Home Sweet Home…At Work?


Topic: Work-Life Balance
Publication: British Journal of Management
Article: Location, location, location: Does place of work really matter?
Author: T. Redman, E. Snape, C. Ashurst
Featured By: Benjamin Granger

Flexplace refers to an organizational policy that allows employees to work from a physical location other than the actual workplace (Wouldn’t it be nice!). Many employees who utilize this option work from home and much research has been directed at uncovering the benefits and pitfalls of working from home.

In general, there are two overarching views on the use of home-based work: The optimistic (e.g., promotes independent and empowered employees) and the pessimistic (e.g., makes employees vulnerable to exploitation by the organization) perspectives.

In the interest of comparing home-based and work-based employees, Redman, Snape, and Ashurst (2009) used survey data from 749 managerial and professional employees in the UK. Their aim was to discover whether work location matters when it comes to employee work attitudes and behaviors.

The Good News for Home-Work.
Overall, Redman and colleagues found more support for the optimistic view of home-working.  Specifically, working from home was associated with increased job and life satisfaction, perceptions of empowerment, and positive emotions in general. Moreover, employees working from home reported lower burnout, overall stress, and work-to-family conflict.

The Bad News for Home-Work.
Despite the good news for home-working, the authors identified two related disadvantages: Employees who worked from home perceived fewer available training and development opportunities and lower levels of career support from their organizations.

Overall, the findings of this study paint a rather optimistic picture of home-work. Working from home appears to have a favorable impact on employees’ job attitudes (with the exception of perceptions of career support). Based on Redman et al.’s results, organizations that offer home-work (flexplace) options to their employees are likely to be perceived as “family friendly” organizations, which can be a great employee recruiting and retention tool!

Redman, T., Snape, E., & Ashurst, C. (2009). Location, location, location: Does place of work really matter? British Journal of Management, 20, 171-181.