Employee Job Performance and Remote Working

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Executive Summary

Organizations are either implementing remote working environments entirely or through a hybrid model. Many companies have so far invested in technology that enabled employees to work and collaborate remotely, but challenges remain. Further, economic downturn, social unrest, and a global health crisis that caused a sudden shift to remote work and led to a mental health crisis have reshaped the way human resources functions. Additionally, remote working is a factor of productivity, and managers of organizations have been updating policies about it. The purpose of this report was to determine whether remote work affects employee performance. Data for the report was generated using document analysis of a range of surveys and interviews conducted in the past about the effects or impact of remote working on the performance of employees.

Analysis was conducted thematically through evaluations and comparisons of different studies. The findings showed a mixture of results, with some studies revealing that working from home had a positive impact on the employees while others showed a negative impact. The review also revealed that successful remote working is dependent on characteristics of the job, personality, traits of the employee, and the nature of the employees’ manager. It was also evident that the attitude and policy of the companies towards remote working affect the performance of their employees who are embracing working from remote locations. The report recommends that studies should be conducted in the future to develop the best policies and ways by which employees and managers of companies could both enjoy the remote way of working. Lastly, companies need to be flexible to allow employees comfortable working from remote locations to do so.

Introduction

Shifts in how organizations see their employees working was already underway even before the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes in terms of the roles have created shifts in terms of the skills and capabilities needed to achieve them. Managers are now responsible for many human resource processes, which have resulted in an implementation gap, indicating the need to increase managerial capacities (Williamson, Colley, and Foley, 2019). Secondly, changes to the nature of work have been fuelled by longer working lives, a shift away from manual work to service, and knowledge-intensive roles. This has necessitated an increase of internationalized workforce and more inclusive working practices that working remotely.

Further, in the last decade, a proliferation of precarious work has increased workplace insecurity, as has been the decrease in the numbers of employees having careers with just one organization. People now prefer to have more than one career, taking on different roles over the span of their working life. In situations in which individuals were recruited to work in a specific professional area, to do a defined role, organizations instead would prefer to recruit projects to teams on contract. This has created a system where individuals find themselves less confined to the traditional boundaries of professional roles and more involved with a wide range of project-based activities that can be executed remotely.

There is also a big change in the tools used to execute the work. The use of digital and technological tools is now properly embedded within the working strategies of organizations (Henman, 2019). Companies, governments, and firms are increasingly searching for opportunities for automating their services, functions, and operations through artificial intelligence (Dickinson et al., 2018). Additionally, the use of technologies such as robotics and additive manufacturing is also increasing as they are applied in a range of different services and programs (Smith et al., 2021). Thus, workers’ engagement and, in particular, their performance levels is a major area for management and organizational development.

Managers have a growing interest in engaging their employees at all levels to enhance their performances. Leaders of various organizations are being evaluated on their capabilities to meaningfully engage their workers at all levels to increase productivity (Adkins, 2016; Hackbarth, 2017). The body of literature available seems to suggest that workers who experience the blending between working remotely and from the traditional workplace are considered to have high levels of engagement (Mann & Adkins, 2017). There is an emerging remote working culture within many organizations globally, and it is increasing steadily (Gallup, 2017). However, managers of organizations have the assumption that their organizational culture that exists in the traditional workplace extends to remote working environments.

Problem Statement

The literature available both pre-COVID and post-COVID is revealing an increasing trend where it is becoming a norm for organizations and companies to allow their employees to work from home for many reasons. For many organizations, it is an opportunity to decrease office rent costs, balance working life for their staff, and save time wasted on commuting to the workplace (Thorstensson, 2020). Working from remote locations has gained more prevalence when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. The employees for many companies were forced to socially distance themselves by staying at home. COVID-19 pandemic was therefore catalyst that boosted the remote working environment for many organizations. Since then, it has become an alternative way of work for many employees.

