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Timothy D. Golden - Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Troy, NY, US

Timothy D. Golden

Professor, Lally School of Management; Area Head of Enterprise Management and Organization | Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Leading researcher on remote work, telecommuting, telework, and the relationship between technology and managerial behaviors.


Areas of Expertise (6)

Remote Work




Virtual Work

Virtual Teams


Timothy Golden’s research focuses on remote work, telework, telecommuting, and virtual interactions. He has conducted research in these areas for over 20 years, during which he has investigated a range of related topics, including performance, professional isolation, work-family conflict, the nature of job tasks, career success, exhaustion, coworker relationships, and knowledge sharing, to name a few. His research has appeared in leading academic journals, including the Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Academy of Management Perspectives, Human Relations, Leadership Quarterly, Journal of Managerial Issues, Journal of Business and Psychology, Psychological Science in the Public Interest, and New Technology, Work and Employment. Golden has received numerous distinctions for his research, including winning four Best Paper Awards. He has frequently been interviewed in the business press, appearing in hundreds of media outlets world-wide, including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNN, MSNBC, U.S. News & World Report, Harvard Business Review’s Daily Stat, Reuters, The Washington Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Scientific American.

In addition to his research, Golden has served as an expert consultant to the United Nation’s International Labor Organization, the federal government, and to a number of large and small companies seeking advice based on his research. Additionally, he has served in numerous leadership roles in several national and international professional associations, including president of the Eastern Academy of Management, research adviser to the International Telework Association and Council, program chair of EAM, track chair at the Southern Management Association, and as chair of the Graduate Scholarship Awards for the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He is an elected fellow of EAM, and is frequently sought after to speak at conferences and to professional business associations.

His teaching has been recognized with several awards, including the Outstanding Teacher Award voted upon by graduate students as well as the Best Exercise Award from the Experiential Learning Association. Prior to working in academia, Golden held several positions in the aerospace, IT, and medical industries, including program management, systems engineering, and space flight engineering working with NASA’s space shuttle program.

Education (6)

University of Connecticut: Ph.D, Management

University of Connecticut: M.A., Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Brandeis University: M.A., Psychology

The Gordon Institute of Tufts University: M.S., Engineering Management

Northrup University: M.S., Aerospace Engineering

U.S. Air Force Academy: B.S., Engineering Mechanics

Media Appearances (22)

3 Bonding Exercises Businesses Are Using to Combat the Great Resignation

Inc.  print


At a time when employees are quitting in record numbers and rotating through workplaces without ever meeting co-workers in-person, ... bonding activities can potentially improve team dynamics, says Timothy Golden, professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lally School of Management and a longtime researcher of remote work.

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Try these remote work “life hacks” to boost focus, ergonomics and well-being

Tech Republic  online


Timothy Golden, a professor at the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, discussed tips to structure the workday based on these preferences and traits for two general types of remote workers: “Segmentors” and integrators.

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Bosses Still Aren’t Sure Remote Workers Have ‘Hustle’

The Wall Street Journal  print


More than a year into America’s great work-from-home experiment, many companies have hailed it largely as a success. So why do some bosses think remote workers aren’t as committed as office dwellers?

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What Bosses Really Think of Remote Workers

The Atlantic  print


“This study suggests that people need to be aware of the signals that they’re giving off to their bosses if they want to be considered for promotions and for salary-growth opportunities,” says Timothy Golden, a management professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a co-author of the tech-worker study. If you want the freedom of leggings, midday walks, a quiet working area, and no commute, you’d better be ready to do extra work to prove that you’re not enjoying it all too much.

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Is Remote Work Here to Stay?

Voice of America  online


Prior to the pandemic, about 5 million Americans worked remotely. But COVID-19 forced U.S. employers to allow telework on a massive scale, resulting in an estimated 75 million people working from home over the past year. Some experts say there’s no going back now that both employers and workers have learned that telework can be effective. “The pandemic has radically changed how we view telework or remote work,” says Timothy Golden, a professor of management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “It's changed mindsets. It's changed cultural and social norms for where and how work gets done. … Many individuals and companies have realized that we can work remotely effectively. And so, I think remote work is here to stay.”

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What Is a Sick Day When You’re Working From Home?

Wall Street Journal  print


At many companies, the pandemic and widespread remote work are changing the nature of sick days. Because people can already work at their own pace, many people aren’t taking sick days at all—they are just plowing ahead with their tasks on a schedule that suits them. Even when people do take sick days, they are increasingly inclined to work anyway.

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Will work from home outlast virus? Ford's move suggests yes.

Associated Press  print


“The pandemic has broken the social and cultural norms for how we work,” said Timothy Golden, a professor of management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “Remote work has become much more accepted.”

