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The effects of teleworking during COVID-19

Alan Flurry

From Zoom meetings to marathon telephone calls, the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing protocols have effected how workers of every stripe conduct business from home, altering our work environments while we continue our organizations' operations.

The effects of the rapid transition to working remotely is the focus of a new research project in the department of psychology:

There is not a lot of translational research on the topic, according to Kristen Shockley, associate professor of psychology in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. She and her collaborators plan to develop a best-practices guide based on their research that will help organizations when employees transition to working from home.

“There were so many people who, all of a sudden, had to transition to remote work,” said Shockley, director of the Integrating Work into Life Lab. “Working remotely is going to extend beyond just COVID-19. People worked remotely before, and people will work remotely after, so we’re hoping [our study] has broad applicability moving forward.”

Along with co-investigator and USF Distinguished University Professor Tammy Allen, UGA graduate student Hope Dodd and USF graduate student Aashna Waivoord, Shockley received a $199,574 National Science Foundation RAPID Grant, which are quickly disbursed to researchers in times of unprecedented events—like natural disasters or pandemics—to study their effects. While it would normally take about six months for researchers to learn whether NSF would provide funding for a study, Shockley said her study was funded just eight days after submission.

In an ongoing situation, we are learning as we go about how these new dynamics effect our work in every way. Hopefully, some important lessons will also be the result of this experience, and we look forward to the outcome of these timely investigations.

Image: UGA file photo

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