Where Are You Going, Work From Anywhere?: The Challenges of Remote Work Before and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

Where Are You Going, Work From Anywhere?: The Challenges of Remote Work Before and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

Helena Martins, Evangelia Maritsa, Elisabeth Rodrigues
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9840-5.ch011
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The onset of the virtual revolution and global working trend known as working from anywhere (WFA) potentiated by the bio event COVID-19 shifted not only the way we work but also the focus of research on this topic. This chapter aims to portray in a systemic way the researchers conducted before and after the bio event in a systematic way in order to create a research map of topics by having as reference point the outbreak of the pandemic and by using VOS Viewer software to illustrate the resulting clusters of topics around this reference point topics before and after the pandemic hit. Results indicate a clear difference between the two periods regarding the WFA research. Firstly, the number of papers published on this topic has increased significantly, and secondly, the types of topics approached seem to have become more focused. Main topics of research are discussed as a way to reflect on the challenges for theory and practice that are to come.
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The construct henceforth referred as WFA (work from anywhere) has been considered as an alternative way of organizing work and also as an unconventional way of being free to choose where to live regardless of where your workplace is; that has attracted the attention of both academics and practitioners (Nakrošienė, Bučiūnienė & Goštautaitė, 2019; Choudhury, Foroughi & Larson, 2020).

The widespread implementation of WFA has undoubtedly been made feasible by the accentuated development of digital technologies (Sako, 2021). Computers have become more inexpensive as well as more powerful; stable broadband internet has become widely available in most locations and advances in collaboration-oriented technologies such as video chat and cloud-based services have facilitated remote partnerships in a variety of knowledge work including research and development, marketing and product development (Sako, 2021).

In 2015, 37% of US workers were working from home (Gallup, 2015), whereas in the European Union this number was significantly lower (17%) (Eurofound and the International Labour Office, 2017). Given that the internet infrastructure in the EU was duly developed, the slower adoption of telework had been associated with organizational factors, such as lower trust of managers and workers needing to meet other people face-to-face (Eurofound, 2017; Vilhelmson and Thulin, 2016).

A number of multifaceted advantages and disadvantages and other implications of WFA for individuals, organizations and society have been previously studied (Perez Perez et al., 2003; Hill et al., 2010).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Boolean Equation: The string of words used to conduct a literature or bibliometric search, typically separated by connectors like “AND,” “OR,” and “NOT.”

Job Satisfaction: How much a person enjoys the work they are engaged in. This construct is multidimensional and includes intrinsic factors (how much a person is satisfied with the tasks they are doing, the impact they have in the community, etc.) as well as extrinsic factors (e.g., satisfaction with salary, career perspectives, etc.).

Work From Anywhere (WFA): Work that can be conducted without the need to be in a specific location, usually enabled by the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

Tattleware: Subreptitious software that is used specifically to spy on/control remote workers, collecting and reporting activities conducted by workers to their supervisors.

Work-Life Balance: The ability to harmonize tasks, responsibilities, and commitments from work as well as other aspects of life, including family, health, social, etc.

Telehealth: The provision of health-related services that is not conducted in a face to face setting, that may include medical doctor appointments, psychotherapy, physical therapy, and other interventions.

Remote Learning: The conduction of pedagogical activities that is not presential and typically includes the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

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