The Home Office: Dream, Reality, and In-Between”
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With rapid advances in information and telecommunication technologies, home-based telecommuting has become quite popular in recent years, especially among knowledge workers. Proponents claim several benefits for the organization (e.g., higher employee productivity), for its employees (e.g., a healthy work-family balance), and for the society (e.g., reduced air pollution). Others suggest several drawbacks for employees, such as social and professional isolation, and increased family-work role conflict as well as challenges for the organization in such areas as performance evaluation and organization culture transmission. Recent reviews of research studies in telecommuting (e.g., Bailey & Kurland, 2002; Pinsonneault & Boisvert, 2001) have shown some support for both. With respect to the workplace itself, popular business magazines give the image of telecommuters working in an idyllic home office. A cursory review of two studies, however, suggests a different image of the workspace at home (Ng, 2006). In reality, what are home offices or workspaces like as indicated in research studies? Current research has shown that the layout and design of the conventional office environment are associated with various work behaviors, job satisfaction, and wellbeing (e.g., McCoy, 2002; Vischer, 2005). Research in residential environments shows that the home is the refuge for its residents, and that it is a place for relaxation and entertainment for the whole family, or its residents (Gifford, 2002). How can both work-related and home-related functions be accommodated at the same place? How may the design and condition of home offices or workspaces relate to telecommuters’ work behaviors, job satisfaction, and wellbeing? This presentation shows the results of a literature review that might suggest an answer to these questions.