Longing for the work community challenges the benefits of remote work
Studies have shown that remote work has many positive effects, ranging from work productivity to the experience of autonomy and the managing of work-life balance. However, building and maintaining workplace relationships are found to be more challenging in remote work. Respondents of our open-ended survey described during the first wave of Covid-restrictions in 2020 that longing for co-workers and workplace communication in remote work caused anxiety and feeling of loneliness. In particular, relational communication was experienced to have decreased in remote work. These experiences are reflected, among other things, in well-being at work, coping at work, and the fluency of cooperation.
Relational communication needs to be taken into account in remote work, especially when it is continuous. The importance of coffee breaks, humor and social support in the work community should not be forgotten, even if communication is technology-mediated. Utilizing the opportunities offered by technology, for example, in the form of virtual coffee breaks, plays a crucial role in ensuring that the benefits of workplace communication are also included in remote work.