It is evident that remote work is here to stay, whether that means fully remote or a hybrid model. Many organizations have so far invested in technology that enabled employees to work and collaborate remotely during 2020, but challenges remain (Thorstensson, 2020). Further, an economic downturn, social unrest, and a global health crisis that caused a sudden shift to remote work and led to a mental health crisis have reshaped the way human resources functions. It is important to examine whether working from home has an influence on employees’ performance and whether the influence is positive or negative. There is no doubt that remote working is a factor of productivity, and managers of organizations have been updating policies on remote working. The purpose of this report will be to determine whether remote work affects employee performance. The report will investigate and make conclusions on the impact of remote work on employee performance.

Objectives for Senior Management

The objectives of this review will be to enable the senior managers to get insights on how to improve the employees’ loyalty while working remotely. It will enable the managers to come up with specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely, and well-defined written action plans and programs at workplaces. These plans will help the senior managers have a seamless transition between working at the office and from home or remotely. The report will also make it easy for the managers to know what methods or tools they should use to implement a remote working environment.

Literature Review

Employees who work remotely typically benefit a lot in terms of more time and fewer distractions. This option improves their effectiveness and efficiency at work, which leads to increased productivity (Felstead & Henseke, 2017). There is also a possibility that the management of the firms, organizations, and companies rip rewards including a cost-effective workforce, lower cost of hiring a big workspace, and maintenance when their staffs work from home. Further, there is less distraction, improved workers’ morale as they have a greater autonomy at work (Smith et al., 2018). Despite the incentives and rewards for adopting the remote working system, its implementation has been slower since the 1970s when it was first used (Torten et al., 2016). This is attributed to concerns by some employers that it takes away their control over their workers.

On the other hand, some employees also do feel isolated when working alone, leading to reduced relationships with colleagues (Smith et al., 2018). However, there is a positive correlation between working remotely and job satisfaction, but it varies between those who permanently do their jobs from home and those who do so occasionally (Smith et al., 2018). This positive correlation is linked with factors such as performance and productivity. Further many challenges have been identified within the existing studies.

Historical Perspective of Remote Work

The term “remote working” has changed throughout the history of this system of working. It has over the years been called teleworking, telecommuting, and currently, people refer to calling it remote working (Felsted & Henseke, 2017). However, no clarity has been presented to show whether the changes in terms did change its definition. For instance, telework is defined as working outside the conventional place of work and doing communicating through telephones or computer technology (Grant, 2021). It is also defined as an arrangement where employees do their work at places other than their usual workplaces supported by internet connectivity (Grant, 2021). It is also called flexible work organization whereby employees exclusively perform their duties from home or remote locations that are equipped with computer-based technology (Smith et al., 2018, 46). This idea of working remotely did not take off faster since its origin in the 1970s.

Rapid escalation on a remote system of working was witnessed recently when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the whole world. It opened the eyes of business owners, directors of companies, and managers. It necessitated releasing of employees across the globe to work from their homes (Chang et al., 2021). COVID-19 made this working environment a mandatory requirement for all companies, employers, and their employees even for jobs that were considered essential.

Theoretical Framework

Two theories are tied to remote working; there is the social exchange theory and organizational adaptation theory. Social exchange theory involves exchanges between people in which costs are traded for rewards. Those involved are driven by the urge to get profits from the exchanges (Redmond 2015). In the context of the employee and the employer, this theory is applied in remote work where both the employee and the employer get benefits by working remotely.

The employee could benefit in many ways including having a greater work-life balance and schedule flexibility. On the other hand, the employer also gets rewards for improved productivity, as well as reduced costs advantages. The organizational adaptation theory is basically about the need for organizations to adapt to the immediate environment they operate in. This was the case when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. It forced companies to change their business models in order to survive compulsory lockdowns (Jenkins, 2018. The situation pushed the companies to allow workers to execute their duties remotely. This was necessary for organizations to ensure that their employees were safe.

Pre-COVID-19 literature on Remote Work

There is little research on the long-term impact of remote work on careers and professions. There is no solid evidence on how employees who work remotely coordinate and share knowledge and experiences with their colleagues. Taking a look at teamwork, there is very little about virtual teamwork which is supposed to be a key component of a remote work environment (Van den Meulen et al., 2019). Additionally, knowledge sharing among employees and their managers is said to decline when people work from home (Van den Meulen et al., 2019). However, other literature available also indicates that employees who have trusting relationships and strong bonds with colleagues have greater knowledge sharing compared with teleworkers who do not have these relationships (Williamson et al., 2021).

