What do we know about working from home?
Under COVID-19 restrictions, many people find themselves suddenly working from home. In this research tidbit, we cover some research into the effects of working from home.

Time Management: Working from Home
Get time management tips to stay productive and balanced when working from home part-time or full-time. Working from home is a wonderful opportunity, but time management can be a challenge. With so many demands on your time and attention, it’s a tricky balancing act to stay productive.

In this course, bestselling author and productivity expert Dave Crenshaw offers best practices for anyone who works full-time or occasionally from home. Dave begins by showing how to set up a dedicated workspace for maximum productivity, including tips on setting up your computer to ensure you stay focused. Then Dave walks through how to craft your daily schedule for peak productivity and plan meaningful breaks to avoid burnout. He explains how to collaborate with remote coworkers, including how to use virtual meetings productively.

Finally, Dave offers advice for working parents and other caregivers who might be balancing professional and personal responsibilities in the home.

Dave Crenshaw – Video available through LinkedIn Learning
Carpenteria, CA linkedin.com, 2018.

 

Working from home, gender and family life
Working from home has become engraved in modern working life. Although advocated as a solution to combine work with family life, surprisingly little empirical evidence supports that it decreases work–family conflict. In this paper the authors examine the role of a supportive organisational context in making working from home facilitate the combination of work and family.

Specifically, the authors address to what extent perceptions of managerial support, ideal worker culture, as well as the number of colleagues working from home influence how working from home relates to work–family conflict. By providing insight in the role of the organisational context, the authors move beyond existing research in its individualistic focus on the experience of the work–family interface.

The authors explicitly address gender differences since women experience more work–family conflict than men. The authors use a unique, multilevel organisational survey, the European Sustainable Workforce Survey conducted in 259 organisations, 869 teams and 11,011 employees in nine countries (Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom).

Results show that an ideal worker culture amplifies the increase in work family conflict due to working from home, but equally for men and women. On the other hand, women are more sensitive to the proportion of colleagues working from home, and the more colleagues are working from home the less conflict they experience.

 

Read this Open Access article online for free

 

Tanja van Der Lippe and Zoltán Lippényi. 2018.  Beyond Formal Access: Organizational Context, Working From Home, and Work–Family Conflict of Men and Women in European Workplaces. 
Social Indicators Research, October, 1-20.

 

Energy demand in working from home in the UK
The practice of working from home has become widespread in developed countries, and the numbers of regular home workers are steadily increasing. There are potentially positive implications for energy consumption associated with home working, but these depend on myriad variables.

This qualitative study, based on interviews with regular home workers, provides a more in-depth perspective on how and why energy is used compared with quantitative models of household consumption. Ethnographic research data is analysed using insights from practice theory. Placing the practice at the heart of analysis, it explores meanings, materials and competences involved in home working, and attends to the affective experiences of practitioners.

Considering working from home as an integrative practice, it explores how dispersed practices are incorporated into individual performances, bringing about affective satisfaction. Findings show that the practice of working from home is characterised by themes of comfort, control and flexibility, with implications for energy demand. It is argued that the synthesis of practice theory and affect can provide valuable insights for energy research.

The paper discusses the implications for demand reduction, demand shifting and ‘smart’ controls, with reference to the role of employers, researchers, policy makers and home workers themselves.

 

Read this Open Access article online for free

 

Sam Hampton. 2017. An ethnography of energy demand and working from home: Exploring the affective dimensions of social practice in the United Kingdom. 
Energy Research & Social Science, 28, 1-10.

 

Effects of co-workers’ working from home on performance 
The number of firms supporting work from home has risen dramatically as advances in communication technology have fundamentally transformed the way humans cooperate. A growing literature addresses working from home, but focuses only on individual workers, overlooking potential influence of co‐worker engagement.

The aim is to study the influence of co‐workers working from home on individual and team performance. The authors use unique data from a large‐scale survey involving nine European countries, 259 establishments, 869 teams and 11,011 employees to show that the impact of working from home by co‐workers on performance is considerable and has remained hidden in past studies because they did not account for co‐worker effects.

While working from home may be useful for some workers, it does bring issues for them as well. Specifically, the authors demonstrate that co‐workers working from home negatively impact employee performance. Moreover, team performance is worse when more co‐workers are working from home.

 

Read this Open Access article online for free

 

Tanja van Der Lippe and Zoltán Lippényi. 2020. Co‐workers working from home and individual and team performance. 
New Technology, Work and Employment, 35(1), 60-79. 

 

How does working from home affect families in Australia? 
This article analyses the effect of employees working from home on their partners’ assessments of family functioning using Australian household panel data collected from 2001 to 2013 in 48 multivariate models.

Some evidence is found that working from home contributes to better relationships and a more equitable division of household responsibilities for couples with children. Limited evidence of negative externalities is observed, notably where male employees work substantial hours from home.

Overall the findings contribute to the weight of evidence that working from home is conducive to families achieving a better work‐life balance.

Alfred M. Dockery and Bawa, Sherry. 2018. When two worlds collude: Working from home and family functioning in Australia.
International Labour Review, 157(4), 609-630.

 

When scientists work from home 
How do laboratory closures triggered by COVID-19 affect scientists in running their research groups remotely?

Kendall Powell. 2020. Science-ing from home.
Nature 580, 419-421 (2020)