The good, the bad, and the unknown about telecommuting: meta-analysis of psychological mediators and individual consequences

J Appl Psychol. 2007 Nov;92(6):1524-41. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.92.6.1524.


What are the positive and negative consequences of telecommuting? How do these consequences come about? When are these consequences more or less potent? The authors answer these questions through construction of a theoretical framework and meta-analysis of 46 studies in natural settings involving 12,883 employees. Telecommuting had small but mainly beneficial effects on proximal outcomes, such as perceived autonomy and (lower) work-family conflict. Importantly, telecommuting had no generally detrimental effects on the quality of workplace relationships. Telecommuting also had beneficial effects on more distal outcomes, such as job satisfaction, performance, turnover intent, and role stress. These beneficial consequences appeared to be at least partially mediated by perceived autonomy. Also, high-intensity telecommuting (more than 2.5 days a week) accentuated telecommuting's beneficial effects on work-family conflict but harmed relationships with coworkers. Results provide building blocks for a more complete theoretical and practical treatment of telecommuting.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Employment / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Personal Autonomy
  • User-Computer Interface*