There is also evidence that employees in virtual teams are more likely to engage in pro-social and helping behaviors during a crisis (Kniffin, 2020). However, no evidence is shown yet on whether the behaviors are maintained once the crisis has disappeared for many workers.

Managers’ Experiences on Remote working Pre-COVID

Literature on remote working shows the importance of middle managers allowing employees to use these working systems. Middle-level managers are very key in making staff work from home (Nakrošienė, Bučiūnienė, and Goštautaitė, 2019). The actions taken by the managers to instill organizational work ethics and culture are very effective on productivity where employees execute their duties (CMI, 2020). Despite this available literature, a study by Williamson et al. (2018) found some resistance from managers to remote working due to their perceived lack of capacity to monitor underperforming employees. This is the case in the public sector, where remote working is not usually practiced (Williamson et al., 2018). Managers have also indicated preferring to maintain standard working arrangements but their opportunities for remote working routines can be developed.

Further, the symbolism of enabling staff to work from home means that the organization values flexibility. Managers have been considering factors including the suitability of the job for remote work, technology limitations, and employees’ household characteristics (Williamson et al., 2021). There have been challenges experienced by managers as far as remote working is concerned. These include lack of face-to-face communication, interdependencies of work within a team, managing and monitoring employees in different locations (Williamson et al., 2021). There were also issues for employees not working remotely, such as perceptions of unfairness, concerns about teleworkers being distracted at home, and a lack of resources, including technological resources (Williamson et al., 2021). It is important for managers to create fairness when deciding on who should work from home or remote locations.

Post-COVID-19 Remote Work Trends

During and after COVID-19, there has been an increasing number of employees working remotely. A study conducted for Flemish workers in May 2020 showed that 65.7% of the employees were satisfied working from home (Baert et al., 2020). Another 64.6% believed that a remote work environment improved their work-life balance (Baert et al., 2020). Almost half (48.4%) and (47.6%) of the respondents thought that remote working reduced stress and burnout respectively (Baert et al., 2020). However, some of the respondents feared that remote work would reduce their chances of promotion and weaken ties with their colleagues (Baert et al., 2020).

Another survey by Wang et al. (2020) revealed that during the pandemic period, social support was positively correlated with lower levels of all remote working problems. Colley and Williamson (2020) in their study showed that men employees considered that opportunities to the network had worsened during the pandemic than women. To cure this problem, organizations and managers should create virtual “intentional collision opportunities”, recreate incidental communications in traditional workplaces (Gartner, 2021). This could enable all employees to network with others from their remote locations.

For managers, some have been struggling with the hybrid structures on how to manage remote employees. This new trend has seen organizations try to build new strategies to cope with the crisis created by the pandemic (Ripamonti et al., 2020). Several studies are also pointing out that many managers believe that remote working has been a success and was executed beyond their expectations during the pandemic (Ozimek, 2020) though a few were not convinced. For example, a study of 1200 people from 24 countries showed that 40% of managers were struggling or had low confidence in managing workers remotely Parker et al., 2020).

41% of them stated that they were skeptical of workers’ ability to remain engaged overtime when working from remote locations (Parker et al., 2020). In terms of gender, the findings revealed that male managers (36%) were more negative about remote working than female counterparts (15%) Parker et al., 2020). This indicated a lack of trust by some managers that their employees could work remotely.

There was apparent fear from the manager due to lack of face-to-face supervision; to address a perceived or actual lack of information about employees’ day-to-day work. They also had issues like employee social isolation and distractions at home (Gleeson, 2020). However, this is not the care because evidence from the research showed that those who performed poorly pre-COVID were likely to continue to perform poorly during the pandemic. Suggesting that poor performance was more about employees’ abilities than working remotely (Forbes et al., 2020, 20). Managers therefore should strive to increase and solidify employee engagement as a remote business strategy to manage them while working from their homes.

