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The practice of remote e-working, which involves work conducted at anyplace, anytime, using technology, is on the increase. The aim of this systematic literature review is to gain a deeper understanding of the association between remote e-working, within knowledge workers, and the five dimensions of well-being at work: affective, cognitive, social, professional, and psychosomatic. Sixty-three studies employing quantitative, qualitative and mixed-method designs have been included in the review. Findings indicate that we know more about remote e-workers’ affective state and their social and professional life than we know about their cognitive functioning and psychosomatic conditions. Whilst the research indicates a positive focus there are some negative aspects of this way of working which are highlighted within this review; such as social and professional isolation, and perceived threats in professional advancement. This review may be of great importance for academics, to continue the theoretical advancement of research into remote e-working, and practitioners, to implement and manage remote e-working attitudes and policies more effectively.
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European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
ISSN: 1359-432X (Print) 1464-0643 (Online) Journal homepage:
Systematically reviewing remote e-workers’ well-
being at work: a multidimensional approach
Maria Charalampous, Christine A. Grant, Carlo Tramontano & Evie
To cite this article: Maria Charalampous, Christine A. Grant, Carlo Tramontano & Evie
Michailidis (2018): Systematically reviewing remote e-workers’ well-being at work: a
multidimensional approach, European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, DOI:
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Systematically reviewing remote e-workerswell-being at work: a multidimensional
Maria Charalampous
, Christine A. Grant
, Carlo Tramontano
and Evie Michailidis
Centre for Advances in Behavioural Science (CABS), Coventry University, Coventry, UK;
School of Psychological, Social and Behavioural Science,
Coventry University, Coventry, UK;
Cyprus Institute of Marketing, Nicosia, Cyprus
The practice of remote e-working, which involves work conducted at anyplace, anytime, using technol-
ogy, is on the increase. The aim of this systematic literature review is to gain a deeper understanding of
the association between remote e-working, within knowledge workers, and the five dimensions of well-
being at work: affective, cognitive, social, professional, and psychosomatic. Sixty-three studies employ-
ing quantitative, qualitative and mixed-method designs have been included in the review. Findings
indicate that we know more about remote e-workersaffective state and their social and professional
life than we know about their cognitive functioning and psychosomatic conditions. Whilst the research
indicates a positive focus there are some negative aspects of this way of working which are highlighted
within this review; such as social and professional isolation, and perceived threats in professional
advancement. This review may be of great importance for academics, to continue the theoretical
advancement of research into remote e-working, and practitioners, to implement and manage remote
e-working attitudes and policies more effectively.
Received 20 November 2017
Accepted 15 October 2018
Remote work; e-work;
telework; well-being;
systematic review
The practice of employees working remotely, away from the
conventional workplace, has become a varied and fast-
changing phenomenon (Eurofound and the International
Labour Office, 2017). This practice is enabled by an explosion
in the technological means available to individuals and
employed by organizations (Ter Hoeven & Van Zoonen,
2015). The rapid development of information and communica-
tion technology (ICT) has caused several shifts in working life
(Allen, Golden, & Shockley, 2015). Specifically, individuals
involved in knowledge work can now access their work from
anywhere and anytime through their laptops, tablets and
smartphones (Maitland & Thomson, 2014).
However, existing empirical evidence on the association
between flexible working practices (including remote e-work-
ing) and employee well-being are not conclusive (De Menezes
& Kelliher, 2011). For instance, Ter Hoeven and Van Zoonen
(2015) claimed that the more flexibility individuals had around
their work location, the greater work-life balance, job auton-
omy and effective communication they experienced, thus
increasing their well-being. Nevertheless, further research has
suggested that individuals who use remote e-working prac-
tices may frequently experience feelings of guilt (Moe &
&Shandy, 2010) and may overwork to reciprocate the per-
mitted flexibility (Chesley, 2010). Consequently, remote
e-working may become more unfavourable since individuals,
in fact, intensify their work activity (Kelliher & Anderson, 2010).
For example, remote e-workers may engage in behaviours
such as exchanging emails during non-working hours,
a practice that has been linked to stress (Chesley, 2014) and
blurred home-work boundaries (Tietze & Musson, 2005).
Overall, organizations, employers and managers cannot yet
rely on clear evidence that remote e-working is indeed beneficial
for employeeswell-being. Due to the lack of agreement on
whether remote e-working benefits well-being at work or not,
the review is guided by the following generic research question:
Does e-working remotely link to knowledge workerswork-related
well-being, and if so, how is this link different to each of the work-
related well-beings dimensions (i.e., affective, social, cognitive,
professional and psychosomatic)? A more up-to-date systematic
review of the literature about remotely accessed work which
embeds technology and its relation to employeesoutcomes is
currently not available (McDowall & Kinman, 2017). This study is
therefore valuable as it provides a critical overview of qualitative,
quantitative and mixed-method research to shed light on how the
increasingly prevalent remote e-working can link to well-being at
work. To provide a better framework for studying remote e-work-
ing, the next sections discuss: (1) terms and definitions of knowl-
edge working, (2) alternative terms of the remote e-working
arrangement, (3) prevalence statistics, (4) related literature about
remote e-working and work-related well-being, and (5)
a multidimensional model of well-being at work which has been
used as a theoretical framework to organize and guide the discus-
sion of the literature (Van Horn, Taris, Schaufeli, & Schreurs, 2004).
Knowledge workers: terms and definitions
Knowledge workers are defined as employees who have to
acquire, create and apply knowledge for the purposes of their
CONTACT Maria Charalampous
© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
work (Davenport, Jarvenpaa, & Beers, 1996). Their work is
characterised by abstract production (El-Farr, 2009), and
a low level of standardisation (Pyöriä, 2005). It should be
noted that the differentiation between knowledge workers
and non-knowledge workers is debatable, as researchers sug-
gest that all types of work involve some level of knowledge
(Alvesson, 2001). However, many researchers agree that
knowledge work is less tangible than manual work and that
workersbrain comprises the means of production(Ramírez &
Nembhard, 2004, p. 605). Likewise, Frenkel, Korczynski,
Donoghue, and Shire (1995) suggested that knowledge work-
ers use more theoretical or abstract knowledge (e.g., employ-
ees working in IT, finance, and research) whereas routine
workers rely on more contextual, less intellectual and less
creative knowledge (e.g., manual labour workers).
Additionally, knowledge workers are often autonomous, hav-
ing freedom around their working methods and practices
(Pyöriä, 2005). They tend to use ICT which allows checking
emails, taking business calls, and generally working on their
job tasks while being away from the office (Hislop, 2013).
Lastly, knowledge workers are gradually working in a more
flexible way to both increase work efficiency (Parasuraman &
Greenhaus, 2002), and to enable a better balance of work and
life demands (Bentley & Yoong, 2000).
Remote e-working terms and definitions
One of the first terms introduced to refer to the remote work-
ing arrangement was telecommuting (Nilles, 1975). In particu-
lar, it was used to describe individuals working from home
using technology to communicate back to their workplace.
Since then, it has been extensively used along with telework
in the US (Madsen, 2001), to refer to all types of work per-
formed outside a head office but still linked to it (e.g., Bailey &
Kurland, 2002; Golden & Veiga, 2005). In Europe, the term
e-workhas been generally used to describe work that is
conducted virtually. Kirk and Belovics (2006) defined e-workers
as full-time, home-based telecommuters who work and com-
municate mainly through electronic mediums (e.g., corporate
intranets and e-mails), having very little face-to-face interac-
tion with their head office location or their colleagues and
supervisors. Although home-based telework has traditionally
been the most common type of remote working (Halford,
2005), in most recent years there has been an increase in the
number of people who work in more than one location
(Eurofound and the International Labour Office, 2017).
Remote e-workingis a broader term, used to describe
work being completed anywhere and at any time regardless
of location and to the widening use of technology to aid
flexible working practices(Grant, Wallace, & Spurgeon, 2013,
p. 3). According to this definition, work can be conducted from
home, company sites, hotels, and airports. The current study
will, thus, employ remote e-workeras an umbrella term,
including any employee who first spends time away from
the traditional office, and second uses ICTs to access work
(Grant et al., 2013). Remote e-working was chosen over the
well-used term of telecommuting, as telecommuting does not
include employees who are very mobile (e.g., employees
working mainly from customer sites; Allen et al. 2015). This
review will specifically focus on knowledge workers who, as
described below, are most likely to be influenced by remote
e-working; excluding, for example, manual labour workers.
Prevalence and statistics
In an online worldwide poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos in
2012 across 24 countries, including the U.K., Australia, South
Africa, and U.S., approximately one in five employees reported
e-working remotely regularly (Reaney, 2012). According to the
American Community Survey (ACM) the largest American
companies around the world (Fortune 1000) have mobile
workers who spend 5060% of their time away from their
desks (Lister¸, 2016). Additionally, a recent report by
Eurofound and the International Labour Office (2017) pre-
sented that, in 2015, 3% of employees were mainly working
from home, 10% occasionally worked away from their com-
pany premises and made high use of ICTs, and finally, about
5% worked predominantly away and made high use of ICTs.
Statistics and prevalence rates provided by the Eurofound and
International Office report (2017) clearly show that remote
e-working is increasing at a rapid pace across Europe. A few
representative examples are: France, where remote e-workers
increased from 7% in 2007 to 12.4% in 2012; and Sweden
where remote e-workersincreased from 36% in 2003 to 51%
in 2014. Felstead and Hensekes(2017) review of the 2015
Labour Force Survey (UK) suggested that working away from
a traditional office, at least one day a week, increased from
13.3% in 1997 to 17.1% in 2014. They also highlighted that
high skilled (14%) and middle-skilled workers (16%) are the
most likely to work away, as opposed to factory-based workers
(about 8%).
Remote e-working and well-being at work for knowledge
Remote e-working may potentially link to knowledge workers
well-being at work in opposing ways. Knowledge workers can
benefit by working away from a traditional office environment
as the nature of their work requires concentration on indivi-
dually-based tasks, eliminating interruptions (Mazzi, 1996). It
is, thus, not surprising that research showed that when knowl-
edge workers were able to e-work remotely, they are more
satisfied with their job, more committed to their organizations,
experiencing less stress linked to day-to-day demands of the
office and commute (Kelliher & Anderson, 2010). However,
knowledge workersjobs often require some level of interac-
tion with their colleagues (e.g., when working on group pro-
jects; Mazzi, 1996) which may be challenged by physical and
temporal separation (Lautsch, Kossek, & Eaton, 2009).
Individuals thus claimed that they missed office interactions
(Grant et al., 2013), and felt isolated as they could not share
concerns they had with colleagues (Mann & Holdsworth,
2003). This may then lead to limited access to social support
that is crucial in increasing employee engagement
(Xanthopoulou, Bakker, Demerouti, & Schaufeli, 2009), and
well-being (Rothmann, 2008). Additionally, remote e-working
is an arrangement which enables an autonomous way of
working (Suh & Lee, 2017), which is aligned with the nature
of knowledge work (Newell, Robertson, Scarbrough, & Swan,
2009). Nevertheless, knowledge workers need to seek informa-
tion, opinions and guidance from their supervisors or collea-
gues, working through issues together and sharing ideas
(Bentley & Yoong, 2000). In order to maintain contact and
meet their job expectations, knowledge workers heavily rely
on ICTs which allow them to stay connected when working
from different locations (Middleton, 2007). Consequently, they
reported working long hours (Grant et al., 2013) something
that made it harder to switch off from work (Kossek, Lautsch, &
Eaton, 2009). This is a phenomenon that intensifies in an
always on culture, where individuals are expected by their
supervisors to be constantly available, feeling obliged to fol-
low the strong norms set by their colleagues who are also
connected (Derks, Duin, Tims, & Bakker, 2015, p. 170). These
behaviours can impair individualsability to switch off from
work, translating into poor well-being and health problems
(Kompier, Taris, & Van Veldhoven, 2012). Hence, this systema-
tic review aims to collate all relevant studies and any equivocal
findings, to elucidate how remote e-working relates to knowl-
edge workerswell-being at work.
