The epidemiological situation during the spread of COVID-19 and the measures taken for mandatory social distancing led to companies’ transferring employees to work in a remote format. Despite the forced nature of such measures, remote work will remain an essential component of the post-COVID-19 world (Felstead and Henseke, 2017; Nash and Churchill, 2020, Thomas, 2021). For many employees and companies, remote work proved to be a beneficial concept.
At organizational and economic levels, reducing rent costs and enhancing anticipated work efficiency when working from home are considered positive implications (Lund, 2020; Wang et al., 2020). As for the individual and social levels, people working from home save time, reduce the stress associated with commuting, and might perform more efficiently due to the freedom of the work environment arranging (Felstead and Henseke, 2017; Kylili et al., 2020). At the same time, remote work imposes severe challenges on companies, causing extra investment in informational technologies, teamwork communication, and employee productivity (Madero Gómez et al., 2020). Thus, given the significance of the implications of remote work for people on a global level and the number of positive and negative issues for and individuals associated with working from home, it is essential to evaluate the benefits and challenges using scientific means.
The general goal of the proposed research study is to use a case of one organization to investigate the benefits and negative implications of remote work for employees. The chosen organization operates in the information technologies industry and provides website development and support services. Using this company as a case for the research study, the researcher will be able to conduct an in-depth investigation of outcomes of remote work for employees to justify the effectiveness of such a format of work for the future.
Research aim: The aim of the proposed research study is to evaluate the benefits and challenges of remote work on company X’s employees in terms of job satisfaction.
Research objectives (RO):
- RO1: Identify challenges to achieving job satisfaction among employees working remotely at the company.
- RO2: Establish whether these challenges affect job satisfaction.
- RO3: Identify and evaluate best practices for coping with the challenges.
Research questions (RQ):
- RQ1: What challenges do the employees face in terms of managing remote work?
- RQ2: Are these challenges affecting employees’ job satisfaction?
- RQ3: What coping techniques used by employees to deal with remote work-related challenges are most effective?
Research Importance and Significance
The significance of the proposed research is validated by its novelty and the contribution to the body of literature on organizational performance and employee experience in post-COVID time. The majority of studies concentrate on the implications for industries in general and businesses in particular, omitting the impact of remote work on individuals, especially those working in such a fast-growing industry as information technologies. Thus, the proposed study is aimed at bridging the gap in the literature by contributing its evidence-based findings. The importance of the study is justified by the urgent necessity of scientific and evidence-based knowledge about objective outcomes of remote work for workers and organizations. Indeed, the observed tendency to proceed to work remotely noticed in many companies imposes a need to validate such business choices to ensure employee satisfaction in a long-term perspective for continuous organizational benefits.
Recently, much scholarly research has been conducted on the topic of the implications of remote work due to COVID-19 social isolation of the performance of businesses. The scope of literature chosen for the present study includes academic articles published within the past five years and demonstrating the benefits and challenges of remote work for workers and organizations. Several pivotal studies demonstrate how the format of working from home is becoming a persistent trend in the workplace of the post-COVID era.
Most of the researchers’ attention is paid to the organizational perspective on the issues. The benefits identified for companies include increased efficiency and productivity of employees and the saving of costs. Indeed, Felstead and Henseke (2017) believe that the current situation will help many employers become more flexible and allow more employees to work from home and not just go to the office. It is quite possible that they will pay more attention to where it is more comfortable for a person to work and become more productive, not just to physical presence in the office. Another possible option, according to Lund (2020), is the revision of budgets. The funds that could be spent on an expensive office may now be more logically directed in another direction, including salaries. Another potential consequence, in the opinion of Yang and Holtz (2021), is that processes at the company level will become more flexible: there may be less bureaucracy, and work processes will accelerate. In a crisis and a rapidly changing situation, companies have to react faster, make decisions quickly and put them into action faster.
Adding to the discussion of the benefits for companies, Wang et al. (2020) assume that one of the possible optimistic consequences of the current crisis is that companies will pay more attention to corporate culture, vision, values, and work principles. Similarly, Rymaniak et al. (2020) note that the way it affects the actions of both managers and subordinates becomes especially noticeable during this period. Nash and Churchill (2020) see the corporate culture as the core that helps the company stay consistent with the ability to change and adapt quickly to new circumstances.
As for the challenges, their implications for organizations have been studied with adequate attention to the experiences of employees. Madero Gómez et al. (2020) note that new ways must be found to unite a team that is no longer tied to an office and shared space. Lund (2020) says that teams are starting to interact in a new way — in video chats and messengers, and managers have to look for other quality control methods. Including, for example, more trust in the employees themselves and how much they are able to organize their workflow. According to experts, leadership skills will also need to be re-approached in the context of the pandemic to unite the team in difficult times. Thomas (2021) believes that the current situation may force employers to pay more attention to employees and their needs and seriously think about ways to motivate them.