Impact of Remote Work on Employees on Work-Life Balance

There is evidence that working from home has an effect on employees to balance their work and family lives. Working remotely can help employees integrate well with their families but it can also make them work for longer hours leading to family conflicts. For example, Williamson et al. (2021) published findings that revealed that remote working can lessen depression in mothers of young children. However, there is also evidence that working from home could create room for other roles at home leading to limitations in terms of work performance or output (Das and Kotikula, 2019). This could also lead to ineffectiveness from the employee and create negative effects on productivity for the company.

Pre-pandemic evidence shows that remote working had a negative impact on the employees. Findings indicated that those who opted for a remote working environment were penalized because they were perceived as not fully committed to their work (Golden and Eddleston, 2020). It led to management biases towards those who opted to work remotely. Further, the literature available also indicates that many women workers see remote work as more detrimental for their careers than men (Lott and Abendroth, 2020). A survey by Golden and Eddleston (2020) of over 400 employees, however, revealed that remote workers did not receive fewer promotions compared to those who worked in their normal workplaces. Additionally, the findings revealed that remote workers who maintained a high face-to-face contact with managers got a higher rate of increased salary growth (Golden and Eddleston, 2020). A clear pointer that managers did not fully trust working from remote locations.

Productivity of Remote Workers

There is little in terms of productivity of remote workers prior to covid-19. Most of the data available on productivity on working remotely are in the form of self-reported productivity. Despite the existence of significant literature claiming how remote working leads to gains in productivity, few studies pre-COVID measured productivity empirically (Williamson et al. 2021). This has led to self-reported productivity by employees who even overestimate their performances. In terms of work input, those who work from home could do an extra 5 hours per week, as they were motivated by the relaxed home environment (Rupietta and Beckmann, 2018). This only resulted in or enhanced their working efforts to continue doing more.

Post COVD-19 studies indicate that self-reported productivity increased during the pandemic. For example, the global CFO survey by PwC (2020) revealed that 45% of CFOs were expecting productivity loss because of employees working from their homes. However, this was not the case, as only about 26% of CFOs reported productivity losses by June 2020 (PwC, 2020). In the middle of the pandemic crisis, 75% of employees in the US, India, and Germany felt they maintained or improved productivity in the first months of COVID-19 (Dahik et al., 2020). This was the same trend by the end of 2020, where surveys of employees and managers globally were showing self-reported increases in productivity. Findings from the global survey revealed that 68% of respondents reported increased productivity (Iometrics, 2020).

There was an estimated increase in production of 5.7% when employees work 2 days a week at home (Iometrics, 2020). Another research in Europe also indicated that 57% of employees did not feel that their productivity or performance decreased while working at home (Ipsen et al. 2020). In Australia, data available indicate that workers reported improved productivity with some variations.

In addition, managers also believed that their workers were just as productive while working from home as they were at their workplaces. Further, data from Swinburne University’s survey of Australian workers indicated that 70.5% of workers reported higher levels of productivity when working from home (Ipsen et al. 2020). Another recent study by NSW Innovation and Productivity (2020) revealed that 82% of employees believed they were more productive when they worked from home. Only 18% felt they were less productive when working remotely from their homes (NSW, 2020). The survey used those whose nature of work did not require them to be at home including nurses and builders.

Why Organisations Prefer Remote Working

When the pandemic changed the way people interact, many organizations applied full distancing and isolation for all their employees. However, even before the COVID-19 situation, a number of companies were encouraging remote working for their employees. These firms were motivated by the fact that they reduced expenses such as rent, maintenance, computers, telephones, offices, utilities, and equipment (Lupu, 2017). Others felt it help the management reduce the cost of parking spaces for employees’ cars (Beňo, 2018). Another factor that motivated companies to adopt remote working was that it helped in increasing employees’ productivity (Lupu, 2017).

They believed remote working increased working hours, employees working without being interrupted, improved employees satisfaction, and much-improved dedication to work. Organizations also saw an opportunity for their employees to take care of their sick loved ones while working without having to take time of duties (Wienclaw, 2019). They were also motivated to help reduce work-related stress among their employees.

Benefits of Remote Working for Employees

Some employees prefer working remotely because of the flexible work schedule option. Working in this context allowed the employees some autonomy in planning their daily activities including employment and family activities (Lupu, 2017). It allows them the opportunity to accomplish their family activities and later perform their employment obligations. They are also capable of modifying their timeline of activities daily or hourly to suit their needs. A remote working environment also accords the employees the benefit of being free to sleep in and work later and working forty hours in four days instead of five or six days a week (Wienclaw, 2019). There is also working forty hours in four days instead of five or six days a week. (Wienclaw (2019). In addition to scheduling personal appointments during office work-hours and completing the work later in the evening without using vacation days.

Drawbacks of Remote Working for Employees

Literature available shows that remote working has some negative aspects for the employees. For example, some jobs are very technical and when errors that need fixing arises, the employees struggle to solve them remotely (Lupu, 2017). There are challenges such as employee isolation, limitation of normal interaction with colleagues, and difficulties in organizing union activities. There could be a communication breakdown between those working remotely and their managers. This could affect their promotions because the supervisors do not have a clear picture of their competencies while working remotely.

Remote Work and Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction is very important when it comes to the relationship between employee and employer. Research shows that the satisfaction level of an employee is largely influenced by individual perspectives (Felstead & Henseke, 2017). Several factors, including the type of work, organizational environment, human resources components, personality type, personal characteristics, and psychological attributes are key for employees’ job satisfaction (Smith et al., 2018). The achievement of work-life balance and adequate functioning of work and home in conjunction with minimal role conflict are also key drivers of satisfaction (Felstead & Henseke, 2017).

A greater need for working from home was necessitated with the arrival of COVID-19. Historically, there is a positive association between remote working and job satisfaction. From literature, there exist a positive correlation between employees’ satisfaction in remote workers who scored high in openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and extraversion (Smith et al., 2018). Further, remote workers reported significantly higher levels of job satisfaction despite a reduction in chances to be promoted (Felsted & Henseke, 2017). Job satisfaction is key for employees to perform, and the report will evaluate studies and make a conclusion on whether remote working enhances employees’ performance.

Methodology

Data Collection

This report used document analysis as the basis for data collection from a range of surveys conducted in the past about the effects or impact of remote working on the performance of employees. It is a systematic technique used to analyze study findings to get answers to the specific research question (Bowen, n.d.). The analysis involves repeated review, examination, and interpretation of survey results to extract meaningful empirical evidence from the variables being studied. In this case, it will be used in mixed-method by triangulating survey findings gathered from different published sources. It will help to corroborate and expand on the results and findings from various sources used in this report. The sources for data will be published academic articles and reports.

Data collection started with a literature review to be able to identify the factors which have an influence of working from home on employees’ productivity and how these factors changed over the specified years. Relevant articles on the subject were searched online using the Google search engine. Searches were made with the keywords and key phrases “performance”, “working from home”, “remote work”, “teleworking”, “virtual organizations”, and combinations of these keywords. This generated many surveys with empirical results used to write this report.

Data Analysis

The method designed for analysis of this report is thematic in order to assess, compare and determine the impact of remote working environment on employees’ performance. This analysis technique involves reading through results or findings and identifying empirical meaning across the data (Caulfield, 2019). It will enable the generation of new insights and concepts derived from the survey findings. However, it limits the use of existing theoretical frameworks, which could limit the interpretive power of the analysis (Caulfield, 2019). The analysis is based on articles and reports published between 2010 and 2021. The articles and reports published on the impact of remote working were selected for analysis and used to write the results of this report. Only academic articles or reports were selected to eliminate writings that could have been personal opinions not supported by any research. All the surveys used for this report were read through and the relevant result findings were grouped together as the results for the report.

Results

This section presents the results and findings from all the sources or articles published between 2010 and 2021. The results are presented with each article topic as the subheading. Under each topic, the presentation starts with what the survey or the study was the intending answer, where the survey was conducted, those who participated in the study, and the sample size. It then concludes by highlighting the key research findings of each study and the deductions that were made from the research.

