Integrating push–pull dynamics for understanding the association between boundary control and work outcomes in the context of mandatory work from home

Michal Biron, Keren Turgeman-Lupo, Oz Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Much of what we know about work from home (WFH) is based on data collected in routine times, where WFH is applied on a partial and voluntary basis. This study leverages the conditions of mandatory WFH imposed by COVID-19 lockdowns to shed new light on factors that relate to well-being and performance among employees who WFH. Specifically, the authors explore how boundary control and push–pull factors (constraints and benefits that employees associate with WFH) interact to shape employees' exhaustion and goal setting/prioritization. Design/methodology/approach: Surveys were administered in Israel and in the USA to 577 employees in “teleworkable” roles who were mandated to WFH shortly after the COVID-19 outbreak (March–April 2020). Findings: (1) Boundary control is negatively related to exhaustion and positively related to goal setting/prioritization. (2) These associations are weakened by perceptions of high WFH constraints (push factors). (3) WFH benefits (pull factors) attenuate the moderating effect of WFH constraints. Practical implications: Organizations may benefit from identifying and boosting the saliency of WFH benefits, while considering and remedying WFH constraints. Originality/value: The authors contribute theoretically by integrating push–pull factors into the discussion about WFH and boundary management. We also make a contextual contribution by drilling down into the specificities of nonvoluntary WFH. The expected upward trends in nonvoluntary WFH rates underscore the need to understand factors that improve outcomes among individuals who lack agency in the decision to WFH.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Manpower
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.

Keywords

  • Boundary control
  • COVID-19
  • Employee agency
  • Mandatory work from home
  • Push–pull dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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