Conceptualization of well-being at work in the current
Taris and Schaufeli (2015) in their theoreticaloverviewunder-
lined that conceptualizations of well-being at individual levels
can be categorized on two dimensions: 1) whether they consider
well-being as a context-free (e.g., general quality of life) or as
a domain-specific concept (e.g., work-related well-being) and 2)
whether they operationalize well-being mainly as an affective
state or as a multi-dimensional construct. Following their over-
view, the authors suggested that a domain specific and multi-
dimensional conceptualization of well-being is preferable (Taris &
Schaufeli, 2015). First, when well-being is examined as a domain-
specific concept, the associations with its antecedents are stron-
ger (Warr, 1987,1994). Hence, conceptualizing work well-being
as a domain-specific phenomenon may provide a better under-
standing of the role that specific work characteristics plays on
employeeswell-being (Warr, 1994). Second, widespread empiri-
cal support has evidenced well-being as a multidimensional con-
cept and various models have been proposed. For instance, Warr
(1987,1994) proposed that well-being consists of the affective
state of individuals, their aspirations, the degree of their auton-
omy, and how competent they perceive themselves.
Alternatively, Ryff (1989; Ryff & Keyes, 1995) suggested that well-
being comprises of self-acceptance, autonomy, environmental
mastery, positive relations with others, personal growth, and
purpose in life. Following Taris and Schaufeli (2015) recommen-
dation, a multidimensional work-related theoretical model of
well-being was adopted to frame the present literature review,
and to synthesise and interpret relevant research.
In particular, we referred to Van Horn et al.s(2004)model
that is rooted in Ryffs and Warrs models. Specifically, although
Van Horn and colleagues recognized the affective dimension as
central for workerswell-being, they contended that other
dimensions are similarly relevant. Hence, they proposed that
work-related well-being includes five correlated dimensions:
affective, professional, social, cognitive, and psychosomatic,
supporting the adoption of a multidimensional approach.
Their theoretical model was supported by analyses conducted
on a large sample of Dutch teachers.
The affective dimension according to Van Horn et al. (2004)
comprises emotions, job satisfaction, organizational commit-
ment, and emotional exhaustion. Alternative theoretical mod-
els (e.g., subjective well-being, Diener, 1984; Diener, Oishi, &
Lucas, 2003) considered job satisfaction as a cognitive compo-
nent of well-being. Previous research (Brief & Weiss, 2002)
suggested that job satisfaction has not only an emotional
aspect (i.e., how people feel about their jobs) but also
a cognitive aspect (i.e., how they evaluate their jobs).
Nevertheless, Van Horn et al. (2004) provided empirical sup-
port for their theoretical model showing that the aforemen-
tioned constructs loaded onto the same overarching factor
they identified as affective well-being. Warr (1987); Warr
(1999)) also suggested that workplace well-being should be
considered according to three main axes: pleasure-displeasure,
anxiety-comfort, and depression-enthusiasm. In this model,
the first axis is considered of central importance and, as
claimed by the same author, its positive pole () is often
examined in terms of satisfaction or happiness(Warr, 1999,
p. 393). Daniels (2000), capitalizing on Warrs(1999) theory and
integrating further contributions from the organisational lit-
erature, provided empirical support for a five-factor model of
work-related affective well-being (i.e., anxiety-comfort, depres-
sion-pleasure, bored-enthusiastic, tiredness-vigour, and angry-
placid). Overall, this theoretical and empirical evidence seems
to support Van Horn et al. (2004)s model.
The remainder of the well-being dimensions considered
inVanHornetal.(2004) model are unequivocal. The second
dimension is the cognitive well-being which comprises cog-
nitive weariness, that is, individualsdifficulty taking up new
information and concentrating. The third dimension is the
social well-being which comprises the degree to which
work. The fourth dimension is the professional well-being
which comprises autonomy, aspiration, and competence.
Lastly, the fifth dimension is the psychosomatic well-being
which comprises any health complaints that individuals may
have such as headaches, stomach aches, and musculoskele-
tal issues.
This review construes these dimensions as suggested.
However, some adjustments were made in regards to the
cognitive dimension, given the specific focus on remote
e-working. In particular, switching-off from work is added by
authors of this review as a complementary element to cogni-
tive weariness. This decision was based on the fact that
remote e-workers heavily depend on ICT use (Leonardi,
Treem, & Jackson, 2010), which often makes it difficult for
individuals to stop thinking about work and psychologically
detach from it (Kinnunen et al., 2017). Therefore, being unable
to switch off from work is expected to indicate how cogni-
tively weary individuals are, making its inclusion in the cogni-
tive well-being dimension justifiable.
Summing up, this systematic review uses this revised Van
Horn et al.s(2004) model, as a theoretical framework, to gain
a broader understanding of the association between remote
e-working and work related-well-being.
The current systematic review provides a narrative synthesis of
quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research
(Petticrew & Roberts, 2006). This type of review is particularly
valuable when systematically collating and reviewing all the
evidence around a growing topic, which has been given sparse
or ambivalent evidence (Petticrew & Roberts, 2006). Due to the
heterogeneity of the studies included in this review (e.g.,
slightly different definitions, well-being constructs, and type of
evidence) a statistical summary and thus a meta-analysis was
not feasible. The authors will attempt to interpret the qualita-
tive evidence and examine the quantitative evidence obtained.
A robust systematic review protocol was drafted and registered
with the PROSPERO database, in February 2016. The protocol
followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews
and Meta-Analyses for Protocols 2015 (PRISMA-P 2015) guide-
lines checklist (Moher et al., 2015).
A search strategy was created after an initial literature review,
a collection of keywords from relevant studies, and discussion
between the review team. Based on the established search
protocol, scientific journals from psychological, social, man-
agement, health, and technological fields of study were
searched. Relevant literature was identified by searching
seven electronic databases, namely: PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES,
PubMed, Academic Search Complete, Applied Social Sciences
Index and Abstracts (ASSIA), Business Source Complete, and
CINAHL. To ensure literature saturation, reference lists of
included studies or relevant reviews that were identified
through the search were also scanned. Additionally, the
authorspersonal files were searched to warrant that all rele-
vant material had been captured. There were some limits
imposed on the search, particularly studies had to be pub-
lished between 1995 and 2017, be in the English language,
and peer-reviewed. The selection of 1995 as a cut-off year was
based on an increased interest in remote e-working in the mid
1990´s (Rognes, 2002) and the National Telecommuting
Initiative Action Plan that was established in the US in 1996
to promote this way of working (Harrington & Walker, 2004).
Appendix A presents the PsycINFO search strategy, which was
adapted, respectively, to the syntax and subject headings of
the other bibliographic databases.
The current review has included studies conducted within
knowledge employees, as defined previously in the introduc-
tion section, who are e-working remotely. Consequently, work-
ers who predominantly rely on contextual knowledge, or use
action-centred skills, and are in some way uncreative, as
a result of having to follow standard procedures (e.g., manual
labour workers; Frenkel et al., 1995) were excluded. When it
comes to the remote e-working aspect this review included
employees who are: (1) spending at least one day of their
working time away from their office (e.g., home, another
company site, hotel or train), and (2) making use of ICTs to
enable them to perform their working tasks. This definition
excluded home-based work such as farming or piecework
which does not encompass ICT use to enable performance
during work activities (Sullivan, 2003). Studies were excluded if
they had not explicitly presented findings on remote e-work-
ing but reported findings of flexible working in general
instead (e.g., including flexitime). Due to the large number of
studies returned by the search, extra exclusion criteria were
imposed on the initial protocol. Specifically, self-employed
remote e-workers, and freelancers were excluded. The reason
is that these employees often do not have a concise long-term
belonging to a specific organization (Fersch, 2012), and no
formal colleagues to interact with (Hislop et al., 2015).
Disabled employees were also excluded to make sure that
none of the health issues identified was related to employees
Type of included studies
The review has sought a broad range of studies including:
cross-sectional studies, longitudinal studies, qualitative
research, case reports, and quasi-experimental research.
Three meta-analyses were also included, whereas narrative
literature reviews were not due to their subjective nature,
and potential lack of data (Petticrew & Roberts, 2006). There
are three points to note with regards the three meta-analyses
included. First, not all of the studies they comprised were
aligned with this reviews purpose; therefore, only specific
findings were presented. Second, they included studies con-
ducted before 1995, as well as grey literature and disserta-
tions. It is acknowledged that this was not in line with this
reviews criteria. However, an exemption was made as meta-
analyses can provide strong evidence (Petticrew & Roberts,
2006), which can bring insightful information into this reviews
content. Thirdly, none of the meta-analyses examined all of
the discussed work-related well-being dimensions, nor they
have included studies conducted in the same year range.
Therefore, the present review contributes beyond these meta-
analyses, offering a broader, and a more up-to-date under-
standing of remote e-workerswell-being at work.
Data extraction (selection and coding)
Selection of studies
As outlined in the search flow-chart in Figure 1, retrieved
articles (N= 3082) were exported into RefWorks database and
duplicated articles were removed (N=63).Theleadreview
researcher did an initial assessment of the identified papers
by screening the studiestitles, keywords, and abstracts
against the inclusion and exclusion criteria described above
(see Table 1 for a summary).
In cases where the decision to include one article or not
could not be made by just the title, keywords and abstract
(e.g., when flexible working was not clearly defined) then the
article was retrieved and skim-read before making a decision.
References were grouped into two categories, namely: 1) eli-
gibleor 2) not eligiblefor inclusion. Once the first screening
was finished, full texts of eligiblearticles (N= 215) were
retrieved, and inclusion and exclusion criteria were again
reapplied. The articles that did not meet the inclusion criteria
were excluded. The rest of the research team were advised
throughout the whole process, and any uncertainties were
resolved. Finally, a total number of 63 studies were set as
eligible to be included. Table 2 presents the common theme
patterns in excluded studies.
Data extraction and management
The lead review researcher and a second review researcher
extracted data from included studies into a predefined data
extraction form, and the review team provided assistance,
support, and advice when necessary
Risk of bias (quality) assessment
In order to eliminate the risk of bias, the Mixed Methods
Appraisal Tool (MMAT) was used, assessing the methodological
quality of the included articles. The MMAT tool provides
researchers with certain criteria to assess the methodological
quality of diverse studies (i.e., quantitative, qualitative, and
mixed methods; Pluye, Gagnon, Griffiths, & Johnson-Lafleur,
2009). This tool was chosen over others due to a lack of
validated appraisal tools for mixed methods studies or reviews
outside MMAT (Crowe & Sheppard, 2011;OCathain, 2010). The
MMAT tool includes two initial and general screening questions
which have to be answered positively for further appraisal to be
appropriate. Following the screening stage, there are four cri-
teria upon which studies are evaluated. The criteria for
quantitative evidence are concerned with a relevant sampling
strategy, appropriate measurements, representative sample,
and acceptable response rate (60% or above). The criteria for
qualitative evidence are concerned with relevant sources of
data used, relevant process of analysing data, and consideration
of the findings in relation to the context and researchers
influence. Each study can achieve a lower score of 25% (*)
when one criterion is met and a higher score of 100% (****)
when all criteria are met. For the purposes of this review, both
the lead researcher and a second researcher independently
assessed the methodological quality of all studies included.
