Managers’ Perceptions of Telework in Relation to Work Environment and Performance
2.1. Study Design
2.3. Data Collection
- Familiarization: transcriptions were read several times to get to know the material.
- The most representative statements and quotations for the study were selected (e.g., “Our check-ins have strengthened and integrated us as a team”).
- Grouping: The statements were sorted by similarities (creating different codes, such as better performance), e.g., “Things that took maybe two hours at the office—you can do now in 45 min…”, “Better productivity when you can choose your working environment”.
- Comparison: Different statements were compared to identify sources of variations (e.g., “Some employees have chosen to close their doors. They have started to do so or to sit at home so that they can work in peace” and “Some employees say: could we have meetings at the office?”). In addition, the essence of the similarities was classified (creating different sub-categories, e.g., work routines).
- After sub-categories, three categories were created: relationship-based aspects, task-based aspects, and added value.
3.1. Relationship-Based Aspects
3.1.1. Social Community
Our check-ins have strengthened and integrated us as a team. We have never known so much about each other’s work as we do now.
My team has lost contact with other groups in the organization. In the team, there is no difference, but in the department, you lose a lot—you lose overhearing (work-related questions) which happens during the coffee breaks.
You must have a mix of meetings...You speak differently when you meet physically. It can also be challenging to have serious or difficult discussions online (if somebody’s relative has passed away).
It is easier to meet online. We have gotten used to telework.
It can be unfair if one person can work from home, but others can’t—I think It can create more of a “we and they” feeling.
Telework can create moaning among the employees in the organization.
3.1.3. Work Routines
Employees react more than before at the office. Some employees have chosen to close their doors. They have started to do so or to sit at home so that they can work in peace.
Some employees say: could we have meetings at the office?
3.1.4. Questioning—Why Come to the Office?
Employees are not going to accept everything—they will be questioning—why do I have to travel to the office? Those who are against traveling to the office have now even more resistance.
(As a manager) You have to trust your employees in a different way when they are teleworking. You have to trust them more. You cannot be the controlling manager.
There are still some managers who think that it is good to see the employees at the office most of the time. I think they don’t trust people—they are a bit skeptical.
3.2. Task-Based Aspects
3.2.1. Quick Decisions
You will have less information when you make a decision—if you need to discuss it with someone you need to book a meeting. It’s not as easy as going to someone and discussing the matter. Sometimes you make quick decisions.
3.2.2. Better Performance
Meetings become more effective online—you go straight to the point. At the office, you speak generally about this and that (before the meeting starts).
Telework gives you a better possibility to work undisturbed. Things that took maybe two hours at the office—you can do now in 45 min when you are working from home.
Flexibility increases motivation…Better productivity when you can choose your working environment.
3.2.3. What Do Employees Deliver?
I’m not going to calculate how many working hours they do—but I would notice if they don’t deliver or if they are sliding away from the group. They need to take their responsibility to do their work in the best way.
3.3. Added Value
3.3.1. Attractivity of the Organization
Telework increases the organization’s attractivity. If we are going to compete for the workforce, we have to be flexible. How can we become more attractive? Then it is a question about telework.
Earlier it was necessary to sit at the office which required that we could only search for consultants who live in the region, otherwise, you need to book a hotel and a business trip, and then it’s not sustainable or economical. For us, it has been positive.
If a person thinks it is unnecessary to travel to the office and telework is offered somewhere else, then he or she can change employer. We had one employee who changed his workplace because of a lack of telework.
3.3.2. Traveling Less
You don’t need to travel to your customers anymore. We can probably reduce traveling (business trips) by 30%.
4.1. Telework—Relationship-Based Aspects
4.2. Telework—Task-Based Aspects
4.3. Telework—Added Value
4.4. The Perspective of Neo-Institutional Theory
4.5. Methodological Considerations
Future Perspectives on Telework
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Name||Age||Sex||Management Level||Experience as a Manager||Number of Employees||Sector||Type of Organization|
|1||42||Man||Middle Manager||1 year||13||Production||Private|
|2||39||Man||Middle Manager||3, 5 years||16||Production||Private|
|3||40||Man||Middle Manager||20 years||10||Production||Private|
|4||64||Woman||Top manager||16 years||230||Municipality||Public|
|5||52||Man||Top manager||10 years||150||Municipality-Culture, and leisure||Public|
|6||46||Woman||Middle Manager||7 years||25||Municipality-Supply chain||Public|
|7||42||Woman||Middle Manager||1, 5 years||21||Municipality-Environment||Public|
|8||51||Man||Middle Manager||12 years||13||IT||Public|
|9||37||Man||Middle Manager||2, 5 years||10||Municipality-Economy||Public|
|10||55||Woman||Middle Manager||12 years||15||Municipality-Economy||Public|
|11||52||Man||Middle Manager||7 years||15||Municipality-IT||Public|
|12||43||Woman||Middle Manager||12 years||18||Municipality||Public|
|13||53||Man||Middle Manager||20 years||21||Municipality-Communication||Public|
|14||60||Woman||Middle Manager||9 years||6||Municipality||Public|
|15||55||Man||Middle Manager||27 years||14||Municipality-Food||Public|
|16||33||Woman||Middle Manager||5 years||20||Municipality-Properties||Public|
|17||50||Woman||Middle Manager||8 years||11||Municipality-Energy||Public|
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Korkeakunnas, T.; Heiden, M.; Lohela-Karlsson, M.; Rambaree, K. Managers’ Perceptions of Telework in Relation to Work Environment and Performance. Sustainability 2023, 15, 5845. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15075845
Korkeakunnas T, Heiden M, Lohela-Karlsson M, Rambaree K. Managers’ Perceptions of Telework in Relation to Work Environment and Performance. Sustainability. 2023; 15(7):5845. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15075845Chicago/Turabian Style
Korkeakunnas, Tea, Marina Heiden, Malin Lohela-Karlsson, and Komalsingh Rambaree. 2023. "Managers’ Perceptions of Telework in Relation to Work Environment and Performance" Sustainability 15, no. 7: 5845. https://doi.org/10.3390/su15075845