Telecommuters Feel More Connected at Home with Fewer Interruptions

Telecommuters Feel More Connected at Home with Fewer Interruptions

Employees who work from home feel more connected because they have fewer distractions, debunking the myth that people who telecommute feel isolated and disconnected.

Do you telecommute—or wish you could? Ever since technology has made it possible to perform office tasks at home, people have debated the merits of telecommuting. One of the reasons often cited against the practice is that employees who work from home feel isolated and disconnected. A new study challenges this myth.

Communication and identity

Published in the journal, Communication Monographs, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study involved a group of 89 “teleworkers” and 104 office-based employees. In a series of surveys and interviews, researchers examined how workers communicated and how these forms of communication related to their feelings of closeness to others at the office as well as to feelings of stress due to interruptions. They also looked at the teleworkers’ “sense of identity as part of their organization.”

More communication=more stress=less connected

What they found challenged the long-held belief that employees who work from home need a lot of communication and contact with their organization to minimize a sense of isolation and disconnectedness. Instead they found that “the more teleworkers communicated with others, the more stressed they felt due to interruptions, and this was negatively associated with their identification with the organization.”

Office workers more stressed

The study also found that office workers felt significantly greater levels of stress due to interruptions compared to teleworkers. These stressors were related to interruptions from face-to-face and email communication. The study leader, Kathryn Fonner, says “the study emphasizes a need to address the stress and time pressure associated with the constant barrage of workplace communication for everyone.”

Tips for teleworkers

Late last year, the US government conducted a survey of their federal employees that found those employees who were offered telecommuting options reported significantly higher scores on employee satisfaction. Some advice from seasoned teleworkers to make the experience positive:

  • Work in a dedicated room at home that has a door that can be closed and that has everything you need for your work.
  • Be sure your work area is ergonomically sound (desk, chair, and lighting).
  • Make sure small children are at daycare or with a babysitter.
  • Get dressed and work set hours as though you are at the office.
  • Remember to step away from the computer occasionally; teleworkers tend to overwork.

Related Stories

Discover

Caught in the Middle

Caught in the MiddleHelp for the Sandwich Generation- Twenty million American adults are caring for aging parents at the same time they\'re raising young children. Known as the Sandwich Generation, the

The Importance of Senior Fitness

The Importance of Senior Fitness- According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), exercise and physical activity are some of the best things older adults can do to stay healthy. Even moderate ex

Grandparent Getaways

Grandparent GetawaysTrips to take with your grandchildren- \"No parents allowed.\" It\'s not a sign on a kid-only clubhouse, it\'s the first rule of travel for memory-making grandparent/grandchild vacatio

Comfortably Aging in Place

Comfortably Aging in PlaceHaving lived in the same ranch house for 55 years, John Heck’s grandparents wanted to make any and all necessary accommodations to allow them to peacefully age in place. Usin

Aging with Vitality, Grace and Confidence

Aging with Vitality, Grace and ConfidenceIt’s one of the great ironies of life: Your reward for surviving the tumultuous teen years, establishing a career and nurturing a family culminates in dry skin

3 Ways Seniors Can Control Prescription Costs

3 Ways Seniors Can Control Prescription CostsFor 55 million Americans enrolled in Medicare, the New Year means any new Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plans, or any changes to your existing pl

Popular Categories