Trait optimism and work from home adjustment in the COVID-19 pandemic: Considering the mediating role of situational optimism and the moderating role of cultural optimism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

An organization’s capacity to sustain a crisis, and to benefit from work-from-home (WFH) arrangements in routine times, is dependent on its employees’ ability to successfully adjust to WFH conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic, which forced vast numbers of employees worldwide to WFH, provides an unprecedented opportunity to identify factors that facilitate WFH adjustment. Leveraging this opportunity and drawing from theories on person-environment fit and work adjustment, we consider trait optimism as a possible facilitator of WFH adjustment during the pandemic. We further investigate how situational optimism and cultural (country-level) optimism contribute to the relationship between trait optimism and WFH adjustment. Using data from 388 employees in five countries, we find that trait optimism positively relates to WFH adjustment. This relationship is partly mediated by situational expectations regarding health/financial benefits of WFH amid the pandemic. Moreover, trait optimism is more strongly related to WFH adjustment in countries with high (vs. low) cultural optimism. This study addresses the call to investigate whether and how personality traits relate to WFH adjustment. Our findings can improve organizations’ ability to select and train employees who WFH, and to enhance operational resilience to future crises. Managers in global firms can draw from our results to understand how cultural differences affect the ease with which WFH is adopted, and to develop country-specific WFH practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9773
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume12
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Adjustment
  • COVID-19
  • Crises
  • Cross-culture
  • Optimism
  • Work from home

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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