Citation: Kowalski, G.; ´
Remote Working and Work
Effectiveness: A Leader Perspective.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,
19, 15326. https://doi.org/10.3390/
Academic Editors: Marcin Wnuk and
Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 7 October 2022
Accepted: 18 November 2022
Published: 20 November 2022
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International Journal of
and Public Health
Remote Working and Work Effectiveness: A Leader Perspective
Grzegorz Kowalski and Katarzyna ´
Institute of Psychology, University of Silesia in Katowice, 40-007 Katowice, Poland
*Correspondence: email@example.com; Tel.:+48-32-359-9824
Currently, job duties are massively transferred from in-person to remote working. Existing
knowledge on remote working is mainly based on employees’ assessment. However, the manager’s
perspective is crucial in organizations that turned into remote work for the ﬁrst time facing sudden
circumstances, i.e., SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The main aim of our study was to analyze remote work
effectiveness perceived by managers (N = 141) referring to three crucial aspects, i.e., manager, team,
and external cooperation. We assumed the perceived beneﬁts, limitations, and online working
frequency as predictors of remote work effectiveness. Further, we analyzed the possible differences in
remote work perception referring to different management levels (i.e., middle-level and lower-level).
Our ﬁndings revealed a signiﬁcant relationship between the beneﬁts and effectiveness of managers
and external cooperation, speciﬁcally among lower-level managers. Limitations, particularly technical
and communication issues, predicted team and external cooperation effectiveness. The results showed
remote work assessment as being socially diverse at the management level.
effective leader; leader perspective; remote working; work effectiveness; working
Currently, remote work has become a crucial organizational tool that enables effective
performance in the increasingly competitive global market. Although working outside of
the ofﬁce has already been available, this form of performing job duties seems mainstream
in modern organizations. Due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, 14.2% of employees in Poland
changed their current way of performing professional duties to a remote mode. Almost
every sixth employee in the public sector and every twelfth in the private sector worked
]. 85.6% worked remotely for ﬁve days a week, and 64% were likely to perform
their professional duties remotely even after returning to the work ofﬁce, especially since
44% of employees declared that their efﬁciency at home did not decrease [
]. Half of them
indicated that sufﬁcient work outside of the ofﬁce was performed mainly for two days, and
every seventh employee pointed out three remote working days.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many studies have been conducted on various aspects
of remote working from the employees’ perspectives [
]. Generally, employees ﬁnd
working from home productive, albeit managers are often concerned about maintaining
job performance at least on the same level as ofﬁce work [
]. Thus, it seems crucial
to look at how managers at different levels of management perceive the introduction of
remote working on an unprecedented scale since they are responsible for organizing and
controlling the employees’ work [
]. We decided to use managerial perception as previous
research has proved the usefulness of subjective performance measures and their similarity
with objective internal performance [
]. This study aimed to determine how managers
rated the effectiveness of their own work and how they assessed the effectiveness of their
team and external collaboration while performing their job duties remotely.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 15326. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192215326 https://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 15326 2 of 11
Literature Review and Hypotheses Development
Managers’ effectiveness has been deﬁned as the impact of managers on the ﬂuent
functioning of an organization [
]. They can manage effective performance by using
optimal acquisition and utilization of internal and external resources, i.e., human, ﬁnancial,
and instrumental resources. Since the managerial role is crucial in obtaining effective
workﬂow and outcomes, this study was focused on managers’ perspectives.
Managers have different needs depending on their status [
]. Most often, the struc-
ture of managers in an organization consists of three levels [
]. The ﬁrst one is top
management which assumes top managers with most power, authority, and responsibil-
ity. The managers at this level deﬁne the company’s strategy, vision, and mission. They
represent the company externally and visualize and deﬁne the company’s future. Top
management is also responsible for dealing with the groups or individuals who may have
different interests or intentions that do not have to align with the company’s interests.
