University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business

Getting Away from Them All: Managing Exhaustion from Social Interaction with Telework
Jaime Windeler

Status: Published
Year: 2017
Publication Name: Journal of Organizational Behavior
Volume: Forthcoming, Page Number(s): 1-22


Drawing on the conservation of resources and recovery literatures, we examine how social job characteristics—interpersonal interaction, job interdependence, and external interaction—relate to work exhaustion. We then explore the efficacy of a part-time telework (PTT) practice in alleviating work exhaustion associated with social interaction. Study 1 is a within-subject assessment of work exhaustion before and after a PTT practice; participants are 51 information technology professionals in a financial services firm. Study 2 is a between-subject assessment of work exhaustion among part-time teleworkers and non-teleworkers; participants are 258 U.S. workers spanning a variety of industries. Study 2 replicated the model tested in Study 1, and we extended the conceptualization of interpersonal interaction to examine both quantity and quality of interaction. In both studies, PTT provided a recovery opportunity, attenuating the relationship between interpersonal interaction and work exhaustion; however, after PTT but not before, work exhaustion increased as external interaction increased. In Study 2, work exhaustion decreased as interaction quality increased; in contrast, work exhaustion increased as interaction quantity increased and PTT attenuated this relationship. Our recommendations aim to help balance telework practices in light of social job characteristics and their opposing effects on work exhaustion.

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UC Authors

Jaime Windeler
Jaime Windeler