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Measuring the Factors of Teleworking Productivity and Engagement in a New Reality of COVID-19: The Case of Austria, Germany and Russia

Vladimir Kim, Aislinn Coghlan, Christian Lüthje
This study examines the factors and developments of perceived engagement and productivity during global COVID-19 crisis in organizations across Germany, Austria and Russia. In particular, we examine the impact of such variables (and management practices) as supervisor support, team interaction and competence development during this unique situation, when virtually all employees across all industries and types of organizations in a short period of time have moved to work from home (WHM) format.
more » ... home (WHM) format. Given this unprecedent shift of WHM, it was important to understand not only which factors were most critical to engagement and productivity and how (direct and indirect effects), but also, if previous experience in WHM or management level is a critical differentiator in these relationships. Our study is based on a market research survey and the application of structural equations modelling SEM to define the system of causal paths. We have confirmed that engagement is positively and significantly linked to productivity. Isolation was found to be having a negative impact on productivity and no impact on engagement. Interestingly, in our study, and unlike in most studies, focusing on remote work practices, supervisor support was not playing any significant role to alleviate isolation or improve engagement or productivity. Yet, team interaction was found to have strong direct effect on productivity, an indirect via engagement and isolation. Competence development of employees is an important driver of engagement but has no immediate effect on productivity. We have not confirmed any hypothesis on differentiation between employees with significant previous experience in WHM and employee management level. Our study suggests that during such global shifts in work format, it is critical to ensure engagement level and to reduce the effects of isolation. To do so, the most effective tools to leverage are improving team interaction and competence development. Further studies would be recommended to understand why competence developmen [...]
doi:10.34726/hss.2020.81508 fatcat:brs27qnxavd6dolgcmcveogfai