Their role is to unite or convince them that the interest of the organization stands above
everything and is not in conﬂict with their actions [
]. The second level, namely middle
management, is the one that sets the goals to achieve the organization’s strategy. Middle
managers are tasked with communicating and implementing the plan received from top
]. They indicate organizational roles, and they work mainly with the low
management. Thus, they rarely have contact with ﬁrst-line workers. [
]. At the lowest
level of the managerial hierarchy, lower-level managers usually have the most direct and
frequent contact with front-line employees. As a result, low managers can signiﬁcantly
impact work effectiveness [
] since they operate and plan in the short term. They usually
do not have the power to implement their own initiatives that can change the strategic
]. Nevertheless, to ensure the stable functioning of the organization in unstable
circumstances (e.g., at the time of the pandemic), they play a crucial role as ﬁrst-line leaders.
Therefore, the main objective of our study was the assessment of how managers with
direct contact with subordinates (i.e., low- and middle-level managers) perceived work
The environment in which an organization ﬁnds itself is volatile, and managers at
all levels should be open to change. Increased performance and job satisfaction from
the perspective of individual employees are reported in trade journals [
] and academic
]. However, the relationship between remote working and performance has
not been well established from the managers’ perspective [
]. Virtual work-
ing, including working from home, comprises different beneﬁts, e.g., saving time and
other expenses, integrating the work of specialized employees, and expanding external
co-operation. There is abundant research on the beneﬁts and limitations of remote work-
]. The most common beneﬁts include no commuting, reduced distraction, work–life
balance and increased work ﬂexibility, creativity, and motivation [
]. In addition, many
studies have shown increased productivity [
]. Research indicates that proximity to
co-workers often leads to wasted time and decreased productivity. The increased efﬁciency
of employees in remote working is due to the lack of distractions present in the ofﬁce [
On the other hand, employees indicate that the most signiﬁcant disadvantage of remote
work is the lack of non-work-related contacts [
], even though they can contact others via
information and communication technologies (ICTs) [
]. Although Gibbs, Mengel, and
] emphasized that productivity depended on the worker’s characteristics, and
measured employee productivity, the employees were able to maintain similar or slightly
lower levels of output during work from home. Besides its positive aspects [
research indicated a number of challenges generated by remote work, such as work–home
interference, ineffective communication, procrastination, and loneliness.
As mentioned above, there are many advantages of remote forms of performing job
duties, and several limitations that result in work outcomes and collaboration [
responsibility of managing the remote work of employees rests with managers, partic-
ularly ﬁrst-line managers and team leaders. Therefore, we assumed that the perceived
effectiveness of remote work was connected with the experienced beneﬁts and limitations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 15326 3 of 11
(cf. Hypothesis 1). Moreover, different management levels, i.e., middle- and lower-level
managers, might perceive remote work differently (cf. Hypothesis 2).
Hypothesis 1: The perceived beneﬁts, limitations, and frequency of remote work are related to the
remote work effectiveness perceived by lower-level and middle-level managers.
The perceived remote working conditions differ between lower-level and middle-level
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Participants and Procedure
To evaluate the effectiveness of remote work, we recruited employees from one of the
largest enterprises in Poland. The companies that provided data belong to one of Poland’s
largest capital groups in the energy sector. The survey covered the executive staff of three
companies employing 234 middle- and lower-level managers (68 women and 166 men). A
total of 29% were middle-level managers. The survey mainly addressed managers who
had worked remotely/hybrid since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two of the
three companies surveyed previously could use remote working, but no more than two
days per month. One company did not have remote working in operation. A vast majority
of the managers were college-educated employees. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,
all companies included in the survey had started remote working with the possibility of
hybrid working. In the interests of employees, it was recommended that all individuals
who were able to perform their duties (i.e., had the appropriate equipment) and agreed to
work remotely took advantage of this opportunity.
We focused explicitly on the management staff during recruitment, i.e., department
executives. Overall, the sample comprised 141 participants, including 18.7% middle man-
agement and 81.3% lower management. A total of 71% of participants were male, which
reﬂects a male predominance in the real structure of the labor market and the share of
males in the total number of employed managers in Poland [
]. All respondents were
highly skilled and educated, mainly in the engineering ﬁeld.
