A Taxonomy of Employee Motives for Telework. Academic Article uri icon


  • This qualitative research contributes to the telework research literature by identifying and categorizing employee motives for teleworking. Motives for telework contextualize teleworking behavior, represent proximal telework outcomes, and serve as potential boundary conditions for telework-outcome relationships. Role identity theory (Burke & Tully Social Forces, 55(4), 881-897, 1977) and the uncertainty-reduction hypothesis (Hogg & Terry Academy of Management Review, 25, 121-140, 2000) suggest that motives may be driven by role salience and the ability to meet work and nonwork demands. In this research, we sought to identify a comprehensive list of motives as well as reconcile the wide range of categories and labels given to telework motives in the literature. We asked two independent samples of workers comprised of two subsamples of teleworkers (n 1=195; n 2=97) and a subsample of nonteleworkers (n 3=947) why they telework or would like to telework. A total of 2504 reasons were gathered across the three subsamples. Most respondents reported multiple reasons, especially when encouraged to list all of their reasons. After distinguishing preconditions from motives to telework, ten categories emerged from the qualitative data with "avoid commute" emerging as the most frequently reported motive. Other frequently reported motives included "tend to family demands" and "productivity." Additional motives are discussed along with implications for telework research and policy development and implementation.

published proceedings

  • Occup Health Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Thompson, R. J., Payne, S. C., Alexander, A. L., Gaskins, V. A., & Henning, J. B.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Thompson, Rebecca J||Payne, Stephanie C||Alexander, Allison L||Gaskins, Vanessa A||Henning, Jaime B

publication date

  • June 2022