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Study Finds Emails, Meetings Aren’t the Answer to Telecommuters’ Work Engagement


If you’re a company that employs telecommuters or other remote workers, take heed: A new study indicates that bombarding them with emails or asking them to attend virtual meetings won’t boost their work engagement or foster feelings of closeness with colleagues. Instead, this communication can stress employees out and make them feel even less attached to the company.

Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee studied nearly 200 telecommuters and office-based workers to gauge their workplace identification, interruptions, stress levels, and contact frequency with managers and colleagues. They found that frequent interruptions were “negatively associated with [workers’] feelings of organizational identification,” meaning that simply because telecommuters participated in conference calls or were CCed on emails didn’t make them feel included or a part of the company.

The study’s authors recommend that companies limit weekly meetings and mass emails sent to remote workers. In their place, managers should create information repositories that team members can access at their leisure and strive toward “fostering an environment where employees can schedule uninterrupted time to work.”

Telecommuters, do you like receiving copious emails from your company, or do you agree with the findings of this study?

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(Photo credit: Antony_Mayfield/Flickr)

Marissa Brassfield
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