Discrepancies were resolved through discussion between the
two researchers, and the rest of the authors were consulted
when further arbitration was needed. All included studies met
at least two of four criteria which resulted in them attaining
aMMATquality scoreof 50% and above. Considering the final
and manageable number of studies (N= 63) researchers decided
not to exclude any of them. However, the researchers inter-
preted with caution studies with lower quality, placing more
emphasis on studies with higher quality. MMAT scores for each
study are available upon request from the researchers.
The results presented below are a narrative synthesis of all
included studies. The final sample is made up of 63 studies
involving 37,553 working individuals from single studies,
added to individuals included in the three meta-analyses. It
Total Articles Identified (N = 3082)
Database 1: PsycINFO (N = 578)
Database 2: PsycARTICLES (N = 30)
Database 3: Academic Search Complete (N = 751)
Database 4: CINAHL (N = 262)
Database 5: PubMed (N = 592)
Database 6: Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts
(ASSIA; N = 179)
Database 7: Business Source Complete (N = 690)
Lead review researcher
Articles requiring title/abstract review after deleting
N= 2439
Two review researchers
Articles excluded (N = 215)
See Table 1 for Common theme patterns in excluded
Articles requiring full text review after completing the
first screenin
N = 192
Final number of articles included in the review (N = 63)
Figure 1. Systematic review flow chart.
is worth mentioning that none of the studies included in this
systematic review explored all of the five well-being dimen-
sions mentioned above. However, 26 studies explored more
than one dimension and their associations when understand-
ing how remote e-working affects working individualswell-
being. There was an international representation of countries
where studies were conducted including, but not limited to: U.
K., U.S., Australia, and Germany. This review initially discusses
studies which draw upon more than one well-being dimen-
sion (i.e., affective, cognitive, social, professional, and psycho-
somatic) supporting a multidimensional impact of remote
e-working on well-being at work. Subsequently, studies
which elaborate on just one well-being dimension are pre-
sented. Tables 3 and 4summarize the included studies.
Studies combining well-being dimensions
Affective and social facets of well-being at work
The affective and social facets of well-being at work have been
examined together in ten studies, showing that social support
may be detrimental to remote e-workersaffective states. In
particular, the extent of working from home increased emo-
tional exhaustion through low social support (Vander Elst
et al., 2017). Social support was considered by researchers to
be one of the resources that depleted when employees were
extensively e-working remotely; something that increased
their emotional exhaustion levels (Sardeshmukh, Sharma, &
Golden, 2012). In contrast, when organizational support was
present, individuals felt less socially isolated which, in turn,
increased their job satisfaction levels (Bentley et al., 2016).
Similarly, developing and maintaining good relationships was
found to be extremely important to remote e-workersjob
satisfaction levels (Fay & Kline, 2012; Golden & Veiga, 2008;
Staples, 2001), and organisational commitment (Golden &
Veiga, 2008). Having compatible co-workers, with whom indi-
viduals informally communicated, was associated with
increased commitment to the organisation regardless of any
experience with exclusion messages (Fay & Kline, 2011).
Cognitive and social facets of well-being at work
Vander Elst et al.s(2017) was the only study which assessed
cognitive along with social facets; highlighting again the
importance of social support from colleagues. In particular,
the cognitive stress complaints individuals experienced were
linked to the low social support.
Affective and professional facets of well-being at work
Ten of the included studies have focused on both the affective
and professional characteristics of well-being at work, suggest-
ing that the impact of remote e-working on professional well-
being can be bilateral. More explicitly, autonomy was sup-
ported to play an eminent role in remote e-workersjob
satisfaction levels. For instance, job autonomy was related to
a reduction in strain, through the less perceived invasion of
privacy (Suh & Lee, 2017). Included studies generally sug-
gested that autonomy mediated the positive relationship
between remote e-working and job satisfaction (Gajendran &
Harrison, 2007; Hornung & Glaser, 2009). Autonomy was also
found to be a job resource through which emotional exhaus-
tion could lessen (Sardeshmukh et al., 2012). Whereas auton-
omy may ameliorate feelings of emotional exhaustion
(Sardeshmukh et al., 2012), time spent away from the office
Table 1. Inclusion and exclusion criteria.
Inclusion criteria Exclusion criteria
(1) This review included knowledge
employees: individuals who
acquire, create and apply
knowledge for their work
purposes. Their daily work tasks
should mostly involve some
intellective skills and creativity.
Employees who were doing
routine jobs, using mostly
contextual knowledge or action-
centred skills and following
standardised procedures (e.g.,
manual labour workers) were
(2) This review included employees
who were making use of remote
e-working. These employees
were: (a) spending at least
one day of their working time
away from their office (e.g.,
home, another company site,
hotel or train), and (b) making
use of ICTs to enable them to
perform their working tasks.
Home-based work such as farming
or piecework which does not
encompass ICTs use to enable
the performance during work
activities was excluded.
(3) A broad range of studies was
included: cross sectional studies,
longitudinal studies, qualitative
research, case reports, quasi-
experimental research and meta-
Narrative literature reviews were
(4) This review included studies that
were published between 1995
and 2017, were peer-reviewed
and in English language.
Studies were excluded if they had
not explicitly presented findings
on remote e-working; but had
reported findings of flexible
working in general instead (e.g.,
including flexitime).
(5) Disabled employees were
(6) Self-employed remote e-workers
and freelancers were excluded.
Table 2. Common theme patterns in excluded studies.
(1) Articles focusing on care home workers/nurses and service delivery
within health care services; as these individualswork tasks were
mainly focusing on domestic aid, as well as supportive and technical
nursing care to individuals.
(2) Research on tele-health/e-health, referring to care via online sources
(e.g., video house calls, internet delivered cognitive behavioural
(3) Results on school homeworking instead of working tasks taking place at
(4) Flexible working arrangement aimed at accommodating employees
with different kind of illness
(5) Literature on remote worksites and manual labour employees working
to oil, gas and mining industry whose nature of work involves a high
level of standardisation
(6) A more generic assessment of flexible working arrangements which
may include flexitime, shift working, job sharing, part time work and
compressed workweeks. In these studies, flexible working is very
broadly conceptualised, something that makes it hard to distinguish
differences between arrangements.
(7) Virtual teams in educational contexts or gaming
(8) Investigated concepts and phenomena around virtual teams such as
leadership. In these studies the relationship between remote
e-working and well-being at work was not the central focus.
(9) Research on topics related to remote e-working other than well-being:
such as work-life balance or work-family conflict, management and
(10) Research focusing on populations other than those in employment
(e.g., undergraduate students)
(11) Articles about telecentres or telecottages as places that rural people can
visit for educational and social purposes
(12) Engineering literature (e.g., beam finite element, thermodynamics and
elasticity, laminated materials)
(13) Book reviews, periodical, and not peer reviewed articles
Table 3. Studies assessing multiple well-being dimensions.
Sample (Demographics and remote e-working definition
)Type of evidence and Findings Well-being construct(s) MMAT score
Suh and Lee (2017) South Korea, IT companies (n=258)
Low intensity teleworkers (n=154) working less than
2.5 days a week and high intensity teleworkers
(n=104) working more than 2.5 days outside a central
work location
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: Technology-induced stressors were linked to
increased strain, and strain was associated with
teleworkersjob satisfaction. Job autonomy negatively
linked to teleworkersstrain, through less perceived
invasion of privacy.
Job satisfaction (Affective)
Job autonomy (Professional)
Vander Elst et al. (2017) Belgium, telecommuting company, (n= 878)
Extent of telecommuting: Days per week individuals
worked from home (67.9% worked more than a day
from home)
Quantitative, cross sectional. Findings: The extent of
telecommuting: (a) positively linked to emotional
exhaustion through low social support, (b) was
associated with increased cognitive stress complaints
(such as having problems to concentrate) through low
social support,(c) negatively linked to social support,
and (d) was not related to job autonomy.
Emotional exhaustion (Affective)
Cognitive stress complaints (Cognitive)
Social Support (Social) Job autonomy (Professional)
100% (****)
Bentley et al. (2016) New Zealand, 28 organizations, (n=804)
Low intensity teleworkers (n=509) working 1 to
7 hours away from their central office; Hybrid
teleworkers (n=295) working above 8 hours away.
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: Organisational social support and teleworker
support positively linked to job satisfaction. Social
isolation mediated the relationship between
organisational support and job satisfaction.
Job satisfaction (Affective)
Social Isolation (Social)
Nijp, Beckers, van de Voorde,
Geurts, and Kompier
Denmark, financial and insurance company, (n= 361
intervention group; n= 80 reference group)
New Ways of Working (NWW): working minimum two
days from home and two days from the office.
Quantitative, quasi-experimental design.
Findings: NWW (a) linked to increased satisfaction with
work location but was not related to (b) job
satisfaction, (c) satisfaction with work-time control, (d)
organisational commitment, (e) social support and (f)
Job satisfaction
Organisational commitment (Affective)
Social support (Social)
Job autonomy (Professional)
Sewell and Taskin (2015) Belgium, biopharmaceutical company, (n= 31)
Home-based teleworkers: working from home one or
two days per week.
Qualitative, longitudinal case study (semi-structured
interviews, participant observation).
Findings: Remote e-workers felt more isolated, apart
and invisible, when working from home; where their
autonomy and self-determination constrained them.
The well-established trusted relationships were
strained once the pilot started.
Social Isolation/Trusting relationships
Richardson and McKenna
Canada, high-tech industry (n=80)
Flexworkers: working from home two or more days per
Qualitative, semi-structured in-depth interviews.
Findings: remote e-workers worked harder to show their
trustworthiness and managers put a greater effort to
trust them. Individuals re-ordered and re-spaced
boundaries between work and home life (e.g., focused
on time management, maintained connections with
colleagues, made their achievements public).
Social relationships (Social)
Skills (Professional)
Career advancement (Professional)
Gajendran et al. (2014) US, over 100 industries, (n= 323:
n= 120 telecommuted)
Telecommuting: working from remote locations (e.g.,
home or virtual office)
Quantitative, cross sectional
Findings: LMX was positively, but not significantly
correlated to remote e-working and its intensity.
Perceived autonomy was positively and significantly
associated with remote e-working (yes/no) and its
Leader member exchange (LMX) (Social)
Perceived Autonomy (Professional)
Grant et al. (2013) UK, five organizations, (n=11). Remote e-workers:
worked in different locations, at any given time using
technology to aid flexible working practices
Qualitative study, semi-structured interviews
Findings: Building and maintaining relationships was
essential for individualspsychological well-being, with
trust being a key component to remote e-working
success. The degree of autonomy varied between
clerical/administrative roles and managerial
professional employees.
Working Relationships
Autonomy (Professional)
(Continued )
Table 3. (Continued).