This cross-sectional study was based on anonymized employee data selected from the
organizational resources. No person-related data were collected to ensure the anonymity
of the study. The respondents received a link that directed them to the survey located on
the company intranet. Participation was voluntary and free of charge. The participants
were informed of the voluntary nature of participation in the study and the anonymity of
data collection, i.e., their data would be analyzed collectively, and no personal information
would be shared. They were assured that there were no wrong answers and that all of their
opinions were important. Prior to participation, the respondents provided oral consent
to participate in the study and were informed about the possibility of withdrawing from
the study. All employees were aged 18 or older and completed their duties remotely from
Work effectiveness was assessed with three items related to different remote work
effectiveness dimensions, i.e., the respondents were asked to assess the effectiveness of their
own work, of the team, and of the co-operation with other business areas. All items required
the participants to rate the extent to which they perceived work effectiveness (sample
question: “Taking everything into consideration, how do you rate your work effectiveness
as a whole?”) in all dimensions using a 5-point scale from 1 (ineffective) to 5 (very effective).
Each dimension contained one-item measures. Using single-item measures is effective
and more favorable in some respects than using multiple-item measures [
]; e.g., single-
item measures are easier to understand by management, are completed more quickly, and
require less effort. Higher scores indicated a higher level of perceived effectiveness in each
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 15326 4 of 11
dimension. The reliability of the scale comprising all three items in the current study was
considered good, with Cronbach’s α= 0.8.
Beneﬁts were measured using the one-item scale to assess perceived advantages of
remote work with multiple-choice answers (sample categories: possibility to gain technical
skills, on-task concentration, organized home life, and work economy). The list of chosen
beneﬁts was evaluated in terms of subjective fulﬁllment of criteria for remote working
beneﬁts by using competent judges. Beneﬁts were deﬁned as positive aspects, advantages,
or proﬁts gained from remote work. We asked ﬁve professionals, who were psychologists
and managers, to evaluate the set of beneﬁts on a 5-point scale (1 = does not refer to
the dimension; 5 = fully refers to the dimension) and inspected the judges’ congruency
concerning individual ratings (congruency index = 0.95). The ten beneﬁts of remote work
were positively veriﬁed by all ﬁve judges and were included in the study. The respondents
reported the perceived beneﬁts by checking them on a prepared list. The sum of selected
beneﬁts indicated the level of perceived beneﬁts gained from remote work. In other words,
a higher score indicated a larger number of beneﬁts of remote work.
Limitations were measured with multiple-choice answers using a three-item scale
assessing three dimensions of perceived disadvantages of remote work (i.e., organizational,
technical, and social limitations). Limitations were deﬁned as work aspects that limit
the quality or achievement during remote work. The given limitations were veriﬁed by
competent judges (congruency index = 0.93) and were introduced to the study. The overall-
limitations measure was obtained by summing reported limitations from the possible ten
statements which tap the various remote job facet (e.g., organizational, technical, and social
issues). Higher scores indicated a higher level of limitations of remote work. The reliability
of the scale comprising all three items in the current study was satisfying, Cronbach’s
The respondents indicated the number of days of remote work per week to gain
satisfactory team effectiveness, and the number of days of remote work per week to gain
satisfactory management effectiveness. They rated on a scale between one to ﬁve working
Table 1displays means, standard deviations, and correlations for the study variables.
Table 1. Means (M), standard deviations (SD), and correlations between study variables.
