Does It Matter Where Your Manager Works?

When we speak of teleworking in the federal government, the benefits often outweigh the potential disadvantages, like employees feeling isolated or having less access to agency resources. But a new study brings another challenge into the mix -- the impact a teleworking manager has on the work experiences of his or her employees.

Researchers Timothy Golden from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Allan Fromen from GfK Custom Research surveyed more than 11,000 employees from U.S. Fortune 500 companies and found that employees who worked for teleworking or virtual managers had generally less positive work experiences and outcomes than those with managers in a traditional work mode.

More specifically, the survey asked each respondent to indicate for themselves and their manager their mode of work: traditional (in the office full time), teleworking (a combination of office and virtual work), or completely virtual (outside of the office full time). Some respondents managed by teleworking or fully virtual managers reported receiving less feedback and professional development, more unbalanced workloads, and lower levels of empowerment and morale. "The effect sizes were small overall, suggesting this needn't be a make or break issue, but the trend was there," Occupational Digest reports.

Meanwhile, employees who worked remotely had similar experiences, regardless of whether their manager was in the office, teleworking or working remotely full-time. "This study suggests a need for further investigation into the effects of managerial work modes on subordinate experiences and outcomes," the study states.

Do you and/or your manager work remotely? What impact does it have on your work experiences, job satisfaction and professional development?

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