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Telework is an increasingly popular flexible working arrangement. The aim of this article is to describe the features that characterize telework. The advantages and disadvantages of teleworking are outlined, as well as its effects on the health of the worker. The method used was a literature review. The outputs of this search show that in general, empirical evidence favours a positive association between telework and worker health. However, there are also negative impacts on health such as stress and depression. The overall conclusion is that telework is likely to yield more good than bad for individual health.
Content may be subject to copyright. International Journal of Healthcare 2017, Vol. 3, No. 2
Telework and health effects review
Aida Isabel Tavares
CEISUC, Centre for Health Studies of the University of Coimbra, Portugal
Received: April 3, 2017 Accepted: June 30, 2017 Online Published: July 11, 2017
DOI: 10.5430/ijh.v3n2p30 URL:
Telework is an increasingly popular flexible working arrangement. The aim of this article is to describe the features that
characterize telework. The advantages and disadvantages of teleworking are outlined, as well as its effects on the health of the
worker. The method used was a literature review. The outputs of this search show that in general, empirical evidence favours a
positive association between telework and worker health. However, there are also negative impacts on health such as stress and
depression. The overall conclusion is that telework is likely to yield more good than bad for individual health.
Key Words: Telecommuting, Teleworking, Workers, Health
Teleworking originally started to become popular since the
oil crisis of the 1970s when it was realized that if one in
seven urban commuters would work from home, then the US
would have no need to import oil. So it became evident that
work flexibility could result in benefits for organization and
for employees. The term “telecommuting” was introduced
by Nilles[1] in the mid-1970s.
While the US term for “home-working” is telecommuting,
in Europe, it is termed telework. But the terms to express
telework are varied and include work-at-distance, off-site
work or even remote work. The idea behind all of them is
the same, it is the work to be done in a place and not a place
where the worker has to go.[2]
The European Framework Agreement on Telework of 2002
defines telework in Article 2: “Telework is a form of organ-
ising and/or performing work, using information technol-
ogy in the context of an employment contract/relationship,
where work, which could also be performed at the employer’s
premises, is carried out away from those premises on a regu-
lar basis”. Although this definition is broad, it does capture
the main idea behind telework, which is work flexibility in
space and time.
Flexible working became an opportunity for workers to im-
prove their work, family and social life by decreasing work
constraints and gaining autonomy over their own affairs. The
boundaries between working and non-working time have
become flexible and adjustable to the needs of people at
different stages in life: study time, family, aging or simple
individual preferences. Telework is therefore a decision-
making tool regarding working hours and adapting them to
the needs and preferences of workers (and the demands of
the employer).
Telework, as a form of flexible work arrangement, became
more and more significant in the late 1990s as the use of
home computers, laptops, mobile phones and sophisticated
telecommunications software become an everyday work tool.
The number of workers teleworking was still increasing in the
last decade. In the US, the growth was around 80% between
2005 and 2012 and in this last year teleworkers represented
Correspondence: Aida Isabel Tavares; Email:; Address: Avenida Dias da Silva, 165, 3004-512 Coimbra, Portugal.
30 ISSN 2377-7338 E-ISSN 2377-7346 International Journal of Healthcare 2017, Vol. 3, No. 2
2.6% of the total employee workforce (about 3.3 million
people, excluding the self-employed and unpaid volunteers)
who considered home as their primary place of work.
number of employees using telework in the US between 2005
and 2012 is 1,819,355 and 3,268,525 respectively, and the
percentage of those employees in the total workforce is 2.6%
in 2012.
Telework is less often used in the European labour market
than it is in the US. Some figures show that at the beginning
of the 21st century, full-time telework was carried out by just
over 1% of the working population (around 1.5 million peo-
ple) and occasional teleworking was a slightly more common
(5% of workers).
More recently, it has been estimated that
around 3% of EU workers are teleworking from home.[5]
But the telework arrangement is not found consistently in Eu-
ropean countries. While the UK has around 10% of employ-
ees doing telework for at least 25% of the time, in Portugal
and Italy the figure is only 2%, as can be seen in Table 1.
