Telecommuting works, if done right. But teleworkers face a myriad of challenges, not least of which is a functioning relationship with management. Timothy R. Dahlstrom of Arizona State University published “Telecommuting and Leadership Style” in the Public Personnel Management September 2013 issue. The abstract:
Telecommuting is an increasingly popular organizational dynamic that presents unique challenges for workers, managers, and human resources departments regarding how employees relate to their organizations, as well as what telecommuters need from their managers to be satisfied, committed employees. Much is known about how employees in private companies relate to their organizations in a standard work setting. However, little is understood about how teleworkers in government organizations relate to their organizations, and how managerial leadership behaviors influence the organizationally related outcomes of telecommuters. This article reviews some of the challenges with telecommuting, focusing on telecommuting’s impact on job satisfaction and organizational commitment. The article then presents a prominent leadership style dichotomy and assesses the impact of the two leadership styles on job satisfaction and organizational commitment. The substitutes for leadership are included in this assessment. To synthesize these literatures, the final section of the article combines telecommuting challenges and leadership style to suggest the leadership style that best mediates the negative aspects of telecommuting and is, therefore, most important for employees in a telecommuting environment. Areas for further research are also considered.