University of South Florida


USF psychology professor wins NSF grant to study remote work in response to COVID-19

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The National Science Foundation has awarded a USF psychology professor grant funding to study the rapid transition to remote work, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. Distinguished University Professor Tammy Allen is gathering data to examine adjustment to remote work with the intention of developing guidelines for future telecommuting in normal and in emergency situations.

Distinguished University Professor Tammy Allen

USF Distinguished University Professor Tammy Allen

“When people transition to working remotely, they usually have time to plan in advance, which enables their ability to adjust and be effective,” Allen said. “We’re now in uncharted territory with millions of workers who have had to switch to remote work essentially overnight. Further complicating the situation is that many workers are simultaneously providing dependent care working from kitchen tables and using new technologies.”

Allen and her colleague USF alumna Kristen Shockley, associate professor of psychology at the University of Georgia, are examining a variety of aspects related to working from home, such as task demands, manager support and the difficulty of using various technological platforms. She’s also looking at how it’s impacting an employee’s health and wellness.

The sample consists of full-time employees, who typically don’t telecommute and are now working remotely due to social distancing guidelines. The $199,574 grant allows Allen to collect initial data on the employees’ experiences prior to the pandemic, technology use and their general perception of the adjustment to remote work. Following the initial survey, study participants will complete a survey at the end of each workday across a four-week period that helps capture their day-to-day experiences, job attitudes and self-reported performance. This will permit the researchers to examine changes in adjustment over time.

Through this information, Allen and her colleagues will develop evidence-based best practices that businesses can utilize to accommodate a remote workforce.

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