The countries with the highest proportion of teleworkers are
Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden and Luxembourg.[5]
Table 1. Percentage of teleworkers in Europe
% work force UK L FIN NL A B DK S E F IRL D EL P I EU15
At least 25% time 10 9 8 7 6 6 6 5 4 4 4 4 2 2 2 5
All the time 2 3 1 1 3 2 1 1 3 2 1 0 1 1 0 1
Telework is naturally more often found in certain professions
and usually associated with highly skilled white collar jobs.
In Europe, 7% of telework is done by managers and 13%
by professionals or technicians (for instance, statisticians or
financial brokers).
In fact, the sectors where telework is
most often found are education, with 12% of teleworkers,
financial and other services (8%), and the public administra-
tion with 3% of teleworkers.[5]
Nowadays it can be seen that working hours have extended
into the evening and night and to weekends. So, they have
become more flexible in a 24-hour society. The 3rd EU
Survey on Working Condition showed that what is termed
normal working hours (meaning from 9.00-18.00 on week
days) have become the exception rather than the rule. Em-
ployed people with this traditional rigid pattern of working
hours represented only 27% of all the employed people in
the survey. Analysis of the survey data shows a positive
correlation between flexibility (under individual discretion
and control) and better health outcomes. However, results
also show that longer working hours are associated with
stress, fatigue, sleeping problems, and anxiety.
The Sixth
European Working Conditions Survey recently concluded
that overall, according to the job quality indices, teleworkers
work more intensively but have more autonomy at work and
better career prospects.[5]
The overall aim of this paper is to consolidate the informa-
tion on the topic of telework and health, and also to provide
a structured text for a wide range of interested readers. For
this, the main features of telework have been reviewed and its
associated trade-offs are described, in particular, the health
effects for workers. Telework tasks and jobs require a cer-
tain individual profile to ensure success. Additionally, the
characteristics of telework tasks and workers’ profiles help
to explain the advantages and disadvantages of telework to
the worker, as well as the effects on health.
The method used in this work was a literature review, so
this article has been written in a narrative non-exhaustive for-
mat, without evaluation of the articles, rather than a format
which could include quality assessment and tabular synthe-
sis. There are two systematic reviews on this topic in the
literature. One is by De Croon et al.,
and the other by
Joyce et al.
The first systematically reviews how the of-
fice concept (including telework) can influence a worker’s
job demands, job resources, short- and long-term reactions
(including health). The second reviews the health effects of
flexible work conditions on employees and their families.
The method used is a general literature review as classified
by Grant et al.
This provides a review of the recent and
current literature and covers a wide range of subjects in vary-
ing degrees of completeness and comprehensiveness. This
form of literature review is usually presented in a narrative
form, as it is here.
Google Scholar was used to search for articles, using the
key words “telework + health”, “telecommuting + health”,
“telework + health + effects or impacts”, “telecommuting +
health + health or impacts”, between April and June 2015
and updated between 10-12 June 2016. The selection of the
articles was based on the general principal that the reference
should be a specialised report, an empirical analysis or a
review. The articles proposing a conceptual or theoretical
framework have not been analysed, nor have those which did
not have a clear focus on telework.
Published by Sciedu Press 31 International Journal of Healthcare 2017, Vol. 3, No. 2
The search of the set of articles used here was not comprehen-
sive, and the quality of the work contained in them was not
assessed. A summary of the selected references is included,
based on the aspects covered in this article.
3.1 Telework features and teleworkers
Professions that rely on telephones, computers and other
communication technology devices are strongly related to
the potential performance by telework. Some professions
have intrinsic features that make them better suited to being
performed through telework, such as management and spe-
cialised professionals. The tasks performed under a telework
contract are usually described as follows:[10,11]
information based and portable,
their performance requires high level of concentration,
their performance involves a high degree of autonomy,
can be planned in advance and performed at varying
times of the day,
creating, processing and disseminating information,
results in measurable output such as written reports,
statistical figures, software, etc.
