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FCW : November and December 2015
For the 100-mile commuter, the har- ried single parent and others, flexible telework is the best thing ever. But what about the people who still go into the office? According to a recent paper, they get lonely. “Contagious Off-Site Work and the Lonely Office: The Unintended Con- sequences of Distributed Work,” by Michael Pratt of Boston College and Kevin Rockmann of George Mason University, delves into the plight of the teleworker’s abandoned colleagues. “People still appear to desire something like a traditional office,” the report states. “In our study, even people who worked largely off-site still missed the social and work ben- efits of the old office.” In fact, many people who are cur- rently teleworking might be doing so only because their offices have been deserted. The authors asked more than 600 employees at a Fortune 100 company why they chose to telework and how often they did it. Given the company’s wide-open telework policy, employees could essentially choose where they wanted to work every day. Although many employees cited work/life balance and efficiency, the employees who felt disconnected because of the prevalence of tele- BY ZACH NOBLE A new study reveals that the morale of on-site workers can suffer as telework programs expand — and spark an office exodus rooted in loneliness Telework and the loneliness left behind DrillDown “You used to have...established friendships and stuff at work that were a lot more close,” one employee said. “And now it’s just come to work, do your work and leave.... It’s not as friendly to come to work now.” 32 November/December 2015 FCW.COM 1215fcw_032-033.indd 32 11/11/15 9:03 AM