New Ways of Working
New Ways of Working characterises the freedom of choice of working hours and place of work made possible by the use of information and communication technology (Demerouti et al., 2014; Hill et al., 2008; ten Brummelhuis et al., 2012). This form of working has often been negotiated on an individual basis with the manager (Rousseau, Ho, & Greenberg, 2006) and has experienced a previously unimagined surge due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite clear benefits, New Ways of Working also includes challenges for individual employees, but also for teams and the whole organisation. We are investigating in various projects how New Ways of Working can be introduced into organisations in a meaningful way. It is important to consider the existing organisational and team culture of an organisation.
In our projects, special attention is paid to communication between colleagues. Not only can a lack of presence lead to isolation effects, but the increasing mixing of the private and the professional can also affect employees' health in the long run: The (perceived) obligation to be constantly available prevents the necessary rest between work units and can therefore contribute to stress symptoms and burnout. With a thorough understanding of the positive and negative effects, we contribute to the development of accompanying measures that prevent negative effects for employees and the company.
Benefits of flexible work
The ability to decide when and where to work enables employees to fullfill their family responsibilities without neglecting their work. Working from home not only facilitates the reconciliation of work and private life, but is also perceived as a resource that helps reduce job stress.
It's more of a positive thing, you can have lunch together, yes, yes of course for me personally, I see my children, actually I can look out the window, if I had something stressful now or I've got a customer who did not understand partout (...), I can look out the windows, I see my children play, can breath a little, yes, as I said, it is at home, it is just quiet.
Effects on communication
However, our studies also show that the flexibilisation of work can have a negative effect on the communication with colleagues. Despite the seemingly endless opportunities that modern communication tools provide, especially informal communication suffers as a result from flexibilisation.
The disadvantage is that I cannot meet colleagues from the office (...), the personal communication cannot be replaced 100% with other communication tools.
Obligation of availability
Results also show that employees feel a constant obligation to be available when working under a flexible work scheduling. Employees are grateful not only for the savings in travel time, but also for the increased flexibility they have gained, and therefore are happy to invest more into their work.
When I work at home I enjoy being able to carry out small private duties like grocery shopping in between. However, when I leave my working desk I am constantly refreshing my mails on the smartphone. I have the feeling that I have to react just as quick to mails as in the office.
We explore these aspects in a wide variety of questions and also supervise bachelor's and master's theses. If you are interested please contact email@example.com
Published papers on the subject
- Hartner-Tiefenthaler, M., Goisauf, M., Gerdenitsch, C., & Koeszegi, S. T. (2021). Remote working in a public bureaucracy: Redeveloping practices of managerial control when out of sight. Frontiers in Psychology, 5256. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.606375
- Hartner-Tiefenthaler, M., Feuchtl, S., & Koeszegi, T. (2018). Von Avantgarde bis Fremdbestimmt: Chancen und Risiken unterschiedlicher Arbeitstypen. Kuba, Sylvia (Hg.): Überall Ist Zukunft. Die Gesellschaft Im Digitalen Zeitalter Gestalten. S, 147–153.
- Schöllbauer, J., Hartner-Tiefenthaler, M., & Kelliher, C. (2021). ICT-Enabled Work Extension and Its Consequences: A Paradoxical Situation Between High Performance and Low Wellbeing. In Flexible Working Practices and Approaches (pp. 149–165). Springer.
- Hartner-Tiefenthaler, M., & Lobnig, H. (2021). Homeoffice und virtuelle Teams: Wie die soziale Konnektivität in der ‘New World of Work’ gefördert werden kann (pp. 33–45).
- Baumgaertner, M. & Hartner-Tiefenthaler, M. (2022). Tackling the Autonomy Paradox: A Team Alignment Perspective on the Use of Time-Spatial Flexibility (in press)
- Wohlers, C., Hartner-Tiefenthaler, M., & Hertel, G. (2019). The relation between activity-based work environments and office workers’ job attitudes and vitality. Environment and Behavior, 51(2), 167–198.
- Zafari, S., Hartner-Tiefenthaler, M., & Koeszegi, S. T. (2019). Flexible work and work-related outcomes: The role of perceived organizational alignment. Mrev Management Revue, 30(1), 63–92.