Sample (Demographics and remote e-working definition
)Type of evidence and Findings Well-being construct(s) MMAT score
Sardeshmukh et al. (2012) US, supply management company, (n= 417).
Telework: employees allocating their work time between
office and home.
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: Remote e-working was (a) negatively
associated with exhaustion (b) negatively associated
with social support (c) positively associated with
autonomy. Remote e-working was also linked to lower
exhaustion through job demands (i.e., time pressure,
role ambiguity and role conflict) and job resources (i.e.,
job autonomy, feedback and job support)
Exhaustion (Affective)
Social support (Social)
Autonomy (Professional)
Fay and Kline (2012) Midwestern US, 12 companies, (n= 100).
High intensity teleworkers: employees working
remotely at least three business days each week.
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: Remote e-workersinformal communication
and social support accounted for 20% of organisational
commitments variance.
Organisational Commitment (Affective)
Co-worker relationship quality (Social)
Fay and Kline (2011) Midwestern US, 12 companies, (n= 100).
High intensity teleworkers: employees working
remotely at least three business days each week.
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: Informal workplace relationships (i.e. co-worker
liking) was associated with remote e-workers
organizational commitment and job satisfaction.
Job Satisfaction
Organisational Commitment
Co-worker Liking (Social)
Morganson et al. (2010) US, engineering and technology research organisation,
(n= 578). Location employees spent the majority of
their work time (i) Main office, (ii) Company-provided
satellite location, (iii) Client location, (iv) Home.
Quantitative, quasi-experimental design.
Findings: Employees working from home indicated: (a)
similar levels of job satisfaction as employees working
from the main office (b) and satellite-based workers,
and (c) greater levels of job satisfaction compared to
client-based workers and (d) the highest degree of
Job Satisfaction (Affective)
Workplace Inclusion (an opposite to professional
Ten Brummelhuis et al.
Netherlands, 30 organizations, (n= 1017).
Telecommuting: employees worked at home at least
once a week.
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: No relationship was confirmed between
remote e-working, and employee collegiality, or
supervisory support. After controlling for autonomy,
a significant and positive relationship between remote
e-working and job autonomy was indicated.
Supervisory Support
Collegiality (Social)
Autonomy (Professional)
Redman et al. (2009) UK, professional employees, (n= 749) Working from
home: Measured in hours.
Quantitative, cross-sectional.
Findings: After controlling for total hours worked,
working from home was: (a) positively associated with
positive affect, (b) positively associated with job
satisfaction, (c) negatively associated with emotional
exhaustion, (d) negatively associated with perceived
career development opportunities, (e) not associated
with organizational commitment.
Positive affectivity Job satisfaction
Emotional exhaustion Organisational Commitment
Organisational support for career development
Hornung and Glaser (2009) German, public employees (n= 1008; 62,6%
telecommuters) Telecommuting: work from home
between one and four days a week
Quantitative, cross-sectional.
Findings: Job satisfaction was positively associated with
remote e-working through increased job autonomy.
Job satisfaction (Affective)
Autonomy (Professional)
100% (****)
ONeill, Hambley, Greidanus,
MacDonnell, and Kline
Western Canada, eight organizations, (n= 156: n=78
teleworkers, n= 78 non-teleworkers).
Telework: working away from the traditional workplace.
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: There was a slightly higher score of satisfaction
and greater levels of job autonomy within remote
e-workers than non-remote e-workers.
Job Satisfaction (Affective)
Job autonomy (Professional)
75% (***)
Golden and Veiga (2008) US, high-tech industry, (n= 375). Virtual work: the
proportion of an average workweek employees spent
away from the office.
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: LMX negatively linked to remote e-working
intensity. Remote e-working intensity moderated the
LMX-organisational commitment relationship and the
LMX-job satisfaction relationship. The better the
quality the more committed and satisfied remote
e-workers were.
Job Satisfaction
Organisational commitment
LMX quality
Superior subordinate relationships (Social)
Gajendran and Harrison
46 studies in natural settings,
(n= 12,883).
Telecommuting: work tasks performed in locations other
than the central workplace.
Findings: Remote e-working positively linked to: a) job
satisfaction, b) employeesupervisor relationship, c)
autonomy, and was negatively linked to d) perceived
career prospects.
Job satisfaction (Affective)
Autonomy and Career prospects (Professional)
Quality of supervisor and co-worker relationship (Social)
(Continued )
Table 3. (Continued).
Sample (Demographics and remote e-working definition
)Type of evidence and Findings Well-being construct(s) MMAT score
Golden (2006b) US telecommunications industry,
(n= 294).
Virtual work: working in a virtual mode, away from the
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: Whilst satisfaction initially increased, when
e-working became more intense, satisfaction dropped,
indicating a curvilinear relationship. This was mediated
by the LMX relationship, and team member exchange
Job Satisfaction (Affective)
LMX and team member exchange quality (Social)
75% (***)
Lapierre and Allen (2006) US, Ontario University alumni, (n= 230).
Telecommuting: employees working from home.
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: Remote e-working was not found to be
a conflict avoiding method that influences employees
affective and psychosomatic well-being through work-
family conflict.
Emotions (Affective)
General somatic complaints
Golden and Veiga (2005) US, high-tech firm, (n= 321). Telecommuting: number
of hours per week employees spent away from an
office environment.
Quantitative, cross-sectional. Findings: A curvilinear
relationship between remote e-working and job
satisfaction was indicated. Remote e-workers with
lower levels of task interdependence and/or higher
levels of job discretion experienced greater levels of
job satisfaction.
Job satisfaction (Affective)
Job discretion Autonomy (Professional)
100% (****)
Mann and Holdsworth (2003) UK, journalism company. 1
study: (n= 12: n=6
teleworkers, n=6 office-based workers).
study: (n= 62: n= 30 teleworkers, n= 32 office-based
Teleworkers: working from home at least 3 days a week.
Mixed methods, 1
study: qualitative, semi-structured
interviews; 2
study: quantitative, cross-sectional.
Findings: Teleworkers experienced a greater range of
negative emotions (e.g., loneliness, irritability and
guilt) in comparison to office-based workers. No
difference between psychosomatic health of office-
based and teleworkers was found.
study) Psychological impact/emotions (Affective)
study) Mental ill health (Affective)
Physical stress symptoms
Dambrin (2004) France, manufacturing electronic company, (n = 15)
Home-based teleworkers: employees spent at least
75% of their time away from their employers main
premises (home, remote office, travel)
Qualitative, case study (semi-structured interviews and
emails, contract, schedules, and observation of one
Findings: Communications between employees and
managers became harder, but easier between
colleagues and customers. Autonomy concerning
problem solving and self-management increased.
Manager-employee relationship/relationship between
superior and subordinates (Social)
Montreuil and Lippel (2003) Canada, public and private sectors, (n= 63)
Telework: employees working from home (either full
time or between 3 or 4 days a week).
Qualitative, interviews.
Findings: Remote e-workersindications of social
isolation were rare and not intense. Strategies were
implemented to prevent solitude.
Remote e-workers reported overall health benefits.
However, computer use suggested to be associated
with musculoskeletal problems (e.g., pain in their
upper limbs, back or neck).
Social Isolation (Social)
Musculosceletal symptoms
Vittersø et al. (2003) Fourteen European companies (including Norway, UK,
study: (n= 217 teleworkers).
study: (n= 42 both home-workers and non-home
workers). Home-based telework: working from home.
Mixed methods; 1
study: quantitative, cross sectional;
study: qualitative, in-depth interviews.
Findings: A significant relationship between days
working from home and concentration or control/
autonomy was not supported. In contrast, narratives
suggested that home workers were more likely to
concentrate at home and that the greater control over
their working situation was one of the greatest
motivations to work in this way.
Concentration (Cognitive)
Staples (2001) US, 18 organizations,
(n= 631: 376 remotely managed).
Remote workers: employees working in a remote
location from their managers (e.g., another company
cite, home).
Quantitative, cross-sectional.
Findings: No differences between remote e-workers and
their colleagues were revealed. For both remote
workers and their colleague: a trusting relationship
between the manager and employee was linked to
greater job satisfaction.
Job Satisfaction (Affective)
Trusting relationships
Table 4. Studies assessing a single well-being dimension.
Authors Sample (Demographics and remote e-working definition used) Type of evidence and Findings
Well-being construct(s)
examined MMAT score
De Menezes and Kelliher
United Kingdom, pharmaceutical, utilities, banking, and consulting
sectors, (n=1017).
Remote working involves discretion over when and where to work,
either formally (n=239) or informally (n=778).
Quantitative, cross-sectional.
Findings: Job satisfaction and organisational commitment were
positively related to remote working.
Job satisfaction
Organisational commitment
Kröll, Doebler, and
Nüesch (2017)
11 studies examining telecommuting and job satisfaction, (n=6,228).
Telecommuting involves discretion over when and where employees
conduct their work tasks.
Meta-analysis of real experiment, quasi-experiment and field study
designed studies
Findings: There was no effect found of telecommuting on job
Job satisfaction (Affective)
Windeler, Chudoba, and
Sundrup (2017)
Study 1: US, IT organisation, (n=51 employees before and after PPT).
Study 2: US, variety of industries, (n=98 no regular PTT; n=160
minimum one per week).
Part-time telework (PTT) working one/two days per week from
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: PTT: (a) lessened the positive link between interpersonal
interaction and work exhaustion, (b) but exacerbated the positive
link between external interaction and work exhaustion.
Emotional exhaustion
Collins et al. (2016) UK, public sector local authority, (n= 33; n= 8 supervisors/managers;
n=12 office-based clerical staff; n=13 clerical teleworkers)
Teleworkers/Working from home: working full-time from home.
Qualitative, semi-structure interviews.
Findings: Social support by office workers was eventually lessened
(social disconnection), as stronger social support networks were
developed with other colleagues working from home.
Social support (Social) 75% (***)
Anderson et al. (2015) US, government agency, (n= 102).
Employees working from home at least once per pay period but also
working some days in the office.
Quantitative, cross- sectional.
Findings: Remote e-workers expressed more positive and less
negative work-related emotions on days working from home,
compared to the ones working in the office.
Emotional experience (Affective) 75% (***)
Chen and McDonald
US, Networked Worker Survey 2008 (n= 703: 17% home workers, 55%
onsite workers, 28% mixed workers). Telework: employees working
full-time from home.
Quantitative, cross- sectional.
Findings: Home workers mentioned higher levels of job decision
latitude, compared to onsite workers, through greater network
connectivity (social capital).
Job Decision Latitude: (a)
Decision autonomy, (b) skill
utilisation and development
75% (***)
Vega et al. (2015) US, government agency, (n= 180).
Telework: working at home or at another location away from the
office (e.g., coffee shops).
Quantitative, cross-sectional.
Findings: Higher levels of job satisfaction were experienced when
working at home compared to working in an office location.
Daily job satisfaction
100% (****)
Troup and Rose (2012) Australia, public service organisation, (n= 856).
Telework: Extent to which employees worked at home in the past
12 months.
Quantitative, cross- sectional.
Findings: Both employees who formally and informally worked from
home expressed higher degrees of job satisfaction compared to
those who did not have access to it.
Job satisfaction (Affective) 75% (***)
Golden (2012) US, computer company, (n= 316). Teleworking during traditional
hours: working from home during typical work hours. Teleworking
during non-traditional hours: Working from home during non-
typical work hours.