Variable M SD 12345678910
1. Position a— — —
2. Online_leader 3.31 1.24 −0.12 —
3. Online_team 3.31 1.22 −0.11 0.87 *** —
4. Beneﬁts 0.35 0.13 −0.23 * 0.22 * 0.20 * —
5. Limitations 0.26 0.13 0.12 −0.30 *** −0.43 *** −0.07 —
6. Limit_org 0.23 0.16 0.01 −0.22 ** −0.33 *** −0.04 0.76 *** —
7. Limit_tech 0.33 0.19 0.08 −0.26 ** −0.34 *** −0.05 0.82 *** 0.48 *** —
8. Limit_soc 0.23 0.17 0.20 * −0.21 * −0.32 *** −0.09 0.74 *** 0.34 *** 0.39 *** —
9. Effect_leader 4.26 0.75 −0.28* 0.54 *** 0.51 *** 0.29 *** −0.32 *** −0.21 * −0.25 ** −0.28 *** —
10. Effect_team 4.16 0.76 −0.13 0.50 *** 0.55 *** 0.10 −0.36 *** −0.25 ** −0.35 *** −0.22 ** 0.70 —
11. Effect_co 3.96 0.81 −0.08 0.49 *** 0.54 *** 0.31 *** −0.39 *** −0.31 ** −0.36 *** −0.24 *** 0.53 0.17 ***
Notes. Limit_org—limitations in the organizational dimension; Limit_tech—limitations in the technical dimension;
Limit_soc—limitations in the social dimension; Online_leader—number of days of remote work to maintain high
management effectiveness (per week); Online_team—number of days of remote work to maintain high team
effectiveness (per week); Effect_leader—leader effectiveness; Effect_team—team effectiveness; Effect_co—external
Position is dummy-coded (1 = middle-level manager, 0 = lower-level manager);
*p< 0.05; ** p< 0.01; *** p< 0.001.
The management position (i.e., lower-level and middle-level management) was nega-
tively related to the perceived beneﬁts (p
0.05) and work effectiveness (p
positively associated with social limitations (p≤0.05).
In the ﬁrst step, a regression analytical procedure was conducted to test the interaction
between remote work conditions, i.e., beneﬁts, limitations, online working frequency, and
remote work effectiveness (cf., hypothesis 1). The regression model explained 37% of the
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 15326 5 of 11
variance in managers’ effectiveness (F(2, 134) = 17.94, p< 0.001), 31% of the variance in team
effectiveness (F(2, 134) = 15.89, p< 0.001), and 37% of the variance in external co-operation
efﬁcacy (F(2, 134) = 13.45, p< 0.001). The managers’ position was dummy-coded and
contrasted with “lower-level managers” and “middle-level managers”. The results are
given in Table 2.
Table 2. Hierarchical linear regression of three aspects of remote work effectiveness.
Predictor Leader Effectiveness Team Effectiveness Co-Operation
B t B t B t
Position a−0.15 −2.10 * −0.05 −0.73 0.03 0.47
Beneﬁts 0.14 1.99 * −0.01 −0.19 0.22 3.11 **
Limits_org −0.03 −0.37 −0.01 −0.17 −0.08 −0.99
Limits_tech −0.05 −0.60 −0.20 −2.29 * −0.18 −2.21 **
Limits_soc −0.11 −1.39 −0.01 −0.01 −0.01 −0.09
Online_leader 0.34 2.90 ** −0.14 1.02 0.09 0.70 *
Online_team 0.08 0.62 0.33 2.33 * 0.32 2.36 *
F 17.94 *** 15.89 *** 13.45 ***
R20.37 0.31 0.37
Adj. R20.33 0.28 0.33
Notes. Limit_org—limitations in the organizational dimension; Limit_tech—limitations in the technical dimension;
Limit_soc—limitations in the social dimension; Online_leader—number of days of remote work to maintain
high management effectiveness (per week); Online_team—number of days of remote work to maintain high
team effectiveness (per week);
Position is dummy-coded (1 = middle-level manager, 0 = middle-level manager);
*p< 0.05; ** p< 0.01; *** p< 0.001.
Table 2shows the regression analysis of the relationship between dependent variables,
i.e., manager effectiveness, team effectiveness, co-operation effectiveness, and predictors.
Leader effectiveness was negatively related to a managerial position. The managers’
position was dummy-coded (0 = lower-level management; 1 = middle-level management).
