By Andrew C. Loignon
Center for Creative Leadership
Michael A. Johnson & Terrance L. Boyd
E. J. Ourso College of Business, Louisiana State University
NEOMA Business School
In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses closed their offices and asked their employees to work from home. The transition to remote work has yielded performance gains for many companies; so much so that many firms are planning to continue to use remote work after the pandemic subsides. Nevertheless, such benefits may not be distributed equally throughout the workforce. Drawing on the sociocognitive theory of socioeconomic status (SES), we predict that one’s home working environment features salient signals of their social status that affect their performance. Based on a sample of 304 remote workers from within the United States collected during the COVID-19 shutdown, we find that individuals whose home offices connote higher levels of SES report a greater sense of control over their environment, which ultimately is associated with higher levels of perceived job performance. Furthermore, we find that the more time an individual spends in their home office, the stronger the relationship between their environment-based SES and their personal sense of control. Taken as a whole, our findings suggest that because home working environments are arrayed along an SES gradient, they present another mechanism by which pre-existing inequalities may be made salient as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Loignon, A.C., Johnson, M.A., Veestraeten, M.& Boyd, T.L. (2022). A Tale of Two Offices: The Socioeconomic Environment’s Effect on Job Performance While Working From Home Group & Organizational Management. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F10596011221117724