This last characteristic plays an important role when contracts
are drafted between the firm and the worker. The sustaining
theory that models the relationship between employee and
employer is the well-known “agency theory”, which states
that interests of the two parties may be aligned by optimal
contracts, which mostly depend on the performance of the
employees.[12, 13]
The demanding nature of the tasks that can be performed
through telework suggests that not everyone is suited to
it. Empirical evidence profiles the successful teleworker
as someone with the following personal characteristics:
Self-motivation: skilled at setting routines and meeting
High level of job knowledge and skills: enough knowl-
edge of their position to facilitate working and solving
problems independently.
High performance: solid performers, although it is
important for some top performers to remain in the
office at least part of the time to mentor co-workers.
Independence and confidence: because there is less ex-
posure to supervision and feedback, individuals should
have the ability to make independent decisions.
Comfortable with solitude: because of the isolation,
individuals with less need for social interaction are
well suited to telecommuting arrangements.
Time management and organisational skills: because
of limited daily demands or checks, individuals should
have the ability to schedule and organise their work to
meet deadlines.
Concentration: highly focused and able to handle po-
tential distractions.
Strong communication skills: more effort is needed to
stay in touch with managers and co-workers, providing
them with necessary information and updates while
working away from the office setting.
Trustworthiness and reliability: individuals are ac-
countable for getting the job done to the same extent
as if they were being supervised in the office setting;
mutual trust is an essential element of a telework ar-
These personal characteristics are very relevant to the way
people design strategies to deal with the obstacles of tele-
working and perform the tasks, especially without damaging
their health.
3.2 Pros and cons of telework
The advantages and disadvantages of telework, from
the teleworker perspective, have been identified by sev-
eral authors
[14, 17–26]
and others have reviewed or listed
them.[2, 15, 27, 28] These are summarised in Table 2.
Table 2. Advantages and disadvantages of telework
Advantages Disadvantages
Better balance of home and
work life Blurring of boundaries between
work and home time and overwork
Increased flexibility and
autonomy Presenteeism
Reduction in commuting time Social isolation
Increased productivity Lack of support, inadequate
Higher morale and job
satisfaction Career progression or promotions
Avoidance of office politics Resentment from colleagues
Teleworkers spend less time travelling, commuting and away
from home. They can thus use this time to be with the family
and enjoy a better balance of home and work life. However,
the blurring of boundaries between work and home time may
create family conflict or erode rest time.
Homeworking increases people’s flexibility and autonomy.
Teleworkers can often choose their hours of work, enabling
them to take advantage of off-peak hours at the supermarket,
the gym, and administrative offices so as to work in their
most productive part of the day, or even to take on another
job. Nevertheless, homeworking is right next to the breakfast
table and so teleworkers tend to work long and continuous
hours, even when they are sick. This is called presenteeism.
Working when unwell impacts the speed and quality of the
32 ISSN 2377-7338 E-ISSN 2377-7346 International Journal of Healthcare 2017, Vol. 3, No. 2
recovery and well-being of the worker, not to mention the
effect on the quality of the work.
Teleworkers tend to be more productive than their counter-
parts in traditional offices because they have fewer interrup-
tions and distractions, can work longer hours, make better
use of high productivity moments, and enjoy flexibility when
planning work schedules. Despite this potential for higher
productivity, teleworkers often face lack of technical support
and may have inadequate equipment which prevents them
from achieving the desired productivity. Nevertheless, this
disadvantage can be mitigated nowadays because internet
access is provided via optical fibre cables, thereby ensuring
high speed and reliability. Additionally, computer anti-virus
software prevents problems of losing work and the use of
cloud computing systems allows sharing software and files.
Higher morale and job satisfaction are common among tele-
workers, who tend to be highly motivated to prove that this
choice is better and more successful. However, being away
from the central office may have a negative impact on their
career progression because they tend to be overtaken by other
workers who are better positioned for lobbying. However,
the lobbying by the work colleagues will happen no matter
what, they are focused on their goals and lobbying is part of
their tasks in the office.
Another advantage of homeworking is the avoidance of office
politics. This is mainly about relationships targeting power,
influence and careers; it consumes time and effort. Some
people may prefer to focus on performance and care less
about office politics. The other side of this can be the so-
cial isolation that workers may feel because they spend long
hours alone without social interaction and the resentment of
colleagues, who cannot be home-workers.
