The Effects of Telecommuting Support on Employee Work and Well-Being Outcomes During the COVID-19 Lockdown Period in New Zealand
Across the globe, much of the world’s workforce has embraced working from home or telecommuting due to the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns. However, much of the research on telecommuting is based on the context that most workers are not telecommuting, and those that are telecommuting, are doing so for some special reason or with special permission. Hence, there are unknowns around how firms support telecommuting and what effect this has on employees in a Covid-19 context where most people are telecommuting. In response to this unknown, the present study explores organisational support for telecommuting and tests its influence on employee job and well-being outcomes. In addition, two moderators are included: (1) the job changes driven by Covid-19 as a relevant contextual factor, and (2) the role that sector plays, with expectations that public sector employees will be better supported. Overall, hypotheses are tested using two samples of New Zealand employees from just after lockdown: (1) N=446 employees and (2) N=357 employees. In study two, organisational-based self-esteem is included as a mediator to provide additional insights. Overall, findings show consistent telecommuting support effects, positively related to job satisfaction, work engagement, happiness, and work-life balance. Telecommuting support is also negatively related to turnover intentions, job anxiety, and job depression. Several significant moderation effects are found – especially in sample one – supporting the notion that public sector workers (in particular) do best, especially when Covid-19 job changes are low. The implications for organisations and Human Resource Management are discussed.