Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer unleashed a firestorm of criticism earlier this year when she ended employee telecommuting in the name of innovation.
Whether digital technology will help or hinder workplace insights remains a topic of ongoing debate.
FastCo.Design features insights from business scholars on both sides of the issue, drawing from a recent issue of the journal Computers in Human Behavior.
How it helps
Information access—Access to new and diverse information might spark an idea, and digital technology provides that access.
Job engagement—One way to enhance employee engagement may be by providing the type of flexible work arrangements facilitated by technology, including telecommuting.
Professional support—Since digital technology can improve social connections among colleagues, it may help create an encouraging environment that nurtures new insights into full-fledged innovations.
Personal connections—Not only can digital technology strengthen connections across the employee chain, but it can also reach up to supervisors, whose buy-in is often critical to implementation of an idea.
How it hinders
Information overload—Behavioral scientists remain split on whether or not a person can multitask efficiently in the face of digital technology. Some evidence says our computers spoil our attention; other research suggests we can adapt in time.
Job over-engagement—A study published last year found work-family conflicts were often linked to personal exhaustion and that this effect was worse for people who performed “extensive telework.”
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