Do You Work from Home? Set a Time, Not a Room
MANAGEMENT |

Do You Work from Home? Set a Time, Not a Room

SEPARATING WORK HOURS FROM PRIVATE TIME IMPROVES PRODUCTIVITY AND PSYCHOLOGICAL WELLBEING, ACCORDING TO A STUDY BY CAPORARELLO AND MANZONI THAT HAS WON AN AWARD BY THE EUROPEAN ACADEMY OF MANAGEMENT. USING DEDICATED SPACES DOES NOT HAVE THE SAME EFFECT

Those who work remotely try to limit the stress caused by interference between the professional and private/family spheres by using two types of strategies. Physical tactics consist of the use of spaces expressly dedicated to work within the home, while temporal ones result in the establishment of fixed timetables within which to work. A very recent study observes that temporal strategies are successful in improving productivity and psychological well-being of individuals, while spatial strategies are ineffective.
 
The paper, Managing Boundaries while Working Remotely: The Interactive Impact of Temporal and Physical Tactics, authored by Leonardo Caporarello and Beatrice Manzoni (both from the Department of Management and Technology and SDA Bocconi) together with Federico Magni (ETH Zurich) and Ganqi Tang (University of Fribourg), recently won the Best Paper Award in the Organizational Behavior - General Track section at the European Academy of Management (EURAM) annual conference.
 
The fieldwork to test this hypothesis was conducted through a survey involving 134 university professors, mainly but not exclusively from Italian universities, using an online questionnaire. The survey showed that while physical tactics do not significantly affect productivity and psychological well-being, temporal tactics have a positive effect, with no significant differences between women and men.
 
The survey also showed that, contrary to what might perhaps be expected, implementing both of these modes does not result in any positive synergy. On the contrary, there seems to be a negative synergy in the sense that the benefits of temporal tactics appear slightly weakened if physical tactics are adopted as well.
 
It is therefore advisable to encourage temporal tactics over physical ones, especially if the results of this study were to be confirmed by further research on other categories of remote workers and in less peculiar circumstances than the one in which this survey was conducted (spring 2020). Indeed, the topic still offers many aspects waiting to be explored, and remote work is here to stay.
 
Federico Magni, Ganqi Tang, Beatrice Manzoni, Leonardo Caporarello, “Managing Boundaries while Working Remotely: The Interactive Effect of Temporal and Physical Tactics”, Academy of Management Proceedings, 6 July 2022, https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/AMBPP.2022.13446abstract
 

by Andrea Costa
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