Teleworkers experience lower amounts of stress, study finds

In the wake of the passage of the federal telework bill, newly published research shows that employees who telecommute the majority of the work week are more satisfied with their jobs compared to those who do not—because working remotely alleviates more stress than it creates.

The main benefit reported by participants who telework at least three days a week is the decreased work-life conflict that a flexible work arrangement allows, according to a new study by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The study was reviewed in the November issue of the Journal of Applied Communication Research, which is published by the National Communication Association.

There were multiple reasons why telework is linked to high job satisfaction, said Kathryn Fonner, a UWM assistant professor of communication and study co-author. For example, employees working remotely are, on average, shielded from much of the distracting and stressful aspects of the workplace, such as office politics, interruptions, constant meetings and information overload, Fonner said.

“Our findings emphasize the advantages of restricted face-to-face interaction, and also highlight the need for organizations to identify and address the problematic and unsatisfying issues inherent in collocated work environments,” said Fonner. “With lower stress and fewer distractions, employees can prevent work from seeping into their personal lives.”

Alienation from workplace communication, often cited as the biggest disadvantage of telework, was reported as minimal by the study’s participants, researchers found. Teleworkers reported exchanging information with others less frequently than office-based employees, but both groups reported similar timely access to important work-related information.

To see more, go to: www.natcom.org.

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