Working from Home Phenomenon as an Effort to Prevent Covid-19 Attacks and Its Impacts on Work Productivity

The researchers who worked and published this article explored the influence of working remotely on the productivity of the employees. The study used a qualitative method with an exploratory approach (Akbar et al., 2020). In sampled 50 participants as respondents who were interviewed using an in-depth interview schedule. Phones calls were made to the participants due to the COVID-19 pandemic and there were no face meetings. The study questions were focused on employees’ work-life balance, time-saving, quality time, multitasking, decreased work motivation, costs, distractions, and communication limitations. The results revealed that working from home had both benefits and drawbacks (Akbar et al., 2020). The participants unanimously agreed that working from home is not fully acceptable because some jobs cannot be performed remotely.

Mechanisms to Improve Labor Productivity by Performing Telework

Another study was conducted to evaluate the mechanisms to improve remote work. This research studied the factors which could be having an influence on the productivity of the employees who work from remote locations such as homes (Kazekami, 2020). It investigated many factors including the stress of balancing work and domestic chores, life satisfaction, work satisfaction, and decreasing time spent on commuting during rush hours. The study also listed the limitations of remote working such as concentrating on work while caring for children or other family duties. The findings of this survey found that there was a positive correlation between remote working hours and the productivity of employees. The results also revealed that working remotely increases life satisfaction and work satisfaction (Kazekami, 2020). Further, it found that life satisfaction improves employees’ productivity, but work satisfaction did not have an influence on the performance of the workers (Kazekami, 2020). Another factor that increased employees’ performance was the opportunity to avoid commuting to work by public transportation system during rush hours.

Improving Remote Employees’ Organisational Productivity – Practical Guidelines for Identifying and Managing Bottlenecks in today’s World

This study was conducted to investigate the drawbacks of remote working in terms of the productivity of the employees. The study was based on other peer-reviewed journal articles and published reports (Alghaithi, 2020). The published findings in this article indicated that working from home increases performance if organizations offer their employees necessary support, such as enhanced communication and the provision of support services. It emphasized that productivity or performance is mainly due to the work-life balance of the employees and the flexibility of the work hours (Alghaithi, 2020). However, the article highlighted that there are drawbacks to remote working (Alghaithi, 2020). These limitations are connected to the nature of the organization, employee personality, and family demands while working from home.

Telework: Outcomes and Facilitators for Employees

There was also an article review on teleworking dubbed “outcomes and facilitators for employees.” The authors analyzed articles about remote working, performance, job attitudes, and employees being isolated professionally. This led them into listing the factors for successful remote working as characteristics of the job, traits of the employee, and the nature of the employees’ manager (Beauregard et al., 2019). The authors also listed the conditions for success into technical conditions and remote work-related conditions. They insisted that work duties must be performed away from the workplace and the remote locations should be safe, secure, and with no distractions for employees (Beauregard et al., 2019). In their summary, they recommended that remote workers should be able to work without supervision (Beauregard et al., 2019). In addition, they must separate their office work from personal lives; and they must overcome the problem created by isolation.

Does Remote Work Improve or Impair Firm Labour Productivity?

This article explores whether remote working increases labor productivity or performance of the employees. The researchers used samples dated from different firms over a period of five years between 2011 and 2016 (Monterio et al., 2019). Their aim was to determine the impact of remote work on productivity using empirical evidence. They suggested that although empirically there are proven data from many studies, the hypothesis of remote work’s contribution to job satisfaction enhances their performance (Monterio et al., 2019). Their study adopted longitudinal panel datasets of different firms.

The sample was representative of employees from manufacturing and service industries to help broaden the analysis scope (Monterio et al., 2019). Results of this study showed that remotely affects the mean productivity negatively, which could depend on the substantial degree of heterogeneity across different groups of organizations or companies (Monterio et al., 2019). Additionally, the findings revealed that non-exporting small firms with below-mean skill level workers were more likely to be affected by remote work negatively.

The Influence of Working from Home on Employees’ Productivity

Many public and private companies offer remote working as an alternative way of working for their staff. There are benefits and disadvantages for the employees who work remotely compared to working from the office (Thorstensson, 2020). There has been conflicting on whether remote working improves employees’ performance or not. To gain more insights, this study analyzed five research articles published in the year 2000 and five research articles published in the years 2019 and 2020 (Thorstensson, 2020). It tried to discover the factors that have an influence on the productivity or performance of the employees who work from home.

