Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Remote working and employee engagement: a qualitative study of British workers during the pandemic

Adisa, T.A., Ogbonnaya, C., Adekoya, O.D. (2021) Remote working and employee engagement: a qualitative study of British workers during the pandemic. Information Technology and People, . ISSN 0959-3845. (doi:10.1108/ITP-12-2020-0850) (KAR id:92858)


Purpose: Through the lens of Conservation of Resources (COR) theory, this study explores how remote working inhibits employee engagement. The authors offer a fresh perspective on the most salient work- and nonwork-related risk factors that make remote working particularly challenging in the context of Covid-19. Design/methodology/approach: The authors use data from semi-structured interviews with 32 employees working from home during the Covid-19 lockdown. Based on the interpretivist philosophical approach, the authors offer new insights into how employees can optimize work- and nonwork-related experiences when working remotely. Findings: The authors show that the sudden transition from in-person to online modes of working during the pandemic brought about work intensification, online presenteeism, employment insecurity and poor adaptation to new ways of working from home. These stress factors are capable of depleting vital social and personal resources, thereby impacting negatively on employee engagement levels. Practical implications: Employers, leaders and human resource teams should be more thoughtful about the risks and challenges employees face when working from home. They must ensure employees are properly equipped with the relevant resources and support to perform their jobs more effectively. Originality/value: While previous research has focused on the benefits of remote working, the current study explores how it might be detrimental for employee engagement during a pandemic. The study provides new evidence on the most salient risks and challenges faced by remote workers, and how the unique Covid-19 context has made them more pronounced. © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/ITP-12-2020-0850
Uncontrolled keywords: Remote working; employee engagement; COR Theory; Working from Home; Covid 19; Virtual Working
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Leadership and Management
Depositing User: Chidi Ogbonnaya
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2022 08:26 UTC
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2022 09:59 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.