Quantitative, cross-sectional
Findings: There was no significant relationship found between work
exhaustion and traditional telework; nor non-traditional telework.
Work exhaustion (Affective) 75% (***)
Caillier (2012) US, federal government, (n= 20,000). Telecommuting/telework:
ability to perform work from home or another remote location.
Quantitative, cross-sectional.
Findings: Employees who were not allowed to e-work reported lower
levels of work motivation (i.e., job satisfaction and organization
commitment), in comparison to both frequent and infrequent
remote e-workers.
Job satisfaction
Organisational commitment
Harker Martin and
MacDonnell (2012)
19 studies, 32 correlations from empirical studies.
Telecommuting/telework: working, for at least one day per week
from any other location than the main office (e.g., home, satellite
Quantitative, meta-analysis.
Findings: Meta-analytical data indicated a positive association
between remote e-working and organisational commitment.
Organisational commitment
Gálvez et al. (2011) Spain, 20 organizations, (n= 72, *solely females).
Teleworking: employees working from home.
Qualitative, interviews (n= 24) and focus groups (n= 48)
Findings: In organizations where balance was encouraged womens
autonomy (about time, manner & location) and promotion were
benefited by remote e-working; in contrast to organizations with
none-balance supportive culture.
Career advancement
Mulki and Jaramillo
US, subsidiary of a pharmaceutical company (n= 344).
Virtual workers: employees do not work in a traditional office setting
and have few FTF meetings with their colleagues or supervisors.
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: The frequency of face-to-face meetings was not significantly
associated with workplace isolation. Support by the leaders was
associated with lower turnover intentions through workplace
isolation and satisfaction with supervisor.
Workplace isolation
(company-related or colleagues-
Satisfaction with supervisor
(Continued )
Table 4. (Continued).
Authors Sample (Demographics and remote e-working definition used) Type of evidence and Findings
Well-being construct(s)
examined MMAT score
Tietze and Nadin (2011) UK, local authority, n= 7, all women).
Home-based workers: full time working from home.
Qualitative, longitudinal case design (assessing a four-month pilot
home-working initiative: before, during and after)
Findings: Contact between colleagues became difficult as office-based
colleagues showed resentment towards individuals working from
home. Managers showed low trust to home-based individuals by
highly monitoring them.
Relationships between
employees and their
employer, and colleagues.
Social Isolation(Social)
Hayman (2010) Australia, administrative and professional university staff, (n= 125).
Flexi-place work schedules: Employees worked from a home office at
least two days per week.
Quantitative, cross- sectional
Findings: A positive and moderate association between flexi-place
work schedules and job satisfaction was found.
Job satisfaction (Affective) 75%
Fonner and Roloff (2010) US, different sectors and occupations, (n= 192: n=103 office-based*,
n=89 telecommuters).
Telecommuters: working at least 3 days a week from a remote
Quantitative, cross-sectional
Findings: A direct and significant effect between remote e-working
and job satisfaction was supported.
Job satisfaction (Affective) 100%
Kelliher and Anderson
UK, three multinational private sector organizations. 1
study: (n=14
remote workers); 2
study: (n = 729 remote workers, n=1109 non-
remote workers) Remote working: working from home partly in
the week.
Mixed-method, 1
study: qualitative, semi structured interviews; 2
study: quantitative, cross- sectional.
Findings: Remote e-workers were suggested to be more satisfied with
their jobs and committed to the organizations they worked for
when e-working. Remote e-workers were more satisfied than their
Job satisfaction
Organisational commitment
Virick et al. (2010) US, telecommunications organisation, (n= 85).
Virtual work arrangement/Telecommuting: employees working
from home.
Quantitative, cross-sectional.
Findings: A curvilinear relationship between the extent of remote
e-working and job satisfaction was supported: after a number of
days per week an individual e-works, the benefits to job satisfaction
started dropping.
Job satisfaction (Affective) 100%
Lal and Dwivedi (2009) UK, telecommunications company, (n= 25).
Homeworking: employees worked from two to five days a week from
home *the majority worked for most of their time from home.
Qualitative, in-depth, semi-structured interviews.
Findings: Employees working extensively from home took proactive
steps to decrease social isolation (by using phone devices).
Relationship did not deteriorate as employees maintained social
networks and had close colleagues.
Social isolation
Social relationships (Social)
Golden et al. (2008) US, high-tech corporation, (n= 261).
Telework: employees performing work assignments remotely, away
from the office.
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: Although remote e-workers reported a quite high average
level of professional isolation there was no significant correlation
between professional isolation and time spent e-working.
Professional Isolation
Marsh and Musson
UK, (n = 3).
Home-based teleworkers: worked from home for between half and
all of their working week.
Qualitative, semi-structured interviews Findings: Remote e-working
offered men the opportunity to deal with emotional discourses
traditionally associated with women. This could, in turn, liberate
them and enable them to become more emotionally engaged in
their parental role.
Emotions (Affective) 75%
McDonald et al. (2008) Australia, government agency, (n= 40)
Telecommuting/teleworking working some or all the time from
Qualitative, semi-structured interviews
Findings: Remote e-working was perceived as a type of workplace
absence, which was inconsistent with the requirement to be visible
in order to get access to career opportunities.
Career success/career
opportunities (Professional)
Hartig et al. (2007) Sweden, national energy administration, (n= 101: n=58 teleworkers,
n=43 non-teleworkers)
Teleworkers: working at least eight or more hours of an ordinary work
week (not overtime) at home.
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: Both remote and non-remote e-workers experienced home
more of a place of restoration than demands and reported similarly
effective restoration.
Home as a place of restoration
or as a place of demands/
Effective restoration outside
work (Cognitive)
Taskin and Edwards
Belgium, public agencies, (n= 36).
Home-based paid telework: work conducted from home at least
one day per week.
Qualitative, two case studies, semi-structured interviews.
Findings: Not the public sector itself, but employeesoccupational
status affected the control and discretion remote e-workers had.
Remote e-working may benefit more knowledge employees, who
are already autonomous. In organizations with bureaucratic
structure, control may intense to ensure that employees are present.
Control Autonomy
Baker, Avery, and
Crawford (2006)
20 Australian, both public and private organizations, (n = 50). Working
from home for their organisation (for a range of hours).
Quantitative, cross-sectional.
Findings: High scores of job satisfaction were indicated. Also
organisational constructs (e.g., technical support, managerstrust)
and job related factors (e.g., feedback from the jobs) were positively
related to employeessatisfaction.
Job satisfaction (Affective) 75%
(Continued )
Table 4. (Continued).
Authors Sample (Demographics and remote e-working definition used) Type of evidence and Findings
Well-being construct(s)
examined MMAT score
Golden (2006a) US, internet solution corporation,
(n= 393). Telework: the amount of time employees spent working
away from the office (no exact location provided)
Quantitative, cross-sectional
Findings: Remote e-working was (a) significantly and positively
associated with a greater degree of organisational commitment and
(b) negatively linked to work exhaustion.
Organisational commitment
Work exhaustion
Kossek, Lautsch, and
Eaton (2006)
US, information and finance organizations, (n=245).
Formal users of the telework policy: working from home.
Quantitative, cross sectional
Findings: Psychological job control was positively correlated with both
formal telework policy user and telework volume.
Psychological job control (over
how, when and where job is
done) (Professional)
Akkirman and Harris
Turkey, subsidiary of an international company, (n= 68: n=46 virtual,
n=22 traditional office workers).
Virtual office workers: worked from the office whenever they wanted
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: Virtual workers indicated higher level of satisfaction with
their relationship with their supervisor than the traditional office
Relationship with supervisor
Dimitrova (2003) Canada, telecommunications company, (n = 20).
Teleworkers: Employees working full time from home.
Qualitative, case study (semi-structured interviews).
Findings: Limited beneficial influence of remote e-working on
autonomy, as supervisory procedures had not changed. Increased
discretion of temporal management of work was found, which led
to longer working hours.
Autonomy (Professional) 75%
Konradt et al. (2003) Germany, 19 companies, (n= 72). Home-centred teleworkers:
worked more than 50% of their working hours from home. Office-
centred teleworkers: worked more than 50% of their working
hours from office.
Quantitative, cross-sectional.
Findings: No general differences between the teleworkers and the
control group as per the job satisfaction. The quality of
management by objectives was the strongest predictor of job
Job Satisfaction (Affective) 100%
Raghuram et al., 2003 US, telecommunications company (n=723).
Telecommuters worked from home.
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Telecommuters scored higher on self-efficacy and structuring
behaviour skills. Individualsself-efficacy was related to their
structuring behaviour skills, whereas their experience with remote
e-working was not. The more self-efficacious individuals were, the
easier they found it to adjust to remote e-working.
Structuring behaviour (skills)
Cooper and Kurland
US, private and public sectors (n= 92: n=30 supervisors, n=37
telecommuters, n=25 non-telecommuters)
Telecommuting: working outside an office environment (mainly
Qualitative, semi-structured interviews.
Findings: Remote e-workers from both private and public sector
expressed feelings of professional isolation.
Professional Isolation
Bélanger et al. (2001) US, six IS organizations, (n= 110: n=67 telecommuters, n=43 non-
Telecommuting: working at least one day away from the main office.
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: Higher levels of available communication technology were
associated with greater levels of remote e-workerssatisfaction.
Job Satisfaction (Affective) 75%
Ilozor et al. (2001) Australia, IBM, (n= 43). Telecommuters: exact definition not provided. Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: Specific management communication strategies (e.g., clarity
and regularity of communication) were positively associated with
remote e-workersjob satisfaction.
Job Satisfaction (Affective) 50%
Baruch (2000) UK, five organizations, (n=62).
Teleworkers: working from their home (between two days a week to
a full-time basis).
Qualitative, semi-structured interviews
Remote e-working had a negative impact on career aspiration and
future career perceptions.
Individuals mentioned that there were some very important qualities
to effectively work from home, such as being self-disciplined, self-
motivated, able to work on own, being tenacious, and well-
organised. On the contrary, high need for social life, and a need to
be supervised showed unfit for remote e-working.
Career development, future
career perceptions,
Mann et al. (2000) UK, telecommunications, (n= 14).
Teleworkers: worked mainly from home, although most did go into
the office at times (for meetings).
Qualitative, semi-structured interviews.
Findings: A minor positive emotional impact of remote e-working on
affective well-being (e.g., less travel-related stress) and a major
negative impact (e.g., loneliness, frustration) were found.
Psychological implications/
Emotional experience
Igbaria and Guimaraes
US, sales company, (n= 225: n=104 telecommuters; n=121 non-
Telecommuters: working mostly at home or on the road, go into the
office at times (for meetings).
Quantitative, cross sectional.
Findings: E-workers showed greater levels of overall satisfaction, but
similar levels of organisational commitment. They were more
satisfied with work and supervisions, and less satisfied with co-
workers and promotion.
Job Satisfaction
Organisational commitment
can harm ones perceptions about career opportunities and
how much the organisation invests in training and develop-
ment of employees (Redman, Snape, & Ashurst, 2009).
Professional and social facets of well-being at work
Ten studies examined the professional and social aspects of
well-being together. Initially, qualitative studies investigated
how autonomy is redefined in remote e-working populations
because of changes in supervisory control and dynamics.
Findings revealed that despite already trusted employee-
supervisor relationships, individuals still noticed increased
supervision from their line manager (Sewell & Taskin, 2015).
