A new Baylor University study examined the impact of remote work on employee well-being and offered several strategies to help managers provide remote work opportunities that are valuable to the employee and the company.
“Any organization, regardless of the extent to which people work remotely, needs to consider the well-being of their employees as they implement more flexible working practices,” the researchers wrote.
The research team measured each employee’s autonomy (the level of a worker’s independence), strain (defined in this study as exhaustion, disengagement, and dissatisfaction) and emotional stability. “A total of 403 working adults were surveyed for the two studies that made up the research,” said lead author Sara Perry.
Emotional stability, Perry explained, “Captures how even-keeled someone is or, on the opposite end, how malleable their emotions are. An example would be if something stressful happens at work, a person who is high on emotional stability would take it in stride, remain positive and figure out how to address it.”
The research found that employees reporting high levels of autonomy and emotional stability appear to be the most able to thrive in remote work positions. Also, employees reporting high levels of job autonomy with lower levels of emotional stability appear to be more susceptible to strain.
In addition to their findings, the researchers offered several recommendations for managers who design or oversee remote-work arrangements. The research team advised managers to consider their employees’ behavior when deciding who will work remotely.
Based on this study, individuals with high emotional stability and high levels of autonomy are better suited for remote work, but such candidates might not always be available.
The full findings are present in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology.