Motivator-hygiene theory differentiates between motivating factors (motivators) and dissatisfying factors (hygienes). Factors that are motivators such as recognition and career advancement may be lessened with telework. When teleworkers are not physically present, they may be “out of sight, out of mind” to other workers in the office. Additionally, telework may not always be seen positively by management due to fear of loss of managerial control. A 2008 study found that more time spent telecommuting decreased the perception of productivity of the teleworker in the eyes of management. Hygiene factors, such as work conditions, may improve when teleworking such that teleworkers have the flexibility to work in a variety of locations. Thus, telework has different work motivating factors and dissatisfying factors than office work.
Managers may view the teleworker as experiencing a drop in productivity during the first few months. This drop occurs as "the employee, his peers, and the manager adjust to the new work regimen". The drop could also be due to inadequate office setup. Additionally, a 1999 study claimed that "70 minutes of each day in a regular office are wasted by interruptions, yakking around the photocopier, and other distractions". Over the long term, though, surveys found that productivity of the teleworker will climb; over two-thirds of employers report increased productivity among telecommuters, according to a 2008 survey. Traditional line managers are accustomed to managing by observation and not necessarily by results. This causes a serious obstacle in organizations attempting to adopt telecommuting. Liability and workers' compensation can become serious issues as well. Weaker relationships between job dimensions and job outcomes, such as job performance and absenteeism, may explain why the results regarding performance and telework are conflicting. Some studies have found that telework increases productivity in workers and leads to higher supervisor ratings of performance and higher performance appraisals. However, another study found that professional isolation in teleworkers led to a decrease in job performance, especially for those who spent more time teleworking and engaged in fewer face-to-face interactions. Thus, similar to job attitudes, the amount of time spent teleworking may also influence the relationship between telework and job performance.
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