These findings stress how physical absence from the central
office can create trust issues and an increase in control
imposed upon employees. It is, thus, not surprising that devel-
oping and maintaining relationships was found to be a crucial
skill for these employeescareer advancement (Richardson &
McKenna, 2014). A slightly different picture was presented by
some studies suggesting that autonomy was indeed increased
but social relationships were challenged (Sardeshmukh et al.,
2012) with communication between colleagues and managers
becoming more difficult (Dambrin, 2004). On another note,
Ten Brummelhuis, Haar, and van der Lippe (2010) found that
working away from the office was associated with greater
autonomy; and autonomy was associated with more collegial
behaviours. It was then suggested that remote e-workers can
counterbalance the decreased interaction with greater com-
munication and collegial behaviours the days that they are
present at work.
Psychosomatic and affective facets of well-being at work
Research focusing on remote e-workersemotional experi-
ence alongside psychosomatic health was assessed in two
studies. Remote e-workersnarratives revealed that remote
e-workers experienced more negative emotions compared to
their office-based colleagues (Mann & Holdsworth, 2003).
Furthermore, the reduced feelings of work-life conflict were
not associated with their affective well-being. Additionally,
no links were supported between remote e-working and
individualspsychosomatic symptoms (Lapierre & Allen,
2006;Mann&Holdsworth,2003). However, it is worth men-
tioning that both studies are somewhat outdated and have
solely assessed negative emotions, suggesting that more
research is warranted.
Professional and cognitive facets of well-being at work
Only one mixed-method study examined both autonomy and
concentration levels within remote e-working populations
(Vittersø et al., 2003). According to the quantitative findings,
working from home was not associated with autonomy or
greater concentration. This contradicted the qualitative find-
ings, which suggested that work conducted at home enabled
individuals to concentrate more, providing them a sense of
freedom in their working practices. Also, Vander Elst et al.
(2017) suggested that while remote e-working was not related
to autonomy, it led to greater cognitive stress complaints (e.g.,
difficulty concentrating on specific tasks).
Psychosomatic and social facets of well- being at work
From the included studies, just one looked into both psychoso-
matic and social aspects of well-being at work. In particular,
qualitative narratives of Canadian remote e-workers suggested
that individuals rarely felt socially isolated, and that they had
strategies in place to ameliorate these feelings (Montreuil &
Lippel, 2003). This is common in modern organizations where
employees are required to socialize and interact with colleagues
both in person and electronically (Beauregard, Basile, & Canonico,
2013). Whereas feelings of social isolation seemed to be lessened,
individuals mentioned musculoskeletal problems, such as
a backache, linked to computer use (Montreuil & Lippel, 2003).
This finding highlights the importance of and need for ergonomi-
cally sound equipment and furniture when working from home.
Studies expanding on one out of the five proposed
well-being dimensions
As mentioned above, the majority of the studies included
(N=34) in this systematic review focused on solely one well-
being dimension. Their contribution to our understanding
around remote e-working and well-being at work is still con-
sidered to be fundamental and thus presented in the follow-
ing section (see Table 4).
Affective well-being dimension
Emotions. As already mentioned, the affective dimension
attracted the highest number of papers. To begin with, initial
qualitative research supported that remote e-working had
a negative impact on emotions (Mann, Varey, & Button,
2000). An alternative interpretation of emotions, based on
narratives of three fathers, was that working from home
could provide a space where men can adopt the emotional
discourses traditionally associated with women(Marsh &
Musson, 2008, p. 46). Whereas fathers prioritized different
roles when working from home, they all became more emo-
tionally engaged in parenthood. Nevertheless, recent quanti-
tative findings indicated a more positive relationship.
Employing a within-subject design, Anderson, Kaplan, and
Vega (2015) suggested that, during the days working from
home, individuals expressed higher degrees of positive emo-
tions and lower degrees of negative emotions. This was in line
with Redman et al.s(2009) finding that the more employees
worked from home, the higher degrees of positive affect they
experienced. The fact that more recent results (i.e., Anderson
et al., 2015) support a link between remote e-working and
positive emotions could perhaps link to an improvement in
technology which enables employees to be more connected
to their workplace than previously (e.g., Lal & Dwivedi, 2009).
This may, in turn, decrease frustration linked to an inability to
reach colleagues (Mann & Holdsworth, 2003).
Emotional exhaustion. Studies included in this review dis-
cussed the relationship between remote e-working and emo-
tional exhaustion by solely drawing upon quantitative
findings. Altogether, it was indicated that remote e-working
may decrease how emotionally exhausted individuals feel
(Golden, 2006a; Redman et al., 2009). Drawing upon the
Conservation of Resources theory (Hobfoll, 1989), Golden
(2006a) suggested that remote e-workers are enabled to
stockpile their resources by avoiding commuting, being flex-
ible to respond to family needs and reducing emotional drain
coming from traditional day-to-day work activities. This con-
sequently reduces their emotional depletion.
Job satisfaction. Moreover, job satisfaction has been the
most studied construct within remote e-workers, with
retrieved studies discussing a mainly positive influence of
remote e-working. Meta-analytical findings provided strong
evidence for a positive association between remote e-working
and job satisfaction (Gajendran & Harrison, 2007). This was
supported by the majority of the included studies (e.g.,
Hornung & Glaser, 2009; Kelliher & Anderson, 2010; Vega,
Anderson, & Kaplan, 2015). An interesting viewpoint was that
the positive link between remote e-working and job satisfac-
tion occurs under specific conditions; indicating a curvilinear
relationship (i.e., Caillier, 2012; Golden & Veiga, 2005; Virick,
DaSilva, & Arrington, 2010). Golden and Veiga (2005) particu-
larly found that job satisfaction was greater with an increase of
remote e-working, but at about 15 h it decreased and pla-
teaued. It can, thus, be suggested that remote e-working is
more beneficial when it takes place as a part-time flexible
work arrangement, where face-to-face interactions are main-
tained and the flexibility is still provided (Caillier, 2012). These
findings challenge previous research suggesting that the more
extensively employees are e-working, the greater the job
satisfaction they experience (Pinsonneault & Boisvert, 2001).
Organisational commitment. Concerning the last element
of the affective well-being dimension, included studies illu-
strated a mostly positive relationship between remote e-work-
ing and organisational commitment. As indicated in Kelliher
and Anderson (2010) interviews, individuals valued the fact
that their organisation was accommodating their needs, allow-
ing them to work more flexibly. Although work intensified due
to remote e-working, individuals were still more committed to
their organisation than their office-based counterparts
(Kelliher & Anderson, 2010). Individuals may become more
loyal as they appreciate the fact that their organizations trust
them to work remotely (Igbaria & Guimaraes, 1999). Meta-
analytical findings have confirmed this positive relationship
(Harker Martin & MacDonnell, 2012).
Moderating, mediating and other related factors in the
relationship between affective well-being and remote
e-working. Personality traits play an important role in what
kind of emotions individuals can experience (i.e., Anderson
et al., 2015), suggesting that not all individuals would benefit
in the same degree from remote e-working. Also, individuals
home situation was found to influence feelings of emotional
exhaustion, as those who extensively e-worked remotely and
experienced high work-family conflict (WFC) were the most
emotionally exhausted (Golden, 2012). This finding is of high
importance to individuals who experience a negative blurring
of home and work boundaries (Golden, 2012) as they are likely
to have less detachment from work and increased negative
emotions and fatigue (Sonnentag, Binnewies, & Mojza, 2008).
Moreover, the positive relationship between remote
e-working and job satisfaction was found to be moderated
by low task interdependence and/or high levels of job discre-
tion (Golden & Veiga, 2005); as well as performance-outcome
orientation and workaholic levels (i.e., high drive and low
enjoyment; Virick et al., 2010). Furthermore, remote e-workers
satisfaction resulted from greater autonomy (Gajendran &
Harrison, 2007; Hornung & Glaser, 2009); greater work-life
balance or reduced work-life/family conflict (Fonner & Roloff,
2010; Gajendran & Harrison, 2007; Golden, 2006b), and better
relationships with supervisors and colleagues (Fay & Kline,
2012; Golden, 2006b; Staples, 2001). Being able to filter out
office-based distractions and disconnect deliberately was posi-
tively associated with satisfaction (Fonner & Roloff, 2010).
Setting clearer goals, getting more feedback, and providing
a higher degree of participation (Konradt, Hertel, & Schmook,
2003), as well as having appropriate equipment (Ilozor, Ilozor,
& Carr, 2001), and available ICTs (Bélanger, Collins, & Cheney,
2001) was associated with greater job satisfaction. Remote
e-working arrangements were found to be more beneficial
to womens levels of job satisfaction compared to mens
(Troup & Rose, 2012). This aligns with research suggesting
that women are more satisfied when e-working, as they can
dedicate more time to their family responsibilities (Caillier,
Cognitive well-being dimension
The cognitive well-being dimension received the least atten-
tion from all the other dimensions. An earlier study by Hartig,
Kylin, and Johansson (2007) indicated that both remote and
office-based workers considered home to be more as a place
of restoration, than a place of demands.
Moderating, mediating and other related factors in the
relationship between cognitive well-being and remote
e-working. A significant interaction between gender and
work arrangement showed that women who were e-working
remotely experienced less effective restoration than those
who did not (Hartig et al., 2007). This may imply that remote
e-working reinforces gendered patterns, as women may have
a greater ability to be more involved in the domestic life when
working from home (Michelson, 2000). Conclusions should be
drawn with caution though, due to Hartig et al.s(2007) small
sample, which makes the results less powerful.
Social well-being dimension
Social relationships (with both colleagues and supervi-
sors). Researchers explored whether working relationships
change when employees are e-working remotely. One of the
main concerns raised was the social isolation that individuals
may experience. Qualitative findings have suggested that
remote e-workers occasionally missed the spontaneous socia-
lization occurring in an office environment (Tietze & Nadin,
2011). This finding is in line with Sewell and Taskin (2015)
proposition that the decreased regular face-to-face interaction
and social proximity between colleagues and supervisors led
individuals to feel that out of sight really was out of mind(p.
Within a hostile environment, employees working from
home narrated how their office-based colleagues resented
communicating with them and their supervisors trusted
them less as they could not see them in the main office
(Tietze & Nadin, 2011). Additional qualitative findings sug-
gested that the dynamics of the relationships may actually
change as remote e-workers created stronger bonds with
people working in a similar way, and simultaneously discon-
nected themselves from office-based colleagues (Collins,
Hislop, & Cartwright, 2016). Alternatively, Gajendran and
Harrison (2007) meta-analytic findings contradicted their
expectations, indicating a positive association between the
employee-supervisor relationship and remote e-working. The
cross-sectional nature of the studies included in this meta-
analysis, prohibits us from determining whether remote
e-working benefits working relationships, or whether super-
visors offer remote e-working to employees who are already
performing well, or who they know better (Gajendran &
Harrison, 2007). Also, it is worth mentioning that in
a supportive organisation where essential training to transition
to a virtual way of working took place, remote e-workers were
more satisfied with their relationship with their supervisor
than their counterparts (Akkirman & Harris, 2005).
Moderating, mediating and other related factors in the
relationship between social well-being and remote
e-working. Initially, at an individual level, remote e-workers
can take the initiative to decrease social isolation or counter-
balance its negative consequences by effectively using ICTs
(e.g., mobile phones) to stay connected with colleagues (Lal &
Dwivedi, 2009; Sewell & Taskin, 2015). This strategy carries the
risk though, that individuals may get caught into a negative
loop of always being visible to their workplace to avoid judge-
ments of not being physically present (Sewell & Taskin, 2015).
