Remote Working during the Covid-19 Global Pandemic and its Implications for Employee Motivation: Some Evidence from Nigeria through the Lens of Self-Determination Theory
Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments around the world took several safety measures, including enforced confinement to check the spread of the disease. These measures had economic, health, and psychosocial implications. On the other hand, the pandemic accelerated remote working and the deployment of technology to support this new way of working as businesses needed to continue functioning. Empirical research on the implication of these measures on the mental health, engagement, and motivation of employees abound in other jurisdictions, whereas it is limited in Nigeria. From a self-determination perspective, this study examines the mediating roles of organizational factors (OF) and employee’s individual situation (ES) on employee motivation during the pandemic. The study employed a survey research design while descriptive statistics, exploratory factor analysis, and structural equation modelling were used to analyze the data. Remote working intensity (RW) during the pandemic had a significant positive impact on organizational factors. Employee’s Individual Situation had a significant positive impact on Employee Motivation (EM). The study concludes that as good as remote working may seem, the enforced confinement led to increased stress levels, more mental health challenges, and lower motivation. The moderation role of basic psychological needs (PN) satisfaction was confirmed. The findings showed that employees who could influence their work schedule were more motivated. Higher levels of support from employers that enabled individuals to achieve desired results amidst the uncertainties created by the pandemic were also associated with better levels of motivation. Employees in organizations that found innovative ways for social connection and had regular check-ins by managers were more engaged and motivated because employers’ support was found to be empowering, produced better psychological health, and helped employees feel self-determined. Even though the study shows the association between remote working, basic psychological needs satisfaction, and employee motivation, how motivation level changes after some point or the degree to which it would change in the post-pandemic era remains unclear and should be an area for further study since motivation is not a unitary phenomenon.