Today’s communication technology is built on high connec-
tivity instruments and processes, easy and reliable informa-
tion sharing, easy and cheap communication, and our sophis-
ticated computers and mobile phones make social interaction
and work output presentation easy, no matter where people
are located.
Therefore, from our perspective, the disad-
vantage of being absent from the main office is not really
relevant nowadays.
3.3 Health issues associated with telework
Telework has recognised effects on health. The overall ef-
fect on health is neither well known nor consensual.
[27, 30]
Most empirical work reports positive and negative effects but
there has been little analysis of the trade-offs associated with
telework and its net benefits or net costs.
The methodological difficulty of measuring trade-offs makes
it hard to determine if telework benefits outweigh the cost
to workers’ health. Nonetheless, apparently there is suffi-
cient evidence to infer that the benefits override the health
problems. Noting the historical and statistical evolution of
telework, which has been around now for more than 40 years
and is still expanding, it seems that it generates a net benefit
for individuals (and organisations). If telework had mainly
had a negative impact on the health (and job satisfaction) of
workers, then eventually they would have lost the willingness
to do it[31] and telework would have tended to disappear.
As Michael Marmot stated: “depriving people of control over
their lives.. . is indeed damaging to their health”,
so it is
likely that telework benefits health more than it damages it
because it helps people to be better able to control their life.
In fact, some evidence seems to indicate that telework has
net benefits for employees;
[28, 33–35]
in other words, “telecom-
muting is likely more good than bad for individual”.[36]
3.3.1 Identified health problems
The health problems associated with telework can be grouped
into four categories: musculoskeletal problems, isolation and
depression, stress and overwork and others. These are now
described in more detail.
Musculoskeletal problems
Working long hours with a computer, usually at home, is
associated with a static and constraining posture, repetitive
movements, extreme positions of the forearm and wrist, and
with long periods of continuous work. These are risky be-
haviours that contribute to the development of musculoskele-
tal problems in the neck, shoulders, wrist, hand and lumbar
[22, 27, 37]
Moreover, teleworkers do not socialise with
colleagues and so they do not take health breaks, which are
important for musculoskeletal relaxation, and they spend
long hours seated, without appropriate breaks.[38, 39]
Isolation and depression
The nature of telework means that teleworkers do not es-
tablish a social work relationship with their colleagues, es-
pecially those in the office. Being far from the workplace
added to the long, continuous working hours can induce feel-
ings of loneliness and isolation.
[15, 20, 22, 33, 36, 40]
It has even
been suggested that teleworkers should spend at least 20%
of their work time in the office to prevent such feelings of
Stress and overwork
Today stress is strongly correlated with cardiovascular dis-
eases, type 2 diabetes and poor mental health (particularly
depression), which is why it has our full attention today.[42]
Stress is an emotional response to pressure suffered due to
the context in which a person is living or working and over
Published by Sciedu Press 33 International Journal of Healthcare 2017, Vol. 3, No. 2
which they have no control. While the immediate effects
of stress hormones may be beneficial, long term exposure
to stress accustoms the body to the high level of hormones,
which generates a negative effect on the human body. Stress
is caused by stressors and it is revealed by changes in physi-
ological and psychological behaviour. Stressors are triggers
of stress and they include all influences (job and non-job
related) that affect someone at work, such as work tasks,
deadlines, equipment, organisational and procedural regula-
tions, spatial-temporal and physical conditions.[43]
Stress-response theory provides a theoretical framework for
the linkages between work flexibility (as in telework) and
This flexibility includes the schedule and the loca-
tion, which are the main aspects of telework. The linkages
between work flexibility and health are mainly twofold. On
the one hand, flexibility reduces exposure to some stressors
since workers are better able to control their lives, reduce
family conflict and improve family-work balance. Moreover,
telework flexibility provides resources to enable workers
to respond to stressors and so to prevent negative impacts
of stress on health.
On the other hand, flexibility creates
more stress due to family responsibilities, blurred work-home
life boundary and, potentially, family conflict.
[45, 46]
tionally, telework creates job stress related to factors such as
overwork, tight deadlines, intense and long working hours,
inability of switch off and less time to rest.