The researcher investigated whether the influence these factors have on the performance was positive or negative. Additionally, it evaluated whether the factors have changed from the year 2000 to the recent years (2019 and 2020) (Thorstensson, 2020(Thorstensson, 2020). The findings indicated that working from home has an influence on the productivity of the employees (Thorstensson, 2020). The author then highlighted that the effects of some of the factors are either positive or negative. However, the influence of some of the factors depended on the attitude of the employees and the circumstances under which the employees work at remote locations or homes.

The Impact of Remote Working on Employee Performance during the Coronavirus pandemic

Several organizations were affected and thrown into confusion by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This prompted businesses to find favorable mechanisms to cope with the unprecedented business environment (Atoko, 2021). The author of this article did a study that was focused on the impact of remote working on the performances of the employees during the pandemic period. The research used secondary data by collecting and doing document analysis on the literature that was reviewed and published in Google scholar between March and July 2020 (Atoko, 2021). The findings of the review showed that remote work has positively impacted the performance of employees during the pandemic period (Atoko, 2021). However, this study was only limited to the literature review from Google scholar and so it could be very subjective.

Work from Home & Productivity: Evidence from Personnel & Analytics Data on IT Professionals

This research studied the productivity of employees before and during the working from the home period of the Covid-19 pandemic. The study used personnel and analytics data from more than 10,000 skilled professionals at one of the largest Asian IT services firms. Results showed that employees’ hours worked increased, including an increase of 18% outside normal business hours (Gibbs, Mengel, and Siemroth, 2021). There was a slight decrease in the mean output, which necessitated productivity to fall by 8-19% (Gibbs, Mengel, and Siemroth, 2021). The researchers then analyze determinants of changes in productivity and performances’ of remote workers.

It was evident from the results that Employees with children at home increased work hours more and had a larger decline in performance than those without children. Further, women workers had a larger decrease in productivity, while employees with longer company tenure did well. The findings also revealed that communication and coordination costs were major factors determining the productivity of remote workers. The time employees spent on coordinating activities and meetings increased, while uninterrupted work hours were lower (Gibbs, Mengel, and Siemroth, 2021). In terms of communication, those working at home talked with fewer individuals and business units, both inside and outside the firm.

The Potential Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Work from Home and Employee Productivity

A study was conducted on the correlation between working remotely and employees’ productivity or performance. It investigated the moderating role of gender in the association between employees working from home and their productivity. Respondents were drawn from the hospitality, banking, and information technology industries. The data from the National Capital Region and Punjab State was used to get a sample size of 250 respondents for the study (Farooq, 2020). The researcher tested the hypothesis using structural equation modeling and multi-group moderation analysis. The findings revealed that there was a negative association between remote working and employee performance (Farooq, 2020). However, the results revealed that gender was a moderating factor in the relationship between employees working remotely and performance.

The Impact of Working from Home on Productivity. A Study on the Pandemic Period

The increased interest in the performance of workers who work remotely draws many researchers to this topic. This only got better when the COVID-19 hit the world and turned many people to work from remote locations. This prompted this study as it focused on finding the impact of working remotely on the productivity of the employees (Mirela, 2020). It took into account the fact that the employees have no choice during the pandemic period despite many of them not having worked remotely before. The study also had an interest in finding the merit and demerits of working from home. The researcher administered a questionnaire to employees of three private companies in Bihor County (Mirela, 2020). The findings revealed a negative effect of remote working on productivity or performance.

