The future of working from home: a mixed-methods study with IT professionals to learn from enforced working from home

Simon Lansmann*, Jana Mattern, Simone Krebber, Joschka Andreas Hüllmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Purpose: Positive experiences with working from home (WFH) during the Corona pandemic (COVID-19) have motivated many employees to continue WFH after the pandemic. However, factors influencing employees' WFH intentions against the backdrop of experiences during pandemic-induced enforced working from home (EWFH) are heterogeneous. This study investigates factors linked to information technology (IT) professionals' WFH intentions. Design/methodology/approach: This mixed-methods study with 92 IT professionals examines the effects of seven predictors for IT professionals' WFH intentions. The predictors are categorized according to the trichotomy of (1) characteristics of the worker, (2) characteristics of the workspace and (3) the work context. Structural equation modeling is used to analyze the quantitative survey data. In addition, IT professionals' responses to six open questions in which they reflect on past experiences and envision future work are examined. Findings: Quantitative results suggest that characteristics of the worker, such as segmentation preference, are influencing WFH intentions stronger than characteristics of the workspace or the work context. Furthermore, perceived productivity during EWFH and gender significantly predict WFH intentions. Contextualizing these quantitative insights, the qualitative data provides a rich yet heterogeneous list of factors why IT professionals prefer (not) to work from home. Practical implications: Reasons influencing WFH intentions vary due to individual preferences and constraints. Therefore, a differentiated organizational approach is recommended for designing future work arrangements. In addition, the findings suggest that team contracts to formalize working patterns, e.g. to agree on the needed number of physical meetings, can be helpful levers to reduce the complexity of future work that is most likely a mix of WFH and office arrangements. Originality/value: This study extends literature reflecting on COVID-19-induced changes, specifically the emerging debate about why employees want to continue WFH. It is crucial for researchers and practitioners to understand which factors influence IT professionals' WFH intentions and how they impact the design and implementation of future hybrid work arrangements.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation Technology and People
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 17 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Structural equation modeling
  • Survey
  • Text analysis
  • Working from home

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