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NPR - Academic Minute  radio


On Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Week: Are employees as productive while telecommuting? Timothy D. Golden, professor of enterprise management and organization, delves into this question.

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Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top remote work concerns

The Hill  print


Six months after states began issuing stay-at-home orders, many employees have settled into working-from-home routines that are likely to persist in some form beyond the pandemic. But with that seismic shift comes concerns about productivity, fatigue and cybersecurity. Those issues are likely to become more prominent as a greater share of the labor force make remote work a long-term practice. ... "Prior to [the pandemic], telecommuting and remote work was certainly practiced widely and was rapidly increasing, but this is a complete left turn in terms of the rapidness telework and remote work has been adopted,” Timothy Golden, a professor of management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute that has been studying remote work for years, told The Hill.

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The Office Will Never Be the Same

Popular Science  online


Timothy Golden, a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has been studying remote work for 20 years. Initially, he says, telecommuting was about reducing the burden of commuting on employees and their communities by keeping people out of overtaxed transit systems. But people liked the policy for other reasons. “Employees generally tend to like choice,” Golden says. It can help them pursue hobbies and curate free time. It can also make things like childcare and eldercare simpler, though these responsibilities are always tough to balance, especially when schools are closed. And logging on from home got easier and easier to do with the rise of smartphones and workplace apps.

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Does working from home create "equal playing field" for white collar moms?

WTEN News10 ABC Albany, NY  tv


Tim Golden discusses how working from home could level the playing field for women who telecommute in white-collar jobs.

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What If Working From Home Goes on … Forever?

New York Times Magazine  print


...Working at home can also improve how employees feel about their jobs. Historically, “research has shown a powerful correlation between telecommuting and job satisfaction,” says Timothy Golden, a professor of management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who has studied telework for two decades. People tend to prize the greater flexibility in setting their work hours, the additional time with family members, the reduced distractions. Even with the onslaught of online messages confronting teleworkers, “no one’s stopping by your cubicle standing over you saying, ‘Hey, I need this,’ or ‘I need your help right now,’” Golden told me recently.

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Igniting the Spark, Digitally, When Everybody Works at Home

Forbes  print


Among today’s corporate diaspora, how can one manage and encourage continuing innovation among a highly scattered workforce? In a previous post, we explored the implications of working remotely versus in-person, and what sense of serendipity may be lost or gained in interactions. Of course, the situation now on the ground, due to the work-from-home mandates associated with the COVID-19 crisis, demands that business leaders make the most of employees now working from 10,000 different locations, versus two or three in the past. How can innovation be encouraged?

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Brave New Tele-World

U.S. News & World Report  print


"I really, truly believe that we're at a defining moment for telework. In many ways, this is a watershed moment we are experiencing firsthand," says Timothy Golden, a professor in the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a leading expert in the field of telecommuting and telework. "I think this changes how we will think about telework, not just now, but also in the future. It's really changing mindsets," adds Golden, predicting that the share of the workforce that works from home – now about 3.6% of the total workforce – will grow exponentially, with a third to a half of white collar employees working remotely.

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Korea Factual

tbs eFM 101.3  radio


Global COVID-19 outbreak's impact on work formats and prospect of telecommuting.

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Has the coronavirus ushered in a watershed moment in this digital age

Atlanta Journal-Constitution  print


They say if you do a thing for 14 days, it will become a habit. If they’re right, a lot more of us are washing our hands and keeping them out of our faces. That’s a good thing. We’re sheltering inside, spending more time with family, working from home, making more purchases online, keeping up with coursework, and gathering for worship the same way.

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Coronavirus just dropped white-collar workers in the middle of America's biggest accidental experiment

Business Insider  print


We're in the middle of a major experiment on remote work. The new coronavirus pandemic has prompted companies around the world to close their offices, in an effort to prevent the virus from spreading further. That means many employees who typically work on site are now logging on from home.

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How Coronavirus May Affect U.S. Businesses and Schools

Everyday Health  online


As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the United States and around the world, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is ramping up its efforts to educate the public on how to help quell the spread of the contagious respiratory illness. Earlier this week, the health agency issued guidelines for communities on how to prevent an outbreak of the coronavirus, as well as precautions for election polling places and large community gatherings or events.

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A Spreading Coronavirus Could Increase Telecommuting

Consumer Affairs  print


The expectation that the coronavirus -- COVID-19 -- will spread around the United States has prompted some businesses to consider plans to encourage employees to work from home. Virtual workers are much more common than they once were, but many companies have never instituted the practice on a wide scale. So what can employees expect if they suddenly no longer have to go to the office each day? New research from the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute suggests that while telecommuting might carry a stigma in some corporate circles, it’s not deserved.