On the other hand, there are fewer studies that focus on the implications of remote work for employees. Kylili et al. (2020) state that working from home allows people to use time and costs more efficiently due to the lack of necessity to commute to and from work. Moreover, they are not exposed to excessive stress working from their comfortable environment. As for the challenges, Prasad et al. (2020) identify a psychological burden of the daily routine on workers combining their professional performance with home activities. Overall, time management and productivity issues are discussed in the literature when analyzing individual challenges of remote working during COVID-19.
The reviewed literature constitutes a body of essential scholarly basis for developing the proposed research study. The analysis of the literature shows that the majority of studies investigate the organizational implications of remote work. The benefits and challenges faced by individual employees are under-investigated, further reinforcing the present study’s importance. The questions and objectives set for this study acknowledge revealing the correlation between remote work and employee satisfaction with their job. Therefore, a specific example of an organization will allow for determining the actual impact on employee job satisfaction and the ability to mitigate challenges. The use of the described sources in conjunction with the tasks set will allow proving the current situation using the example of the company’s working atmosphere.
For a research study to yield reliable findings, a researcher should employ a well-integrated approach based on congruent theory and practice. The research philosophy is based on the principles of positivism, asserting that only measurable data might be considered credible (Callingham and Hay, 2018). Consistent with positivist philosophy, a quantitative inquiry will be used to conduct the proposed study. The implementation of this method is validated by the complexity of the issue at hand that should be approached from the perspective of quantitative data collection and analysis (Callingham and Hay, 2018). Indeed, social employee-related implications of remote work will be measured quantitatively. Thus, the choice of methodology is informed by the nature of the investigated topic and the identified research questions and objectives.
The method for the proposed study is a quantitative case study; to address the research questions, the data collecting method of the questionnaire will be used. Using a case study as a methodological basis for the research, the findings obtained from company X will allow for generalizing the implications of COVID-19-related job-satisfaction outcomes of remote work. Using a simple random sampling method, participants from the pool of employees of company X will be recruited. The method of the quantitative case study will allow for approaching RO1, RO2, and RO2 for measuring the dependence of satisfaction-related manifestations on remote work mode. The method of questionnaires will help collect quantitative data from the sample. The collected data will be analyzed using quantitative means. In particular, to answer RQs, a descriptive statistics test will be used to measure the variables. In particular, remote work will be considered an independent variable, and three dependent variables, namely job satisfaction and the degree of coping techniques’ effectiveness, will be measured. This approach to data analysis is validated by a relatively small sample used for the study. Thus, using the chosen methodology, data collection, and data analysis methods, the researcher will be able to conduct a comprehensive study with anticipated findings contributing to the scope of research on the topic.
Callingham, R. and Hay, I. (2018) ‘The paradigmatic challenge of mixed-methods research: positivism, relativism or pragmatism?’, In Structuring the Thesis (pp. 27-37). Springer, Singapore.
Felstead, A. and Henseke, G. (2017) ‘Assessing the growth of remote working and its consequences for effort, well-being and work-life balance, New Technology, Work and Employment, 32, pp. 195-212.
Kylili, A. et al. (2020) ‘The role of remote working in smart cities: lessons learned from COVID-19 pandemic’, Energy Sources, Part A: Recovery, Utilization, and Environmental Effects, pp.1-16.
Lund, S. (2020) ‘What’s next for remote work: An analysis of 2,000 tasks, 800 jobs, and nine countries, McKinsey Global Institute, pp. 1–13. Web.
Madero Gómez, S., Ortiz Mendoza, O.E., Ramírez, J. and Olivas-Luján, M.R. (2020) ‘Stress and myths related to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on remote work’, Management Research, 18(4), pp. 401-420.
Nash, M. and Churchill, B. (2020) ‘Caring during COVID-19: a gendered analysis of Australian university responses to managing remote working and caring responsibilities’, Gender Work Organ, 27, pp. 833– 846.
Prasad, D.K., Mangipudi, D.M.R., Vaidya, D.R. and Muralidhar, B. (2020) ‘Organizational climate, opportunities, challenges and psychological wellbeing of the remote working employees during COVID-19 pandemic: a general linear model approach with reference to the information technology industry in Hyderabad, International Journal of Advanced Research in Engineering and Technology, 11(4), pp. 372-389.
Rymaniak, J., Lis, K., and Davidavičienė, V. (2021) ‘From stationary to remote: employee risks at pandemic migration of workplaces’, Sustainability, 13, p. 7180.
Thomas, G. (2021) ‘Supporting the productivity and wellbeing of remote workers: lessons from COVID-19’, Organizational Dynamics, p. 100869.
Wang, B., Liu, Y., Qian, J. and Parker, S.K. (2021) ‘Achieving effective remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic: a work design perspective’, Applied Psychology, 70, pp. 16-59.
Yang, L., and Holtz, D. (2021) ‘The effects of remote work on collaboration among information workers’, Nature Human Behaviour, pp. 1–14.