Moreover, individuals can work both from home and office
when possible, to establish a network of remote e-workers
with whom they can discuss and provide mutual assistance
(Montreuil & Lippel, 2003), and develop a network of friends
outside of work (Tietze & Nadin, 2011). It was also suggested
that some individuals are more intrinsically suited to deal with
feelings of social isolation (Beauregard et al., 2013); since self-
efficacious individuals were less likely to experience isolation
from their working environment (Mulki & Jaramillo, 2011).
Moreover, the frequency of remote e-working acted as
a moderator to the association between remote e-working
and working relationships (Gajendran & Harrison, 2007).
Specifically, spending more than 2.5 days per week working
away from the office was associated with deterioration in the
quality of co-worker relationships. Additionally, demographics
were found to link to relationships as remote e-workers who
were older and had more tenure with their organisation
claimed to have the best-established relationships (Akkirman
& Harris, 2005; Gajendran & Harrison, 2007). At an organiza-
tional level, managers were found to play an important role to
support individualssocial isolation feelings. The more super-
visors supported and considered employeesefforts (Mulki &
Jaramillo, 2011), the less workplace isolation individuals
experienced. Also, Montreuil and Lippel (2003) suggested
that working with clients, which increased connectedness
feelings, as well as getting used to this way of working
decreased social isolation feelings.
Professional well-being dimension
Autonomy. The qualitative studies, included in this review,
provide a pessimistic picture of the autonomy levels of remote
e-workers. Dimitrova (2003) claims that although remote
e-workers have more autonomy around their temporal sche-
duling, work becomes intensified and the hours longer. This
led to the suggestion that autonomy comes with a cost, which
is the collapse of the boundaries between work and non-work
spheres. The challenge is to identify whether individuals blur
the boundaries and overwork willingly, as a reciprocation of
working more flexibly (Kelliher & Anderson, 2010), or whether
this is inevitable as ICT use imposes pressure on them to be
constantly accessible and responsive (Matusik & Mickel, 2011).
Previous research on knowledge workers, who extensively use
ICTs for work purposes, encounter the autonomy paradox
(Mazmanian, Orlikowski, & Yates, 2013; Putnam, Myers, &
Gailliard, 2014; Ter Hoeven & Van Zoonen, 2015). This paradox
posits that whilst employees have greater autonomy due to
ICT means available, they simultaneously feel compelled to
respond to work matters outside normal working hours.
A different picture is provided by the majority of the quanti-
tative evidence, suggesting that autonomy increases within
remote e-working populations (Gajendran & Harrison, 2007).
Also, even when controlling for individualsdegree of freedom
(considering decision-making and how work is structured),
Gajendran, Harrison, and Delaney Klinger (2014) still sug-
gested higher levels of perceived autonomy among remote
Competence (knowledge, skills, and abilities). Literature
also identified the essential competencies that remote e-work-
ers need to work effectively. Individualsnarrations suggested
that some of the most important skills were: self-discipline,
self-motivation, ability to work on own, and good time man-
agement (Baruch, 2000; Richardson & McKenna, 2014). In con-
trast, individuals with a high need for supervision and
socialisation were found to be unfit for remote e-working. Self-
efficacious remote e-workers were found to have better struc-
turing behaviours, adjusting easily to changes in their work
brought by remote e-working (Raghuram, Wiesenfeld, &
Garud, 2003). Evaluating the evidence, researchers have still
not established and quantitatively assessed a list of the essen-
tial competencies that are required to be an effective remote
Professional isolation. Three studies included discussed pro-
fessional isolation as a main concern within remote e-workers.
Qualitative narratives of remote e-workers, from both private
and public sectors, expressed greater feelings of professional
isolation compared to their counterparts (Cooper & Kurland,
2002). It was particularly mentioned that, not being constantly
in an office environment was negatively associated with devel-
opmental activities, making employees feel professionally iso-
lated. Individuals predominantly missed the interpersonal
networking with other co-workers, the informal learning
which develops work-related skills and information sharing
and the mentoring from colleagues and supervisors.
Quantitative evidence, likewise, suggests that employees
working mainly from the office experienced the highest
degree of inclusion in their departments, compared to
employees working mainly from a home, a satellite, or a client-
based office (Morganson, Major, Oborn, Verive, & Heelan,
2010). Included studies suggested that organizations and
managers need to monitor feelings of professional isolation
within remote e-workers, as this may be detrimental to their
job satisfaction (Morganson et al., 2010) and performance
(Golden, Veiga, & Dino, 2008).
Career prospects. The studies included in the current review
discussed both neutral and negative links between remote
e-working and career prospects. Remote e-working was sug-
gested to be an analogue of workplace absence (McDonald,
Bradley, & Brown, 2008). This absence was not in line with the
visibility required to show dedication and commitment to the
organization and consequently impaired employeespercep-
tions about their career opportunities. Employees may feel
their career is threatened as the organization does not support
their progression by investing in their training and develop-
ment (McDonald et al., 2008; Redman et al., 2009). This was
challenged by a study conducted by McCloskey and Igbaria
(2003) where supervisorsappraisals suggested that all
employees had the same amount of opportunities for career
advancement. These findings should be interpreted with cau-
tion though, as they do not portray individualsperceptions
but their supervisorsinstead. Likewise, Gajendran and
Harrison (2007) meta-analysis did not support any negative
links between remote e-working and perceived career pro-
spects. This was attributed to samples consisting of mostly
women, who are more likely to benefit from increased control
over their personal and working lives.
Moderating, mediating and other related factors in the
relationship between professional well-being and remote
e-working. Organizational culture may impact on the degree
to which remote e-working influences professional well-being.
For instance, organizations which show more understanding
of the importance of balancing work and live spheres may
make it easier for the individuals to get promoted and feel
autonomous (Gálvez, Martínez, & Pérez, 2011; Taskin &
Edwards, 2007). Organizationsreadiness to use remote
e-working arrangements was also found to be important as
trusting relationships can be challenged, leading organizations
to greater micromanagement of employees who work away
(Sewell & Taskin, 2015). Last, qualitative findings suggested
that although remote e-working benefited knowledge workers
at the higher levels of the hierarchy, who already possess
autonomy in their roles, it did not benefit the rest of the
employees (Dimitrova, 2003; Grant et al., 2013; Taskin &
Edwards, 2007).
Psychosomatic well-being dimension
With regards this final well-being dimension, no further evi-
dence was presented except from that which was described
earlier, suggesting a lack of research conducted on this aspect.
The influence of new forms of work, and particularly remote
e-working, on knowledge workerswell-being has been exten-
sively discussed and debated, with research providing both
positive and negative viewpoints. The current review supports
Allen et al.s(2015) findings, according to which remote
e-working is associated with many different spheres of indivi-
dualsworking lives (e.g., job satisfaction, relationships, and
career). Drawing upon Van Horn et al.s(2004) model, some
strong evidence for a positive relationship between remote
e-working and well-being at work is provided. More explicitly,
remote e-working was found to associate with individuals
positive emotions, to increase their job satisfaction and orga-
nizational commitment levels, and to ameliorate feelings of
emotional exhaustion. Additionally, when it comes to profes-
sional well-being, remote e-workers were found to be more
autonomous as a result of this working arrangement. Some
nuanced findings were presented in relation to social relation-
ships within a remote e-working population. For example,
although social isolation has been repeatedly identified as
one the main drawbacks of remote e-working (Bailey &
Kurland, 2002), this review suggests that individuals can be
proactive in mitigating these feelings. Also, considering that
individuals are not physically located next to each other, it is
not surprising that relationships were found to change. This
review goes beyond acknowledging this change, highlighting
the pivotal role those relationships, and social support, in
particular, can play for remote e-working to succeed.
Nevertheless, some pitfalls are acknowledged. For example,
professional isolation and perceived threats in career advance-
ment seem to challenge employees who worry about the
opportunities available to them. Moreover, this review dis-
cusses some of the mechanisms that seem to underline the
complicated relationship between remote e-working and well-
being at work expanding on the individual (e.g., personality
traits), work-related (e.g., job role), and organizational aspects
(e.g., organisational culture).
The striking conclusion of this review is that information
about important dimensions and sub-dimensions of remote
e-workerswell-being is absent. In particular, research has not
satisfactorily explored remote e-workersjob aspirations, cog-
nitive weariness, and psychosomatic health. Although, this
review elaborated on findings about career prospects and
perceptions of professional isolation as an analogue of job
aspiration, further evidence is needed to better understand
how remote e-workersperceive their career development.
Furthermore, researchers have attempted to respond to the
critical question: Does being away from a traditional office
involve specific competencies (i.e., knowledge, skills, and
abilities) to be an effective worker? However, additional
research is fundamental to establish and quantitatively assess
a list of competencies that are required to effectively e-work
remotely. This will then fulfil the growing need to shift our
attention from virtual work at a group-level and firm-level,
and focus on an individual-level instead (Wang & Haggerty,
There is an increased need to investigate whether remote
e-workers experience cognitive weariness, reflected in reduced
concentration, and impaired switchingoff from work. Online
debates within a variety of employees revealed that working
in solitude and avoiding office interruptions, benefits tasks
that require high concentration (Boell, Cecez-Kecmanovic, &
Campbell, 2016). Conversely, empirical evidence suggested
that remote e-workersroutine is heavily dependent upon
ICTs, dealing with a lot of interruptions such as incoming
emails and instant messages (Leonardi et al., 2010). Using
multiple communication channels was found to impair con-
centration (Braukmann, Schmitt, Ďuranová, and Ohly (2017).
Therefore, this review denotes the need for further research to
examine remote e-workersconcentration. Additionally, devel-
oped social norms in modern organizations encourage an
always-on culture (Derks et al., 2015), which especially influ-
ences remote e-workers who feel pressurized to be constantly
available (Suh & Lee, 2017). Remote e-workers could be con-
sidered as susceptible to this always-on culture, due to
a great blurring of personal and work boundaries (e.g., Tietze
& Musson, 2005). This blurring of boundaries and the available
technology may enhance the temptation to continue working
resulting in a lack of recuperation (Grant et al., 2013). In a very
recent review by Schlachter, McDowall, Cropley, and Inceoglu
(2017) it was claimed that individuals who use ICTs for work
matters, during non-working hours, may fail to mentally
detach and switch-off from work (e.g., Middleton, 2007).
Hence, further research needs to address whether remote
e-working and the extensive use of ICTs may make it harder
for individuals to switch-off from work.
Furthermore, there has also been scarce research concern-
ing the link between remote e-working and individualspsy-
chosomatic conditions, specifically to musculoskeletal or
somatic complaints. The suggestion made by this review
are in line with Eurofound and the International Labour
Office (2017) report, according to which we lack knowledge
at a European national level about whether remote e-workers
are working in ergonomically sound environments when
conducting work outside the traditional office. This report
particularly raised concerns about the use of mobile ICT
devices when remotely e-working and how they influence
the ergonomics of work. Although remote e-workers may be
exposed to the same ergonomic risks as their office-based
colleagues, organizations are often not paying sufficient
Ergonomically designed working environments and guidance
to work in a safe manner are essential in order to avoid
physical complaints and irritations (Garza, Catalano, Katz,
Huysmans, & Dennerlein, 2012). Assessing whether remote
e-workers change their health-related behaviours (such as
eating habits, exercise habits, and breaks) is important as
these behaviours are again inextricably linked to psychoso-
matic health (Allen et al., 2015). The combination of
increased sedentary behaviours when working, decreased
mental outcomes to individualshealth (Healy et al., 2012). In
the absence of such evidence, links between important
aspects of well-being at work (i.e., psychosomatic) and
remote e-working cannot be made, restricting our full under-
standing of the topic.
