Millions of employees now use portable electronic tools to do their jobs from a “virtual office” with extensive flexibility in the timing and location of work. However, little scholarly research exists about the effects of this burgeoning work form. This study of IBM employees explored influences of the virtual office on aspects of work and work/life balance as reported by virtual office teleworkers (n = 157) and an equivalent group of traditional office workers (n= 89). Qualitative analyses revealed the perception of greater productivity, higher morale, increased flexibility and longer work hours due to telework, as well as an equivocal influence on work/life balance and a negative influence on teamwork. Using a quasi‐experimental design, quantitative multivariate analyses supported the qualitative findings related to productivity, flexibility and work/life balance. However, multivariate analyses failed to support the qualitative findings for morale, teamwork and work hours. This study highlights the need for a multi‐method approach, including both qualitative and quantitative elements, when studying telework.
Personnel Psychology – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 1998
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