The Dark Side of Working in a Virtual World: An Investigation of the Relationship between Workplace Isolation and Engagement among Teleworkers


Teleworking is an alternate work arrangement that has transformed the workplace that allows workers to fulfill their job assignment from any location away from the traditional office. Although this work arrangement has been growing in popularity due to various factors such as concerns for the environment, advances in communication technologies, and the globalization of the workforce, there are growing concerns that frequent use of teleworking may cause increase perceptions of feeling isolated [1] Golden, 2001; [2] Marshall, 2007; [3] Golden & Veiga, 2006; [4] Copper & Kurland, 2002). Additionally little or no research has been conducted on how feeling isolated influence engagement among teleworkers. The purpose of this quantitative research study is to investigate the relationship between workplace isolation and engagement and to determine to what extent the relationship between workplace isolation and gender among teleworkers. A survey consisting of the Workplace Isolation Scale [2] Marshall, 2007, Employee Engagement Scale [5] DDI, 2005 and demographic factors was used to investigate the relationship between workplace isolation and engagement and used to determine the relationship between workplace isolation and gender among 472 teleworkers. Using a correlational research design, it is found there is a statistically significant relationship between workplace isolation and employee engagement. Workplace isolation scores are shown to have a strong negative correlation with employee engagement scores. A regression analysis utilizing employee engagement as the dependent variable and workplace isolation as the independent variable is conducted. The results indicate statistical significance in that workplace isolation scores predicted employee engagement scores. A two-independent-sample t test is conducted to determine if there is enough evidence to suggest the mean workplace isolation scores are related to gender. The results of the t test are inconclusive. However using descriptive statistics techniques it is discovered respondents who telework 3 to 5 days a week have lower workplace isolation means scores than those who teleworked 1, 2 and 4 days a week. Leaders of organizations can use the results of this study to assist in the development of teleworking engagement strategies that not only target reducing workplace isolation perceptions to enhance engagement for teleworkers, but also to address possible issues related to increased perceptions of isolation across gender.

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Davis, R. and Cates, S. (2013) The Dark Side of Working in a Virtual World: An Investigation of the Relationship between Workplace Isolation and Engagement among Teleworkers. Journal of Human Resource and Sustainability Studies, 1, 9-13. doi: 10.4236/jhrss.2013.12002.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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