Workplace Arrangements

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As with all of my guides, these resources are just initial suggestions meant to get you started. Search widely to gather enough information for your recommendations!


Articles in journals, magazines, and newspapers

A. Start with this rough exploratory search in Business Source Complete.

Try adding additional terms (e.g., productiv* to catch both productivity and productive or flexib* to catch flexibility and flexible work arrangements) to limit that broad search, or limit your search to Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals.

For more targeted searches, try combinations of the terms listed below.

  • Telecommuting
  • Teleconferencing
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Videoconferencing
  • Computer conferencing
  • Home labor
  • Industrial productivity
  • Working hours
  • Work-life balance
  • Quality of work life
  • Home offices
  • Virtual offices
  • Virtual work teams
  • For a more Canadian perspective, try CBCA Complete and look for articles using the same terms (as keywords rather than subjects) that you used in Business Source Complete.
  • And, since this topic has some strong HR/OB aspects to it, and much of HR/OB overlaps with applied psychology, you might want to try our PsycINFO database. Start with this rough search.


TIP: Don't ignore older academic research! The context of earlier studies on things like flexible work arrangements and telecommuting is certainly different than we are experiencing today, but that doesn't automatically mean that the conclusions don't apply. Moreover, an older article may have been cited by newer articles on the same topic. For instance...

  • This article has been cited by 8 newer academic articles in Business Source Complete, and at least 55 times in the articles and books covered by Google Scholar.


B. Although remote work has been happening (and studied) for years, it's never been done at the scale it is now, plus the technology involved is changing quickly. This means that you need to be extra careful about applying old knowledge to your current case. It also means that news articles -- in which you can learn about the most recent studies, examples of initiatives at other firms, and changes in the broader regulatory environment -- are extra important to watch for.

  • And search for news around the world using our Factiva database. Factiva covers thousands of news publications, including articles from many business sources such as the Wall Street Journal.

Still with news sources, did you know that SFU now has complete access to the Financial Times? See, for instance, this recent FT article: "Why ‘hybrid’ working spells trouble for companies." For more from the FT, check out their "Return to the Office" series of articles, as well as their "Rebooting the Workplace" series.

A few more examples of news articles I've seen on this topic recently:

  • Another G&M article, this one from the midst of our current pandemic, mentions data on remote working within Metro Vancouver specifically.


Miscellaneous

1. Here are a few recent ebooks that came up in my initial search of the SFU Library catalogue:


2. Our Statista database is a great place to look for stats on topics such as remote work, telecommuting and "work from home".


3. Global Workplace Analytics is a "research-based consulting firm dedicated to preparing employers for future of work." They provide lots of statistics, tips, and reports.


4. Many consulting firms and think tanks offer insights on trends like this one. For example:


5. Going Remote Guide - Tips and links for both managers and employees on how to work remotely. Designed to support public service workers in the Canadian federal government, but relevant beyond that context. Note that the site is in a beta phase: check it regularly for new content.


6. You know how people sometimes say "There's an app for that!" in answer to any problem? The same goes for associations! There really is an association for almost any topic or industry. In this case, I'd suggestion checking out...


7. Fujitsu in Japan is going to permanently allow many of its employees to work from home, resulting in a 50% reduction of the office space used by the company. The original news story I found on this topic was interesting, but it took me just a couple minutes to find the more detailed press release from the company.


8. Canada's Information and Communications Technology Council has an interesting report on Loading the Future of Work


9. This is a bit random, but I noticed this really interesting statement from a firm (Stripe) about their experience enabling and supporting a remote work environment before the pandemic began. They've shared some interesting lessons with more detail than you typically get from a company.


10. As I'm sure you've figured out, this is a very hot topic these days, which means that new studies and new issues are popping up almost daily. Be sure to keep on top of the newest information -- you can be sure that your hypothetical audience is doing so! For example, here's an article that I read at the BBC site: The remote work experiment that upped productivity 13%. That article links out to an abstract of the original academic study, but you can click here to find the fulltext version via Business Source Complete.

  • Hmmmm... and I see that one of the papers that have cited the research above was another economics source, this time a working paper that touched on variations between types of work involved (doing R&D or exporting vs not) and between different industries.


11. I see that Harvard's Journalist's Resource site has produced a detailed summary of research on working from home, referring to studies on many aspects of this complex issue: Working from home: What the research says about setting boundaries, staying productive and reshaping cities. The same site also has this report: The inequality of telework: 5 studies you should know about.


12. The WSJ has a story that highlights many of the negative aspects of working from home... at least from the perspective of the businesses:


13. One last news story, this time from the Washington Post: Americans might never come back to the office, and Twitter is leading the charge. As always, look for any mentions of research or details on the examples that could apply to your case. Here's the same article via Factiva.


14. The latest HBR (Nov/Dec 2020) has a cover story that may be of interest:

  • Choudhury, P. (Raj). (2020). Our Work-from-Anywhere Future. Harvard Business Review, 98(6), 58–67.
  • HBR articles are available fulltext via our Business Source Complete database.
  • As always, try to find ways to use one article to find more articles. In this case, the author appears to be an expert in the area, so I did a quick bit of digging and found other articles by him on similar topics. For example, this HBS working paper.


<No further suggestions yet - but keep checking. Also, don't forget that this is your wiki: you are welcome to add any tips here whenever you'd like. --- MB>