sit at a computer in a cubicle in an office park? The work gets done either way. I would much rather save the gas and wear and tear on my car and save the expense and hassle of public transportation. Productivity has nothing to do with face time in an office. That’s so 19th and 20th Century. I’m talkin’ to you, Marissa Mayer at Yahoo!

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.