Remote working in construction: Assessing the affordance of digitisation

Zahirah Mokhtar Azizi*, James Cochrane, Niraj Thurairajah, Nurul Mokhtar Azizi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose
As remote working becomes increasingly popular, remote working could unlock new ways of working through digitisation. However, the construction sector has been slow to adopt digitisation in its processes, making digitisation difficult to assess whether this affordance may be well received and the current capabilities of digitisation to achieve this effectively. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the interest in remote working amongst construction sector personnel and to examine the factors affecting remote working through digitisation affordances.

Design/methodology/approach
Based on a case study of one of the largest contractor firms in the United Kingdom, an online questionnaire survey was used to collect responses from 125 construction professionals. Statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS) was used to do basic statistical analysis on the results.

Findings
The findings show that there is a general appetite for remote working on a flexible basis where a mix of “on-site” and “off-site” arrangement was deemed practical. This could potentially unlock significant time and cost savings as well as productivity gains. The main factors affecting remote working were the availability of interconnected systems allowing efficient communication and digital infrastructure that enable automated processes.

Research limitations/implications
The research is limited to a large contractor company and may not be appropriate for small and medium-sized companies. The findings may benefit organisations to evaluate the practical needs of ensuring effective remote working in the construction industry and unlocking efficiencies.

Originality/value
The paper adds value to understanding the affordances and constraints of digitisation for remote working from the perspective of construction professionals.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBuilt Environment Project and Asset Management
Early online date8 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Aug 2022

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