[20, 46–48]
It is also
related to poor mental health, exhaustion and impaired state
of health.[17, 28, 31, 40]
Other health problems
Other health problems can be identified and associated with
flexible work conditions. These health problems include
metabolic, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal disorders.
Metabolic disorders include hypertension, high cholesterol
and higher fasting blood sugar levels.
[49, 50]
Moreover, cancer
is likely to be a negative effect of certain health imbalances
created by work flexibility, and women’s reproductive func-
tion is also potentially affected.[49]
3.3.2 Health benefits
A number of health benefits are generated with telework for
people choosing this alternative work arrangement.
Several empirical works have found positive and beneficial
effects on teleworkers’ health. Benefits accrue from reduc-
ing the stress
of the daily home-work commute,
[30, 50, 51]
having greater schedule flexibility and a better work-life
[20, 28, 34, 52, 53]
better life control, and enhanced job
satisfaction.[17, 54–58]
The effects on health outcomes such as sickness and impair-
ment seem to occur less often with the choice of telework.
Moreover, working from home provides an environment that
favours better concentration, less noise, fewer interruptions,
more privacy (which open-office spaces often destroy), better
air quality (which may be dubious in the traditional office),
all of which contribute to workers’ health.[22]
Telework is a flexible work arrangement which has been in-
creasingly adopted worldwide. Workers seem to be willing
to choose this form of work since it improves their working
and social life by easing work constraints and yielding gains
in autonomy over their own affairs. Telework has become a
solution for people at different stages in their life, when they
may be studying, bringing up a family, or growing older, or
it can simply match their individual preferences by letting
them decide when and where to work.
Telework tasks have particular features which require certain
personality traits for the job to be done successfully. More-
over, these features contribute to defining the pros and cons,
in particular the health effects, of doing a job under telework
conditions. Workers face a cost-benefit trade-off when do-
ing telework. There is a general view that it results in a net
benefit for workers and in a positive effect on their health.
This is mainly because there is less stress and a better work-
family life balance. This trend in the empirical evidence may
be more significant in today’s world. The reason for this
trend may be that some of the potential disadvantages of tele-
work, mainly related to workers not being in the main office,
are strongly mitigated by the sophisticated communication
technology readily available today.
The main limitation of this literature review is the potential
for the selection of the articles to be subjective, even though
Google Scholar provides the most cited articles and exhaus-
tive lists of references. The informative nature of this text
and the main goal defined do not require a systematic review
of the literature. This article is therefore contributing with
a well-structured and well-condensed text with information
obtained from a wide literature review on telework and its
health effects.
Future research may continue studying the effects of tele-
work on teleworkers and on health utilization. Another line
of potential research could focus, firstly, on the relation-
ship between the workers’ personality traits and their health
outcomes, and secondly, on the relationship between the
workers’ performance and their health outcomes, particu-
larly, those associated with depression and stress.
Finally, research is needed to reassess the relevance of some
telework disadvantages and health effects associated with iso-
lation and lack of social interaction, because nowadays there
34 ISSN 2377-7338 E-ISSN 2377-7346 International Journal of Healthcare 2017, Vol. 3, No. 2
is a high speed communication technology, with diverse and
wide connectivity options, easy and trustworthy information
sharing, easy and cheap communication, and broad access to
sophisticated computers and mobile phones.
The author declares no conflicts of interest.
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36 ISSN 2377-7338 E-ISSN 2377-7346
... Although some beneficial aspects have been identified, many studies have shown that teleworking could be associated with difficulties in establishing boundaries between work and family, loneliness, isolation, irritability and mental health symptoms such as depressive symptoms [45][46][47]. This situation may be more conducive to the contagion of stress within the family when the boundaries between roles are ambiguous. ...
... Since the direct relationship was not significant, this result supports a total mediation that is more consistent with the stress contagion hypothesis. This is also consistent with studies showing that teleworking may be associated with more blurred spatial and temporal boundaries between work and family, which may contribute to spread negative emotions from work more easily [45,47]. This has important implications for research on youth mental health. ...
