Studies on remote work: challenges and implications for hybrid work arrangements

  • Hybrid work, a flexible work model that combines on-site and remote work, has become the “new normal.” Despite the many well-known advantages of hybrid work, employees who work remotely face various challenges due to their physical separation from colleagues and supervisors. First, the physical separation reduces remote workers’ accessibility. Thus, re-mote workers rely on information and communication technologies (ICT) to communicate and collaborate with their colleagues and supervisors who work at other locations. Com-municating via ICT presupposes the remote worker to be available. Therefore, a key chal-lenge remote workers face is the need to continuously manage their ICT-based availability in order to balance the manifold beneficial and detrimental work-related and private conse-quences of being available. Second, due to being physically absent from the workplace, remote workers’ effort is less transparent to their colleagues and supervisors. Stereotypes persist depicting remote workers as less dedicated, engaging in non-work activities such as leisure, childcare or household duties, instead of doing their job. To counteract such (potential) bias, remote workers might feel pressured to prove their effort, thereby engaging in proving availability and communica-tion behavior to signal their engagement to colleagues and supervisors. This felt pressure and concomitant proving behavior might have detrimental effects on remote workers’ well-being and performance. Therefore, this dissertation aims to shed light on the three phenomena of (1) remote workers’ ICT-based availability, (2) remote workers’ proving availability and communication behav-ior, and (3) remote workers’ felt pressure to prove their effort. To provide insights into these phenomena, a systematic literature review and two empirical studies are conducted. First, a qualitative study with 21 remote workers and a systematic literature review are con-ducted to better understand how remote workers manage their ICT-based availability. Re-sults show that remote workers’ ICT-based availability is a complex phenomenon with mani-fold antecedents, that can be classified into seven categories. Merging the findings from the qualitative study with a systematic literature review reveals that research on remote workers’ ICT-based availability is fragmented, offering several avenues for future research. Second, based on the qualitative study, the construct of remote workers’ proving availability and communication behavior is introduced and elaborated. Relying on the interview data, four behavioral patterns remote workers use to signal their engagement are identified. More-over, a five-stage model is developed explaining why remote workers engage in such behav-iors and the detrimental outcomes. Third, to examine remote workers’ felt pressure to prove their effort, a two-wave quantitative study with 407 remote workers is conducted. Results of structural equation modeling show that team factors, i.e., team norms regarding remote work and felt trust by colleagues, predict presumed bias against remote work, which in turn is positively related to remote workers’ felt pressure to prove their effort. Moreover, felt pressure negatively affects remote workers’ well-being as indicated by increased stress and decreased psychological detachment, which both hinder job performance. In sum, this dissertation contributes to a comprehensive and empirical understanding of the three phenomena of (1) remote workers’ ICT-based availability, (2) remote workers’ proving availability and communication behavior, and (3) remote workers’ felt pressure to prove their effort. Findings suggest that all three may impair remote workers’ well-being and per-formance. This dissertation suggests valuable implications for future research and practice in order to maintain the positive outcomes of remote work in hybrid work settings.

Export metadata

Additional Services

Search Google Scholar
Author:Meika Schuster
Advisor:Gisela Gerlach, Tanja Rabl
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Cumulative document:No
Language of publication:English
Date of Publication (online):2024/06/18
Date of first Publication:2024/06/19
Publishing Institution:Rheinland-Pfälzische Technische Universität Kaiserslautern-Landau
Granting Institution:Rheinland-Pfälzische Technische Universität Kaiserslautern-Landau
Acceptance Date of the Thesis:2024/05/29
Date of the Publication (Server):2024/06/19
Page Number:64, XXX Seiten
Faculties / Organisational entities:Landau - Fachbereich Kultur- und Sozialwissenschaften
DDC-Cassification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 330 Wirtschaft
Licence (German):Creative Commons 4.0 - Namensnennung, nicht kommerziell, keine Bearbeitung (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)