January 10, 2024

2:00 p.m. ET

This event is for current members of our Community of Scholars. Not yet a member? Join here: https://myumi.ch/dkxRG.

Scholar presenter:

Julia Coff, New York University

Seed generators:

Amy Wrzesniewski, University of Pennsylvania

Lindsey Cameron, University of Pennsylvania


Awakening to New Possibilities: Employee Responses to the COVID-Induced Transition to Remote Work

Talk description:

For many knowledge workers, COVID-19 catalyzed a profound and collective discontinuity in their experience of work. This widespread transition to remote work stands in juxtaposition to the more localized or individualized patterns of uptake that characterized remote work adoption in the past. This difference is meaningful because such transitions can create an opportunity to compare the past and present, prompt scrutiny of prior ways of working, and inspire a sense of new possibilities for the organization of work. In this first phase of a two-part interview study, I examine the effects of the collective transition from working in the office to working remotely on employees’ experience of work. I ask: how did the collective transition to remote work influence employee perceptions of the co-located office, and with what consequences for their conception of the future of their work and careers? I gather qualitative data through 46 interviews with knowledge workers whose organizations transitioned to remote work in the wake of COVID-19. Iterative, inductive analysis of the resulting data indicated that, afforded the opportunity to compare ways of working, interviewees began to question some previously taken-for-granted aspects of their organizations. I will discuss some of the interviewees’ specific comparisons and realizations about the nature of their work and careers, as well as how these realizations may enable workers to imagine new possibilities for crafting their work and work-lives, in the future.

Research is the heart of Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS), and we want to make sure that we support each other in developing high quality research. To that end, we created the Adderley Positive Research Incubator for sharing and encouraging POS-related research ideas that are at various stages of development.

Learn more about the Adderley Positive Research Incubators here and direct questions about individual sessions to cpo-events@umich.edu.