Benefits of a multi-dimensional approach to remote
Van Horn et al.s(2004) five-dimensional model seems to
provide a relevant and meaningful contextual framework
when investigating the relationship between remote e-work-
ing and well-being at work. The 26 included studies that
explored more than one well-being dimension enable us to
see different, and simultaneously pivotal, angles of this rela-
tionship. For instance, autonomy was found to be
a mechanism through which remote e-working decreased
emotional exhaustion (Sardeshmukh et al., 2012), increasing
job satisfaction (Gajendran & Harrison, 2007). Good working
relationships also explained why remote e-workers were more
(Fay & Kline, 2011,2012) or less committed (Tietze & Nadin,
2011) to their organizations. Additionally, Bentley et al. (2016)
suggested that the available organizational support, and sup-
port around remote e-working linked to both increased job
satisfaction and reduced psychological strain; reducing feel-
ings of social isolation. Synthesising well-being dimensions
together may also bring critical thought into this growing
topic. For example, instead of taking for granted that working
in solitude will lead individuals to become socially isolated, we
could explore where they may also benefit (e.g., greater satis-
faction) due to filtering out office-based distractions (Fonner &
Roloff, 2010). This review portrays how the combination of the
aforementioned dimensions influence one another, resulting
in a more representative reflection of the relationship between
remote e-working and well-being at work.
Overall assumptions about remote e-working and
well-being dimensions
Beyond the specific conclusions drawn about each individual
well-being dimension, some additional generic assumptions
are presented below.
First, as previous reviews have highlighted (e.g., Allen et al.,
2015; Sullivan, 2003) a variation in how remote e-working has
been defined is noticeable. Not all studies have been clear
about the extent to which employees are e-working remotely,
or the actual location that work is conducted. Although an
effort was made to ensure transparency when describing the
studies included, readers should still account for this diversity
in samples used when interpreting the current summary.
A need to better understand todays workplace is highlighted,
since employees are not exclusively working in an office or
home locations, but also in places such as customer sites,
hotels, airports, and cafes (Maitland & Thomson, 2014).
Second, this review emphasises that current research has
not considered the degree to which ICT use, which is an
integral part of working away from the main office (Leonardi
et al., 2010), may particularly influence remote e-workerswell-
being at work. Technostress is a growing topic in the general
working population and it refers to the stress experienced by
end users, resulting from extensive ICT use and the demand to
stay updated with technological changes (Ragu-Nathan,
Tarafdar, Ragu-Nathan, & Tu, 2008). Suh and Lee (2017) study
is the only one that examined technostress within remote
e-workers. The authors suggested that, the degree to which
remote e-workers deal with high task interdependence and
low autonomy, in conjunction with technology stressors, can
lead to technostress. This simultaneously leads to less job
satisfaction. Thus, it is essential to identify how ICT use appro-
priateness and enactment in different work activities when
e-working remotely may be another factor that influences
remote e-workerswell-being (Boell et al., 2016).
Third, as according to Anderson et al. (2015), individuals
were more likely to experience positive emotions, when
e-working remotely, when they were more open to experi-
ence, ruminated less, and had more social connections outside
their workplace. In a similar vein, workaholic individuals were
found to be more satisfied with their job when e-working
remotely (Virick et al., 2010) than the rest of their colleagues.
These findings embrace the statement that one size does not
fit all. Thus, investigating employeesworking preferences
and personality types may enable us to better foresee who
will benefit the most by remote e-working. As this review
points out, this is a current gap in our knowledge.
Fourth, a growing idea embraced by a number of studies
(e.g., Gálvez et al., 2011) is that organizational culture and
environment may play a pivotal role in remote e-workerswell-
being. Lautsch et al. (2009) have proposed that helpful and
supportive organizational culture (where supervisors encou-
rage individuals to maintain their performance even when
e-working remotely), implement remote e-working practices
more effectively. Characteristically, perceived support from the
organization, along with the support from supervisors and
peers, positively influenced individualsjob satisfaction, redu-
cing psychological strain, and social isolation (Bentley et al.,
2016). It is thus strongly suggested that social support is very
important for this working arrangement to succeed (Haines III,
St-Onge, & Archambault, 2002). The impact of organizational
culture and environment could probably be understood under
the psychological contract theory. In particular, remote
e-workers and their organisation have to adjust to a different
psychological contract. When working outside an office envir-
onment, individuals are still trusted to provide good quality
work, and equally organizations are trusted to keep an eye on
these employees, without forgettingabout them as they are
not always physically present. The challenge here, is that some
organizations (e.g., in the U.K.) have not yet established poli-
cies to safeguard healthy ICT use; maintaining a perception
that managing ICT for work purposes is a mainly individual
responsibility (McDowall & Kinman, 2017). This can be
a particular issue for remote e-workers whose working life, as
described above, heavily depends on ICTs.
Last, advanced methods are needed to reach more robust
conclusions. For instance, longitudinal data is vastly absent,
something that obstructs our ability to define causation and
the actual direction for most of the relationships discussed
above (Schieman & Glavin, 2011) and to reveal actual mechan-
isms between these dimensions. Additionally, it would be useful
to conduct more diary studies which will allow us to capture
a within-person change on levels of well-being, as opposed to
acumulativemeangroup change. An advantage of this
method is that it decreases retrospective bias, which often
threatens the validity of cross-sectional surveys (Reis & Gable,
2000). Moreover, although researchersfair attempt to examine
moderating and mediating relationships, our knowledge is still
in its infancy; with the exact psychological processes that
underlie the link between remote e-working and well-being
unexplored. Additional qualitative data could enable us to
delve into and identify possible moderating and mediating
factors, and consequently indicate how they operate.
Limitations and future research
Despite the strengths of the current review, such as its rigor-
ous theoretical and contextual framework and the breadth of
information it provides there are some limitations that need to
be addressed. Particularly, this review focuses on research
within a specific time frame, excluding any research con-
ducted, before and after the inclusion criteria. Consequently,
future research including different studies could reach differ-
ent conclusions. However, this is a usual limitation of both
systematic reviews and meta-analyses (Harker Martin &
MacDonnell, 2012). The trade-off is that systematic reviews
may give good evidence when understanding previously con-
ducted research (Petticrew & Roberts, 2006). Additionally, the
current review excluded specific working populations, such as
self-employed and disabled employees. Whereas, this enables
better comparability of the obtained studies, it concurrently
leaves unclear how remote e-working links to these employ-
eeswell-being at work.
When it comes to future work, studies could focus on
well-being dimensions that have been unexplored (i.e.,
cognitive, psychosomatic), and further examine underlying
factors that may influence more frequently studied dimen-
sions (i.e., affective, social, and professional). As clearly
suggested by this review a multi-dimensional approach
such as, Van Horn et al.s(2004), may bring essential
aspects into the discussion of remote e-workerswell-
there are no measures tailored towards assessing remote
e-workers well-being at work, and a multi-dimensional
approach may provide a good theoretical grounding
when developing one. A measure would enable organiza-
tions to detect and manage any issues raised by remote
e-working (as discussed earlier), enabling organizations to
put specific actions and strategies in place and to make
sound policy recommendations. Lastly, this systematic
review has exclusively focused on remote e-workerswell-
being at work without considering their counterparts who
are still full-time based in an office location. Research sug-
gested that office-based employees experienced greater
WFC when their colleagues were absent from the office
(Lautsch et al., 2009). Thus, it is imperative for future
research to explore if the change of the social milieu of
the traditional office may occasionally improve the well-
being of a few (i.e., remote e-workers) at the expense of
others (i.e., office-based workers).
Practical implications
Despite discussed limitations, we believe that this review can
offer implications for practice to a variety of stakeholders.
Considering that remote e-workings impact on well-being is
complex, organizations should weigh both benefits and draw-
backs. For instance, granting autonomy to individuals and
avoiding micromanagement can act as a resource which may
decrease feelings of emotional exhaustion and lead to greater
job satisfaction. Additionally, conveying a sense of trust in that
individual will appropriately conduct their work duties outside
an office environment can increase individualsloyalty and
organisational commitment. Nevertheless, individuals need
to be aware of the isolating nature of this way of working.
As per this review, the fundamental role of maintaining good
interpersonal relationships at work is especially heightened for
individuals who remotely e-work. Therefore, organizations are
called to openly discuss ways in which isolating feelings may
be ameliorated. In order to increase confidence in conducting
their work and reduce isolation, organizations should be
encouraged to create social support networks between
remote e-workers, colleagues, and supervisors. Good commu-
nications between remote e-workers and their office-based
colleagues needs to be encouraged, especially when task
interdependence is involved. Effective planning of remote
e-workersoffice presence could be a useful coping strategy.
In other words, individuals can have flexibility around their
work time and place, but simultaneously arrange face-to-face
meetings at appropriate times. A good coordination of online
work activities with colleagues is also needed for individuals
who are working full-time away from an office location, in
order to ensure that deadlines are met and projects are fin-
ished on time. Furthermore, providing information about
career opportunities and mentors may be crucial to alleviate
concerns about career advancement, resulting from a physical
absence from the main office location.
Considering the growing use of technology, and the conse-
quent increase in flexibility around where work is con-
ducted, organizations and employees need to be aware of
both the benefits and drawbacks of remote e-working prac-
tices. Conclusions drawn on all five well-being dimensions
indicate that we know more about employeesaffective
state, social, and professional life than we know about
their cognitive functioning and psychosomatic well-being.
Although, links between remote e-working and each of the
five dimensions seem to be both positive and negative,
there is still a greater consensus towards a beneficial impact
of this working arrangement. This review suggests that
research within remote e-workers should incorporate: (1)
a greater variety of remote e-workers, (2) identification of
ICT use appropriateness and enactment on working tasks
and its influence on individualsworking lives (e.g., technos-
tress), (3) personality traits as one size does not fit all,(4)
a deeper understanding of organizational culture and cli-
mate, and (5) more advanced methods of conducting
research (e.g., longitudinal data, diary studies, moderating,
and mediating relationships). This research proposes that
adopting a multidimensional approach may provide
a rigorous theoretical and contextual framework for both
academics to better understand the relationship between
remote e-working and well-being at work, and for practi-
tioners, to enhance their knowledge surrounding imple-
menting and managing remote e-working policies and
strategies in a more effective manner.
1. As some studies looked into a couple of well-being dimensions (and
sub-dimensions), the number does not add up to 63, which is the
final number of included studies. Tables 3 and 4provide detail on the
aspects examined by each study.
2. Relevant studies should include at least one keyword from each set
of keywords.
3. ICT use is not mentioned in any of the definitions provided, since it
was an essential requirement for a study to be included.
4. The three meta-analyses received no MMAT scores, as the MMAT tool
criteria have only the ability to assess the quality of primary quanti-
tative, qualitative and mixed-method studies.
Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
Maria Charalampous
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