The study, by the London School of Economics (LSE), said the benefits of working from home disappeared over time for employees and companies if it was a full-time arrangement.
“This study provides a glimpse into a future where flexible working could become business as usual. Whereas once people saw it as a favour and felt the need to reciprocate and give back more to the organisation, in this future they will not,” Esther Canonico, from the LSE’s department of management, told ‘The Times’
Her research discovered that too much home-working means that employees become just as unproductive as those in the office, with staff growing disgruntled about having to pay for extra for bills and missing out on office gossip.
As employees stop regarding working from home as a discretionary benefit or privilege, they start behaving accordingly and revert to “bad habits”.
“The study showed that some home working employees feel resentful that employers don’t pay utility bills or cover stationery costs, for example. Some managers feel home workers take advantage of the situation. If the company expects home workers to be a lot more productive or workers expect employers to give them a lot of flexibility and not have to reciprocate in kind, one or both are likely to be disappointed,” Canonico said.
Those at home every day also become “socially and professionally isolated”, increasingly feeling out of touch, losing confidence in their skills and no longer able to “accurately interpret and use information”.
Emails can be misinterpreted, whereas the signals are usually clear in a face-to-face meeting, the study found.