Knowledge sharing challenges in hybrid knowledge work: Lessons from Denmark




During the COVID-19 pandemic, knowledge workers worked from home (WFH) and had to share knowledge mainly online. Studies show that remote work influence knowledge sharing. Beyond the pandemic, several studies report that companies expect more people to work partly or fully from home or anywhere. Therefore, we investigate how knowledge workers experience working from home (WFH), full or part-time, and how it affects their work and knowledge sharing.

We conducted an online survey at six different time points between May 2020 and November 2021, allowing us to analyse different working from home situations for the first time. Our survey included 23 questions covering positive and negative experiences from WFH and demographics. Data was collected from 3406 knowledge workers in Denmark working fully or partly from home.

The answers were analysed by fitting proportional odds logistic regressions. During the lockdown around February 2021, when Danish restrictions were high, knowledge workers reported that they could focus less on their work at home than at other points of time when they were allowed back in the office. Furthermore, they missed seeing their colleagues more during the lockdown period than at times when the society was completely open again, as they felt a lack of discussion and creative problem-solving. Despite using software solutions for collaboration and communication, knowledge workers missed opportunities for knowledge sharing when WFH. In general, during the whole period, female respondents reported that they got more time to focus on their work when WFH than males did. Finally, older respondents experienced more time to focus on work than the young respondents did when WFH.

The results show the differences in the situation of knowledge workers, whether it is enforced or flexible/voluntary to work from home. Thus, this study contributes to a better understanding of the challenges when knowledge workers WFH, which groups of knowledge workers can gain from WFH regarding efficiency and knowledge sharing needs. Beyond the pandemic, when companies want to offer more flexibility to WFH, this study provides conclusions on which conditions to be aware of to ensure efficient knowledge sharing.

Author Biography

Kathrin Kirchner, Technical University of Denmark

Dr Kathrin Kirchner is an associate professor at Technical University of Denmark. She received her PhD in information systems from University of Jena, Germany. She is co-editor of the Journal of Workplace Health Management. Her main research areas are knowledge sharing, virtual collaboration, distance work and the impact of artificial intelligence in organizations.