Business Briefs: Workplace Romance, Work From Home Productivity…and Sentiment

Are you productive working from home? (And Twitter knows how you feel about it.)

Welcome to Business Briefs! The world of academic publications features fascinating findings from real-world experiments in business and the marketplace. Here are some key takeaways and applicable nuggets of knowledge that may be helpful for your business.

Workplace Romance

Workplace romance has always seemed like…like a bad idea. Statistically speaking, most romances end. A workplace romance makes it pretty likely that you’ll soon be working with an ex. Or worse yet: plural exes. 

Interestingly, those sorts of sensibilities don’t seem to be reflective of views of the American workforce. A recent survey of 956 individuals probed personal views of workplace romances, and the results might be surprising.

In terms of demographics, the survey group represented cities from throughout the U.S. 53% of respondents were in non-management positions, the remaining were in middle and upper management. They represented blue collar work, healthcare, education, science, tech, engineering and finance. 58% of respondents have witnessed a workplace romance.  

In general, workplace romances were viewed as being potentially more damaging to women than men. 

But in fields in which men are highly represented (finance, trade, science and tech), senior management tended to view workplace romances as indicators of both men and women’s aggressive business nature, conflating power and sexuality. Workplace romance in these fields, therefore, seemed to boost employee credibility with higher-ups. 

Read more here

Workplace Romance and Career Reputation Effects Across Industries – Rebecca M. Chory, Lisa Mainiero, and Sean M. Horan, International Journal of Business Communication

Update: This article was updated to reflect the correct statistic of 58% on the percentage of respondents witnessing romantic interactions in the workplace.

Work From Home & Productivity

You’ve probably noticed that some people can really move mountains working independently remotely. While others really need a supervisor to stay on track. 

Researchers wanted to identify a means to distinguish between those who could maintain productivity, and those who struggled. Using a sample of 106 remote workers, they found that better job performance was associated with high levels of self-control. That’s obvious.

But what sorts of things indicate self-control in a remote work context?  

There are a lot of things you can do to make a good work environment. You can choose a quiet workspace, or you can maintain contact with colleagues. But those aren’t the things the highly productive people did. 

The highly productive people adjusted their “somatic” conditions – things related to their own bodies. That is, they made choices to put on fresh clothes. They made choices to sleep sufficiently. The question remains: Is somatic adjustment a characteristic of highly productive people? Or does somatic adjustment make you productive? 

Read more here

Working from Home During the COVID-19 Crisis: How Self-Control Strategies Elucidate Employees’ Job Performance – Eve Sarah Troll, Laura Venz, Fritzi Weitzenegger, and David D. Loschelder, Applied Psychology

Twitter Data on Remote Work

To get one perspective regarding how people felt about their remote jobs, researchers gathered 205,204 tweets using hashtags such as #remotework, #remoteworking and #telework. They then categorized the tweets as positive, negative or neutral. 

Elements that were identified as positive with respect to remote work were work-life balance, less stress and more engagement. Neutral tweets tended to focus around technology and equipment. And the negative tweets involved privacy concerns and stress. 

That is, remote work was both a source of stress and a source of “less” stress, depending on the tweeter. 

Read more here

Exploring the Challenges of Remote Work on Twitter Users’ Sentiments – Jose Ramon Saura, Domingo Ribeiro-Soriano, and Pablo Zegarra Saldaña, Journal of Business Research