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RPI study: Working from home has minimal impact on corporate career path

Albany Times-Union  print


People who work from home receive the same amount of promotions and advancement opportunities in their careers as those who work in a traditional office setting, according to a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute study. The study, published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior by Timothy D. Golden, a professor at RPI's Lally School of Management, used a sample of more than 400 employees matched with corporate data on promotion and salary growth.

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The Future of Remote Work

American Psychological Association  online


More than 26 million Americans—about 16% of the total workforce—now work remotely at least part of the time, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Between 2005 and 2015, the number of U.S. employees who telecommuted increased by 115%. Those workers tend to be older, more educated, full time and nonunion. Telecommuting arrangements can vary greatly for different workers. They can be fully or partially remote; they may work from a home office, co-working space or other location; and increasingly they may be geographically distant from the organization or clients they serve.

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Telecommuting: Solid Ammunition but No Silver Bullet

American Management Association  online


Sometimes, the office seems like the worst place to get work done. There can be so many distractions, from ringing phones to questioning colleagues to endless streams of meetings. It's no wonder, then, that advocates of telecommuting see it as a way to boost productivity and engagement. Telecommuting also has its fair share of drawbacks, however, so it makes sense for employers to carefully weigh their options before adopting or rejecting telecommuting arrangements.

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Articles (7)

Telework and the Navigation of Work-Home Boundaries

Organizational Dynamics

Timothy D. Golden


The objective of this article is to identify the work-home conflict experienced by teleworkers, and provide best practices for ways in which successful teleworkers ideal with this conflict through effective boundary management tactics. By summarizing and discussing best practices for teleworkers to deal with work-home boundary management, this article provides practical tips for how to successfully manage the complex and intermingled work-home boundaries experienced during home-based telework. In so doing, it is hoped that readers will better understand how to effectively handle the spillover between work and home that occurs during telework, and be able to refine their own practices for thriving within this telework environment.

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Is there a price telecommuters pay? Examining the relationship between telecommuting and objective career success

Journal of Vocational Behavior

Timothy D.Golden, Kimberly A. Eddleston


Telecommuting has long been noted for its ability to foster work-family balance and job satisfaction. However, for employees seeking to advance in their careers, it is commonly advised to exercise caution, since telecommuting is often viewed as signaling a lack of dedication to one's career. Despite the prevalence of such advice, almost no research has investigated if telecommuting actually impacts career success in objective terms. Integrating research on the flexibility stigma and signaling theory, we first compared the career success of telecommuters and non-telecommuters using a sample of 405 employees matched with corporate data on promotion and salary growth. Then, we examined the relationship between extent of telecommuting and career success as well as the moderating influence of contextual factors. Results indicated telecommuters and non-telecommuters did not differ in number of promotions, but telecommuters experienced lower salary growth. Additionally, extent of telecommuting was negatively related to promotions and salary growth, indicating it is not simply telecommuting per se that effects career success, but rather the extent of telecommuting. Moreover, work context played a highly influential role. A greater number of promotions were received by extensive telecommuters when they worked where telecommuting was highly normative, and when they engaged in higher supplemental work. Extensive telecommuters with higher supplemental work and higher face-to-face contact with their supervisor also received greater salary growth. Together, results challenge previous research that has tended to portray telecommuting as harmful to one's career success by providing a more informed understanding of how to harness its benefits.

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Unpacking the Role of a Telecommuter’s Job in Their Performance: Examining Job Complexity, Problem Solving, Interdependence, and Social Support

Journal of Business and Psychology

Timothy D. Golden, Ravi Gajendran


Despite telecommuting’s growing popularity, its implication for telecommuter job performance is a matter of on-going public debate. Moreover, empirical evidence that could address this issue is scarce and conflicting. This study therefore not only examines whether telecommuting impacts job performance, but also investigates characteristics of the telecommuter’s work that might help or hinder their ability to perform their job. Integrating work design research with theorizing about telecommuting, our theoretical framework proposes that two knowledge characteristics, namely job complexity and problem solving, and two social characteristics, specifically interdependence and social support, moderate the extent of telecommuting–job performance relationship. We test our framework using matched data from telecommuters and their supervisors (N = 273) in an organization with a voluntary telecommuting program. Findings indicate that for telecommuters who held complex jobs, for those in jobs involving low levels of interdependence and for those in jobs with low levels of social support, the extent of telecommuting had a positive association with job performance. Across all moderators considered, the extent of telecommuting’s association with job performance ranged from benign to positive; findings did not support negative associations between the extent of telecommuting and job performance regardless of the level of each moderator examined. These results suggest the need to investigate the extent of telecommuting as well as the nature of the telecommuter’s job when studying work outcomes such as job performance, and that more research is needed.