As shown in Table 2, middle-level managers perceived the effectiveness of their work as
0.15, p< 0.05). Positive relationships were observed between the perceived
beneﬁts of remote work (
=0.14; p< 0.05), online working days (
=0.34; p< 0.01),
and managers’ effectiveness. The same regression analyses were conducted for team
effectiveness and relations with the external environment. Team effectiveness perceived
by managers was negatively related to the experienced technological limits during remote
0.20; p< 0.05) and positively related to the number of online working days
= 0.33; p< 0.05). The results showed that co-operation effectiveness was negatively
related to the perceived technological limitations (
0.18, p< 0.01), positively associated
with the perceived beneﬁts (
= 0.22, p< 0.01), and positively associated with the frequency
of remote work of managers (β= 0.09, p< 0.05) and the team (β= 0.32, p< 0.05).
Secondly, we assessed the signiﬁcance of mean differences in remote work conditions
perceived by lower-level and middle-level managers (cf. hypothesis 2). The scores were
normalized to a 0 to 1 range. We applied a Mann-Whitney U test that showed signiﬁcant
differences in the level of the perceived beneﬁts of remote work between these groups
U = 642.50,
p= 0.04). Middle-level managers perceived lower beneﬁts (M= 0.29) compared
to lower-level managers (M= 0.38). Analyzing the online work limitations, we found
signiﬁcant differences in the level of social limits (U = 1138, p= 0.02) and work effectiveness,
(U = 519, p= 0.02) between the groups. Middle-level managers reported a higher level of
social limits (M= 0.30) compared to the lower-level managers (M= 0.22). However, lower-
level managers assumed themselves as more effective (M= 4.37) compared to middle-level
managers (M= 3.95).
Based on the Mann-Whitney U test results, Figures 1and 2present the beneﬁts and
limitations perceived by the analyzed groups in more detail. The p-value demonstrates
signiﬁcant means differences between the low- and middle-level management.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 15326 6 of 11
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, x FOR PEER REVIEW 6 of 12
Secondly, we assessed the significance of mean differences in remote work conditions
perceived by lower-level and middle-level managers (cf. hypothesis 2). The scores were
normalized to a 0 to 1 range. We applied a Mann-Whitney U test that showed significant
differences in the level of the perceived benefits of remote work between these groups (U
= 642.50, p = 0.04). Middle-level managers perceived lower benefits (M = 0.29) compared
to lower-level managers (M = 0.38). Analyzing the online work limitations, we found
significant differences in the level of social limits (U = 1138, p = 0.02) and work
effectiveness, (U = 519, p = 0.02) between the groups. Middle-level managers reported a
higher level of social limits (M = 0.30) compared to the lower-level managers (M = 0.22).
However, lower-level managers assumed themselves as more effective (M = 4.37)
compared to middle-level managers (M = 3.95).
Based on the Mann-Whitney U test results, Figures 1 and 2 present the benefits and
limitations perceived by the analyzed groups in more detail. The p-value demonstrates
significant means differences between the low- and middle-level management.
Figure 1. Remote work benefits perceived by lower- and middle-level managers. Notes. * p < 0.05;
** p < 0.01.
Remote work beneﬁts perceived by lower- and middle-level managers. Notes. * p< 0.05; **
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, x FOR PEER REVIEW 7 of 12
Figure 2. Remote work limitations, perceived by lower- and middle-level managers. Notes. * p <
0.05; ** p < 0.01; *** p < 0.001; + p < 0.10.
We further tested the relation between the specified benefits (i.e., on-task
concentration), limitations (i.e., lack of rules, decreased work productivity, poor
communication), and perceived work effectiveness that significantly differentiated
managers on different management levels. A Mann-Whitney U test showed that the
communication issue and perceived own work effectiveness revealed a differential
pattern (U = 1993.50, p = 0.02). In other words, managers who reported poorer
communication as a limitation of remote working had a lower level of the perceived own
work effectiveness than those who indicated no communication issues. A significant
difference was observed in work effectiveness referring to perceived productivity (U =
1882.50, p = 0.001). A lower level of managers’ effectiveness was shown in managers who
experienced lower productivity.