... As we see a marked growth in telework that appears to be persisting beyond the acute phase of the pandemic, it is important to further document how the quality of the conditions under which teleworking occurs can influence children's mental health and wellbeing. Although beyond the scope of this study, it is also possible that favorable teleworking conditions can contribute to work-family enrichment and, consequently, to the well-being of parents and children [6,45,47]. ...
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Background Work-related stressors and work-family conflict are important social determinants of mental health. While the impact of these stressors on parents’ mental health is well documented, we know comparatively less about their impact on children’s mental health. Furthermore, though the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered these stressors, particularly with the increase in teleworking, major knowledge gaps persist regarding the association between parents’ stressors and perceived parental concern for their children’s mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the stress contagion perspective, this study tests (1) the mediating role of parents’ depressive symptoms with parental concern for their children’s mental health, and (2) whether these associations vary depending on whether parents had the opportunity to engage in telework. Methods A path analysis was performed from a cross-sectional analytic sample of 780 employed parents in the province of Quebec (Canada). The same model was then stratified by teleworking opportunity. The model’s indirect associations were obtained by the bootstrap bias-corrected method with 1,000 replications. Results The results show that the stressors of work-to-family conflict, increased difficulties in work-family balance since the COVID-19 pandemic, irregular schedules, low esteem derived from work, and job insecurity were all indirectly associated with an increase in parental concern for their children’s mental health through increased parents’ depressive symptoms. However, some associations differ depending on teleworking status. The indirect associations involving increased difficulties in work-family balance since the COVID-19 pandemic as well as irregular work schedules were observed only in the teleworking group. Conclusions This study fills a gap in research on the association between the work-family interface and parental concern for their children’s mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. It highlights the importance of concerted and cohesive action between child health policies and those regarding work and work-family balance to prevent work-related psychosocial risks, particularly considering the post pandemic expanded and persistent reliance on teleworking.
... Studies focusing on the impacts of remote work have yielded mixed results (e.g., Gajendran and Harrison, 2007;Oakman et al., 2020). On the one hand, job resources can be increased such as autonomy (Sardeshmukh et al., 2012;Tavares, 2017), while other important resources such as social resources may be decreased because social interaction and contact are reduced (Sardeshmukh et al., 2012;van Steenbergen et al., 2018). Therefore, working from home is associated with increased isolation (Tavares, 2017;Dettmers and Plückhahn, 2022) due to the reduced contact but simultaneously linked to positive health outcomes due to experienced job autonomy and time flexibility (Sardeshmukh et al., 2012;Garcia-Contreras et al., 2021). ...
... On the one hand, job resources can be increased such as autonomy (Sardeshmukh et al., 2012;Tavares, 2017), while other important resources such as social resources may be decreased because social interaction and contact are reduced (Sardeshmukh et al., 2012;van Steenbergen et al., 2018). Therefore, working from home is associated with increased isolation (Tavares, 2017;Dettmers and Plückhahn, 2022) due to the reduced contact but simultaneously linked to positive health outcomes due to experienced job autonomy and time flexibility (Sardeshmukh et al., 2012;Garcia-Contreras et al., 2021). On the other hand, job demands can decrease when working from home, since distractions or interruptions by others are reduced in comparison with working on-site (van Steenbergen et al., 2018), and time pressure decreases (Sardeshmukh et al., 2012). ...
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Background After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, employees in Europe increasingly worked from home. In the German public sector, many employees experienced working from home for the first time. Concurrently, employees could use job crafting activities to alter job demands and resources while working from home. This exploratory case study aims to shed light on how public service employees craft their job demands and job resources, and how they perceive job satisfaction and productivity while working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. A novel theoretical approach is applied to explore crafting activities that target specific job demands and resources when working from home, using a combined framework of resource-based job crafting based on the Job Demands–Resources model and time-spatial job crafting. Methods Qualitative telephone interviews were conducted with employees from different public sectors in Germany between December 2021 and February 2022. According to the COREQ guidelines, the 12 semi-structured interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and content-analyzed using MAXQDA. Results The results suggest that employees, who were new to working from home, developed personal crafting strategies for their flexible work environment. These strategies supported them in coping with hindering job demands (e.g., measures regarding work-related availability or interruptions) by optimizing their working conditions. Additionally, employees used strategies to increase their social resources (e.g., initiating meetings with colleagues) and structural resources (e.g., installing additional work equipment, planning of office days and working-from-home days). The use of given job resources and optimization of job demands are closely linked to the time-spatial demands fit. Thereby, the time-spatial demands fit is used to combine workplaces, work hours, or work tasks with the provided resources and demands to achieve an optimal work environment, which also facilitates employees' productivity and satisfaction. Conclusion The results enrich the resource-based and time-spatial demand job crafting research by adding specific job crafting strategies utilized by public service employees. Furthermore, the results highlight job crafting strategies for enhancing job satisfaction and productivity when working from home in the post-pandemic world, thus offering valuable insights for researchers and practitioners.
