Telework and the balance between work and family

flickr.com/photos/topgold/6273248505/sizes/m/ (cc 2.0)

flickr.com/photos/topgold/6273248505/sizes/m/ (cc 2.0)

Research Question: How do telework arrangements affect an employee’s ability to balance work and family demands? What do employees perceive to be the work and non-work related advantages of telework arrangements?

Abstract: This study represents a preliminary step towards developing an understanding of how telework arrangements affect work-family conflict. The following two general research questions are addressed: (1) How do telework arrangements affect an employee’s ability to balance work and family demands?, and (2) What do employees perceive to be the work and non-work related advantages of telework arrangements? The study, which was conducted in three Canadian organizations, was designed to collect information from four groups: (1) teleworkers (n=54); (2) managers of teleworkers (n=26); (3) co-workers of teleworkers (n=22); and (4) a control group (n=36). Two data collection techniques were used in this study: paper and pencil questionnaires and telephone interviews. Data were collected at two points in time: (1) two weeks prior to the start of the telework pilot, and (2) six months after the start of the telework pilot. Repeated measures MANOVAs were used to compare survey responses given at Time 1 to those given by the same subject at Time 2. There were no significant changes in work-family conflict, stress, and ability to manage personal or family time for respondents in the control, co-worker and manager groups over the course of the trial. The repeated measures MANOVA for the telework group indicated an overall significant difference in work-family conflict over time (Hotellings T2=.426, p<.01). Follow-up univariate F-tests indicated that teleworkers had significantly lower levels of interference from work to family, significantly lower levels of interference from family to work, and significantly fewer problems managing their family time than they did prior to the telework pilot. These data support the “positive” view of telework in that they suggest that working from home helps employed parents balance work and family demands.

Findings: Teleworkers had significantly lower levels of interference from work to family, significantly lower levels of interference from family to work, and significantly fewer problems managing their family time than they did prior to the telework pilot.
Implications: These data support the “positive” view of telework in that they suggest that working from home helps employed parents balance work and family demands.

Citation: Higgins, C.A., Duxbury, L.E. & Neufeld, D.J. (1998). Telework and the balance between work and family: is telework part of the problem or part of the solution? In The Virtual Workplace, edited by Magid Igbaria and Margaret Tan, Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing, pp. 218-255. [link]