Although the lack of rules did not significantly differentiate own work effectiveness,
the perceived effectiveness of co-operation with the environment was significantly
different for managers who “suffered” more from a lack of rules than those who did not
complain (U = 1099, p = 0.03).
On-task concentration reported by managers was significant in differentiating their
work effectiveness (U = 1475, p = 0.001) indicating that managers who reported on-task
concentration as a remote work benefit perceived better work effectiveness.
The COVID-19 virus outbreak has made many people work from home on an
unprecedented scale, especially in business sectors where employees had not had an
opportunity to work remotely before. Consequently, we argued the necessity of
conducting research to confirm the effectiveness of remote work in this unique context,
particularly from the managers’ perspective.
First, we examined the role of the perceived benefits, limitations, and online working
frequency in maintaining high work effectiveness in three dimensions (i.e., manager,
team, and external collaboration levels). Our findings showed benefits as significant
predictors of perceived manager and co-operation effectiveness. The more benefits
managers reported, the more effective they felt at work. Therefore, activating the available
Remote work limitations, perceived by lower- and middle-level managers. Notes. * p< 0.05;
** p< 0.01; *** p< 0.001; + p< 0.10.
We further tested the relation between the speciﬁed beneﬁts (i.e., on-task concentra-
tion), limitations (i.e., lack of rules, decreased work productivity, poor communication),
and perceived work effectiveness that signiﬁcantly differentiated managers on different
management levels. A Mann-Whitney U test showed that the communication issue and
perceived own work effectiveness revealed a differential pattern (U = 1993.50, p= 0.02).
In other words, managers who reported poorer communication as a limitation of remote
working had a lower level of the perceived own work effectiveness than those who indi-
cated no communication issues. A signiﬁcant difference was observed in work effectiveness
referring to perceived productivity (U = 1882.50, p= 0.001). A lower level of managers’
effectiveness was shown in managers who experienced lower productivity.
Although the lack of rules did not signiﬁcantly differentiate own work effectiveness,
the perceived effectiveness of co-operation with the environment was signiﬁcantly different
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 15326 7 of 11
for managers who “suffered” more from a lack of rules than those who did not complain
(U = 1099, p= 0.03).
On-task concentration reported by managers was signiﬁcant in differentiating their
work effectiveness (U = 1475, p= 0.001) indicating that managers who reported on-task
concentration as a remote work beneﬁt perceived better work effectiveness.
The COVID-19 virus outbreak has made many people work from home on an unprece-
dented scale, especially in business sectors where employees had not had an opportunity
to work remotely before. Consequently, we argued the necessity of conducting research
to conﬁrm the effectiveness of remote work in this unique context, particularly from the
First, we examined the role of the perceived beneﬁts, limitations, and online working
frequency in maintaining high work effectiveness in three dimensions (i.e., manager, team,
and external collaboration levels). Our ﬁndings showed beneﬁts as signiﬁcant predictors of
perceived manager and co-operation effectiveness. The more beneﬁts managers reported,
the more effective they felt at work. Therefore, activating the available strengths of remote
work empowers organizational resources and work effectiveness. Available communica-
tion devices allow quicker performance of the tasks e.g., organizing and attending work
meetings online is faster and easier compared to organizing face-to-face contacts [
relationship mainly concerns lower-level managers. From the managers’ perspective, the
beneﬁts were not as important in predicting the team’s effectiveness. The results indicated
signiﬁcant relationships between technical limitations and effective remote work in team
and external collaboration. Technical issues were perceived as lowering work effectiveness,
independently of the manager’s management level (i.e., middle-level and lower-level).
Further analysis demonstrated the differences in the perception of work effectiveness
among managers at different levels of management (i.e., lower-level and middle-level
management). In the context of remote working introduced on such a large scale during the
COVID-19 pandemic, our ﬁndings highlight that, on the one hand, increased effectiveness
and perceived beneﬁts can be observed. On the other hand, they are not at the same level
depending on the management role connected with social interactions.
