Feeling Remote: Factors Influencing Isolation in Remote Workers

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Bell, Chelsea J
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Middle Tennessee State University
This study contributes to the ongoing dialogue surrounding the benefits and drawbacks of remote work programs. The purpose of this research is to understand how communication and interdependence of work tasks influence the level of isolation perceived by remote workers. The responses of an online survey were analyzed using regression analysis, and the results indicated that initiated interdependence, received interdependence, task-related communication, and telecommuting intensity predicted colleague support, the first dimension of workplace isolation. An interaction effect was found between initiated interdependence and telecommuting intensity to predict colleague support. Received interdependence, communicating organizational values, task-related communication, and communication frequency were significant predictors of company support, the second dimension of workplace isolation. An examination of common communication methods revealed that face-to-face communication, phone communication, video conferencing, and instant messaging were predictive of colleague support. Results of this study suggest that performing interconnected work tasks remotely and increasing communication with others may help to counteract workplace isolation -- one of the most cited difficulties faced by remote workers.
Psychology, Communication, Occupational psychology, Labor relations