Factors Influencing Adjustment to Remote Work: Employees' Initial Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jun 29;18(13):6966. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18136966.


The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted when, where, and how employees work. Drawing on a sample of 5452 Finnish employees, this study explores the factors associated with employees' abrupt adjustment to remote work. Specifically, this study examines structural factors (i.e., work independence and the clarity of job criteria), relational factors (i.e., interpersonal trust and social isolation), contextual factors of work (i.e., change in work location and perceived disruption), and communication dynamics (i.e., organizational communication quality and communication technology use (CTU)) as mechanisms underlying adjustment to remote work. The findings demonstrate that structural and contextual factors are important predictors of adjustment and that these relationships are moderated by communication quality and CTU. Contrary to previous research, trust in peers and supervisors does not support adjustment to remote work. We discuss the implications of these findings for practice during and beyond times of crisis.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; contextual factors; relational factors; remote work; structural factors; work adjustment.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • Organizations
  • Pandemics*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Workplace