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Self-Estrangement's Toll on Job Performance: The Pivotal Role of Social Exchange Relationships With Coworkers

Journal of Management

Timothy D. Golden, John F. Veiga


Perhaps because self-estrangement is inherently dysfunctional, empirical research has primarily sought to understand its antecedents but not its consequences. As a result, despite its ubiquity in the workplace, self-estrangement’s insidious effects are not well understood. In this paper, because coworkers frequently bear the brunt of interactions with self-estranged workers, we sought to understand how the behavior of self-estranged workers corrodes their social exchange relationships with coworkers. In particular, we focus on how increasing self-estrangement, through its dysfunctional influence on the quality of social exchange relationships with coworkers, can exact a toll on estranged workers’ job performance. To provide greater insight into their relationships, we extend social exchange theory by specifying three behavioral outcomes that underlie the quality of ongoing, reciprocal exchanges, including the level of trustworthiness, accessibility, and peer citizenship behavior. To test our model, we gathered matching survey data in a large corporation from three sources, including 346 professional employees, a knowledgeable coworker, and their supervisor. Results show that self-estrangement indirectly impacts job performance and damages relationships with coworkers by reducing the estranged workers’ level of trustworthiness, accessibility, and peer citizen behavior. We also found that each of these behavioral outcomes served as a significant intervening mechanism separately, as well as when they were combined as a set, suggesting that coworker social exchange quality should be viewed as multidimensional.

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Digital Technology and Student Cognitive Development: The Neuroscience of the University Classroom

Journal of Management Education

Cavanaugh, J. M., Giapponi, C. C., & Golden, T. D.


Digital technology has proven a beguiling, some even venture addictive, presence in the lives of our 21st century (millennial) students. And while screen technology may offer select cognitive benefits, there is mounting evidence in the cognitive neuroscience literature that digital technology is restructuring the way our students read and think, and not necessarily for the better. Rather, emerging research regarding intensive use of digital devices suggests something more closely resembling a Faustian quandary: Certain cognitive skills are gained while other “deep thinking” capabilities atrophy as a result of alterations in the neural circuitry of millennial brains. This has potentially profound implications for management teaching and practice. In response, some advocate that we “meet students where we find them.” We too acknowledge the need to address student needs, but with the proviso that the academy’s trademark commitment to penetrating, analytical thinking not be compromised given the unprecedented array of existential challenges awaiting this generation of students. These and rising faculty suspicions of a new “digital divide” cropping up in the management classroom represents a timely opportunity for management educators to reflect not only on how today’s students read and learn, but equally, on what and how we teach.

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How Effective Is Telecommuting? Assessing the Status of Our Scientific Findings.

Psychological Science in the Public Interest

Allen, T. D., Golden, T. D., & Shockley, K. M.


Telecommuting has become an increasingly popular work mode that has generated significant interest from scholars and practitioners alike. With recent advances in technology that enable mobile connections at ever-affordable rates, working away from the office as a telecommuter has become increasingly available to many workers around the world. Since the term telecommuting was first coined in the 1970s, scholars and practitioners have debated the merits of working away from the office, as it represents a fundamental shift in how organizations have historically done business. Complicating efforts to truly understand the implications of telecommuting have been the widely varying definitions and conceptualizations of telecommuting and the diverse fields in which research has taken place. Our objective in this article is to review existing research on telecommuting in an effort to better understand what we as a scientific community know about telecommuting and its implications.

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Altering the Effects of Work and Family Conflict on Exhaustion: Telework During Traditional and Nontraditional Work Hours

Journal of Business and Psychology

Timothy D. Golden


The current study investigates the impact of time and strain-based work-to-family conflict (WFC) and family-to-work conflict (FWC) on exhaustion, by considering the moderating effect of telework conducted during traditional and non-traditional work hours. Design/Methodology/Approach: Data were obtained from professionals in a large computer company using survey methodology (N = 316). Findings: Results from this study suggest that time and strain-based WFC and FWC were associated with more exhaustion, and that exhaustion associated with high WFC was worse for individuals with more extensive telework during traditional and non-traditional work hours. Implications: This study provides managers with findings to more carefully design telework programs, showing evidence that the adverse impact of WFC/FWC on exhaustion may depend on the type of telework and level of conflict experienced. This suggests that managers may need to be more aware of the full range of characteristics which encapsulate the teleworker’s work practices before making decisions about how telework is implemented. Originality/Value: By differentiating the timing of telework and its role on the WFC/FWC—exhaustion relationship, this study delves deeper into the contingent nature of telework and suggests that the extent of telework conducted during traditional and nontraditional work hours may play an influential role. In addition, these considerations are investigated in light of the bi-directional time-based and strain-based nature of WFC and FWC, helping to unravel some of telework’s complexities.

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