Our ﬁndings offer managers a new lens to view the advantages/disadvantages of
working from home. Generally, employees’ lack of social interactions is perceived as a
]. Nevertheless, this study proposes an alternative view of telecommuting
that can boost performance as a result of improving technical support and minimalizing
unnecessary distractions. Although, Allen, Golden, and Shockley [
] emphasized that
social relationships at work can suffer as a result of excessive remote work, and care
should be taken to properly manage the negative effects of weakened relationships be-
tween employees. We cannot lead to workplace loneliness which can result in lower job
] as a result of informal interactions and a team cohesion decrease [
The results showed that the possibility of concentration on the task was evaluated higher
by lower-level managers. Work that requires more on-task concentration and problem-
solving is done more preferably at home, with signiﬁcantly fewer distractions [
mentioned before, lower-level managers have more frequent contact with employees than
higher-level managers, and recent research suggests that calls between remote workers are
more task-focused and less distracted [
]. Consequently, referring to perceived remote
work limitations, organizational issues (e.g., lack of rules), and social issues (i.e., lower
productivity and ineffective communication with employees) signiﬁcantly differentiated
the managers at different managerial levels. The middle-level managers suffered more
from the speciﬁc remote work limitations.
By identifying differences in the managerial levels in the perceived beneﬁts and
limitations, our ﬁndings shed light on a speciﬁc explanation as to why remote working is
perceived more favorably by lower-level managers. Therefore, our empirical studies on how
social implications of remote working can affect work effectiveness [
] indicated that a lack
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 15326 8 of 11
of distractions can increase workers’ effectiveness while working from home. We do not
argue that the effectiveness of the remote mode is only due to employees’ lack of distraction
in the home ofﬁce. The perceived beneﬁts and technological issues are also related to
work effectiveness. An understanding of how managers perceive remote work and its
effectiveness at different managerial levels and the discrepancy in the perception of beneﬁts
and limitations is crucial for understanding remote work effectiveness, especially since
remote working offers indisputable convenience, which will contribute to its expansiveness
in the organizational setting compared to the pre-COVID-19 level.
4.1. Limitations and Direction for Further Research
Despite the contributions we make, this study is not without limitations. First, our
research did not explore the employees’ perspective or objective internal performance or
work characteristics. Nonetheless, the managerial perspective is relatively rarely analyzed.
Future research could explore how employee attributes and other factors such as personality
or stress may shape the effectiveness of working online. Second, the sample size was
comparatively small, with a male predominance, which limits the generalizability of the
ﬁndings and the opportunity to explore other moderating mechanisms. Nevertheless,
the sample provided sufﬁcient statistical power to test the hypothesized relations. Next,
our study was designed as cross-sectional. Considering the speciﬁcity of the sample and
contextual conditions (i.e., pandemic), the cross-sectional design seemed reasonable and
indicated the most signiﬁcant relations. Finally, we used self-reported measures that are
often the only possible way to examine one’s own perspective, such as self-perceived
effectiveness in a speciﬁc context [
]. Nonetheless, there is still the need to use objective
methods and include the employees’ perspective in the study. Using objective information
(e.g., Key Performance Indicators or Return on Investment) could help solve this potential
bias in the data in a future study.
Remote working in Poland is relatively new and introducing it on a such signiﬁcant
scale might provide unique experiences. Little is known about both direct and ripple effects
that can bring us a widespread shift to remote work. Additionally, it would be useful to
analyze the further relationship between social interactions and effectiveness by using
objective measures. Further research requires more information concerning working online
from a leader’s perspective. Longitudinal research would be necessary to demonstrate the
development and changes of home ofﬁce effects. Although the consideration of a leader’s
perspective has given us new insights, avoiding a biased managerial perception of remote
working as less effective is helpful. A more speciﬁc analysis of job characteristics and
effectiveness can reveal conditions that are advantageous for employers and employees.
Further interaction effects between remote work and HRM policies, as well as between
social interactions, should be studied.