Impact of ‘Work from Home’ on Employee Performance / Productivity in Software Industry during COVID -19 Lockdown Result of Perception Survey in India

The challenge of working from home has been researched extensively. However, most of the literature available investigated the psychological aspects related to remote working environments (Kumar, 2020). Very few studies have examined the effect of working remotely on the workers’ productivity/performance (Kumar, 2020). The author carried out research to get the views of software professionals on the impact of remote working on their productivity/performance. The study was descriptive and based only on the perception and self-reported results. The results showed that remote working either increased the employees’ performance or did not affect their performance at all (Kumar, 2020). Meaning, for those who did not see the changes in their performances, felt it was the same as when working from the office.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Conclusion

Based on the document analysis of and thematic analysis of 11 academic articles and published reports, there was a number of conflicting data. No empirical clarity came out to suggest statistically that remote working had an impact on the workers’ performance/productivity. Some findings revealed that working from home had a positive impact on the employees while others indicated that the impact was negative. The second article reviewed found that there was a positive correlation between remote working hours and the productivity of employees. The results also revealed that working remotely increases life satisfaction and work satisfaction. Further, it was evident that life satisfaction improves employees’ productivity, while work satisfaction did not have an influence on the performance of the workers. Another factor that increased employees’ performance was the opportunity to avoid commuting to work by public transportation system during rush hours.

The review also revealed that successful remote working is dependent on characteristics of the job, personality, traits of the employee, and the nature of the employees’ manager. Additionally, remote work can only be successful if both technical and remote work-related conditions are met. This includes the safety and security of the worker, being far from distractions, getting technical support like internet connections and assistance from other co-workers when in need. It was discovered that the productivity or performance of the employees while at home is largely influenced their attitudes and the circumstances under which the employees work at remote locations or homes.

The findings also revealed that communication and coordination costs were major factors determining the productivity of remote workers. There was also an aspect of time, such as the time employees spent on coordinating activities and meetings increased, while uninterrupted work hours were lower. In terms of communication, those working at home talked with fewer individuals and business units, both inside and outside their organizations.

There were a few findings that revealed a negative relationship between productivity or performance and remote working. In particular, the non-exporting small firms with below-mean skill level workers were more likely to be affected by remote work negatively. This could come in the form of the mean negative performance but it could depend on the substantial degree of heterogeneity across different groups of organizations or companies.

In addition, a remote working environment had both benefits and drawbacks for the employees. The nature of the organization an employee works for could hinder the effective implementation of working remotely. Other drawbacks were employees’ personalities; in that, there are some people who cannot work in isolation without interacting with co-workers. When they are pushed to work in isolation, their work input, and output decline. Further, family demands while working at home may also affect employees from performing their duties remotely. It was also coming out that working from home is not fully acceptable to a number of organizations because some jobs cannot be performed remotely.

Lastly, the attitude and policy of the companies towards remote working affect the performance of their employees who are embracing working from remote locations. The productivity will only increase when the workers feel that their companies trust, care about them, and provide them with adequate resources to get their duties accomplished in time. It influences the performance of the employees positively when the staff does not have to waste time, money, and energy on transportation between home and office.

Recommendations

Most of the articles reviewed in this report either gave descriptive statistics or were qualitative findings based on participants’ opinions and perceptions. Further inferential studies should be carried out in the near future to assess the relationship between employees’ job performance and remote working. The future research designs should be objective in the sense that the results coming out must have some relevance and statistical significance that could be generalized outside the study area.

Organizations are still coming to terms with a remote working environment. There are no proper policies and strategies for implementing a remote working environment and it was clear that this was one of the reasons the managers were skeptical about employees working remotely. Studies should be conducted in the future to come up with the best policies and ways by which employees and managers of companies could both enjoy the remote way of working. Further, the existing working policies for most organizations favor the traditional office workplaces, there is an urgent need for firms, organizations, and companies to review them and develop new policies in line with remote working. Companies also need to be flexible and give consideration or allow those comfortable working from home or remote locations to do so.

Lesson Learned and How it Can be Applied in Future

Remote working is the new normal and many organisations are now embracing it because it has benefits for both the companies and their employees. However, going into the future, firms that intend to use this as an alternative working method will need to support their workers with the right technology and technical capabilities to aid employees on how they can communicate with the managers and co-workers so that their performance is not affected. Remote working cannot replace spontaneous office chatter because social interaction is very difficult to maintain remotely, so in the future, it is important to create intentional social meetings to keep relationships and avoid isolations when working remotely. Work-life balance is very difficult for those working remotely within their homes, and some people get distracted easily by the need to attend to family matters.

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