This study was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic for the ﬁrst time. In order
to rule out the impact of pandemic stress and its effect on effectiveness, it is necessary to
repeat the study after the epidemiological threat has ceased. If home-ofﬁce information on
a management level is available, and if a comparison during and after the coronavirus crisis
is possible, we can learn whether COVID-19 has contributed to a substantial structural
Other constraints that can affect leaders and managers are those that also can be
connected with the issues that are familiar from the perspective of employees. One such
constraint, for instance, might be the low turnover and the intensity of hiring, which
was limited. In the case of employees, a decline in efﬁciency can be observed, which
could be partly traced to having less experience, lower tenure, or being in the process of
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 15326 9 of 11
4.2. Practical Implications
This study provides meaningful implications for practitioners. First, our research
suggests that effectiveness can be increased by managing remote work effectively and
implementing HR policies to strengthen the beneﬁts of remote work and minimalize
shortcomings, mainly in technical dimensions (e.g., poor quality of internet connections,
multiple communication channels), while organizations can set hybrid working from
home and observe changes in the managerial perception. However, organizations may
inﬂuence the supportive practices that come to managers of all levels. Employers can offer
training on improving their managing skills in remote environments. Some researchers
suggest that consideration should be given to the individual adjustment of work conditions
(e.g., less disciplined employees might experience more challenges during remote working).
Therefore, offering them online work would be unsuccessful .
Researchers emphasize the great role of managers and leaders in practicing working
from home. They are ought to provide adequate support in response to the needs of
employees with different challenges [
]. Otherwise, remote working might turn out to
be ineffective causing problems such as a longer time spent on projects, difﬁculties with
training, onboarding issues, etc. We can observe that, from a management point of view,
working from home reached the highest level of productivity in COVID-19 and stabilized,
but this situation might not be sustainable .
The main concern, from a managerial perspective, often suggested about working
from home is a decrease in effectiveness [
]. Thus, it can have a negative effect on how
they operate at different levels of management. This study contributes to clarifying this
issue and gaining a better understanding of the sources of perceived effectiveness from the
perspective of managers and leaders. It can have a positive impact on the level of employees’
commitment and dedication to their companies, resulting in higher effectiveness .
Without a doubt, remote work has become an inherent work system, and the challenge
today is to maintain or indicate maximum efﬁciency. Undoubtedly, the best solution is to
introduce hybrid work and combine remote work with ofﬁce work [
]. It is necessary to
take a closer look at the characteristics of the job in question and put in place solutions to
perform tasks at their best, depending on whether it is more efﬁcient to do them at home or
in the ofﬁce. So far, we know that some work is done effectively at home, while other work
is better done at the ofﬁce.
This study contributes to understanding how remote working inﬂuences effectiveness
from the managers’ perspective. While previous research has recognized that working
online may be more effective, the role of managers has received less attention, both theoret-
ically and empirically. Generally, managers view remote working as resulting in decreased
performance and lower managerial control [
]. Our study suggests that the more bene-
ﬁts managers perceive, the more effective their work is assessed in different dimensions
(i.e., manager, team, external co-operation). Moreover, the results indicated the difference
in remote work perception depending on the management level (i.e., lower-level and
middle-level management). Managers who have more contact with employees are more
aware of the beneﬁts of working remotely. Accordingly, the perceived beneﬁts are related
to a higher level of reported work effectiveness.
Conceptualization, G.K. and K.´
S.; Formal analysis, K.´
S.; Investigation, G.K.;
Methodology, G.K. and K. ´
S.; Project administration, G.K.; Resources, G.K. and K.´
S.; Software, G.K.;
S.; Visualization, G.K. and K.´
S.; Writing–original draft, G.K. and K.´
and editing, K.´
S. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.
Funding: This research received no external funding.
Institutional Review Board Statement:
The current study was approved by the Research Ethics
Committee, decision no. KEUS.67/11.2020.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022,19, 15326 10 of 11
Informed Consent Statement:
Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the
Data Availability Statement: All necessary data samples are provided in the paper.
Conﬂicts of Interest: The authors declare no conﬂict of interest.
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