... Similar results were also observed in studies developed before [24] and during [14] the pandemic. Still, caution should be made when comparing these findings with ours, for instance since workers in high-income countries were used to WFH even before the pandemic [49]. ...
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Background This study documents and compares temporal patterns of physical behaviours, assessed using accelerometry, on working and non-working days among normal-weight (body mass index [BMI] < 25 kg/m ² ) and overweight (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m ² ) office workers who were either working exclusively at the office (WAO) or exclusively from home (WFH) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods In this cross-sectional study, behaviours were measured over 7 days using a thigh-worn accelerometer in 43 workers WAO (21 normal-weight and 22 overweight) and 73 workers WFH (33 normal-weight and 40 overweight). 24-h behaviours were completely described in terms of sitting in short (≤ 5 min), moderate (> 5 and ≤ 30 min) and long bouts (> 30 min), non-sitting in short (≤ 5 min) and long bouts (> 5 min), and time-in-bed. These behaviour compositions were transformed into five isometric log-ratios (ilr) coordinates according to compositional data analysis procedures. Differences between workplace (WAO vs. WFH) and BMI groups (normal-weight vs. overweight) were tested using ANCOVA with adjustment for age and gender. Results Compared to workers WAO, workers WFH spent more time-in-bed relative to time awake during working days, more time sitting relative to non-sitting, less time in short bouts of sitting relative to moderate and long bouts, less time in moderate bouts of sitting relative to long bouts, and more time non-sitting in short bouts relative to long bouts. Effect sizes [ $$\eta_{p}^{2}$$ η p 2 ] were between 0.05 and 0.21 and p -values between < 0.001 and 0.04. Irrespective of workplace, overweight workers spent less time sitting in short relative to moderate and long bouts ( $$\eta_{p}^{2}$$ η p 2 = 0.06, p = 0.01) than normal-weight workers, while differences in the other ilr coordinates were insignificant. During non-working days, behaviours did not differ significantly by workplace, while overweight workers spent more time sitting relative to non-sitting ( $$\eta_{p}^{2}$$ η p 2 = 0.10, p < 0.001), less time sitting in short relative to moderate and long bouts ( $$\eta_{p}^{2}$$ η p 2 = 0.13, p < 0.001), and less time sitting in moderate relative to long bouts ( $$\eta_{p}^{2}$$ η p 2 = 0.04, p = 0.03) than normal-weight workers. We found no interactions between workplace and BMI. Conclusions Our findings suggest that WFH and being overweight predispose to more time sitting and less temporal variation in behaviours, thus reinforcing that these workers could likely benefit from interventions to reduce prolonged sitting time and increase variation.
... Due to the advancement of information technology and globalization, remote working from home has gained significant importance [3,13]. It has been intensified and confirmed as a practical tool for employee protection and sustaining economic activities, particularly in the context of the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic [3,14]. ...
... Having said that, teleworking is not without its drawbacks, which include increased social and professional isolation and reduced access to resources (Kurland and Bailey, 2000). According to Tavares (2017), under normal circumstances, when weighing the advantages of teleworking against its drawbacks, the former is more likely associated with health benefits. According to Ipsen et al. (2021), whose findings extended to the pandemic but were not specifically focused on interpersonal conflict and psychological well-being, most workers viewed working from home as a more positive experience than a negative one. ...
... Homework involves traditional manual work carried out at home, mostly by low-skilled workers and often paid by the piece. Home-based telework is a specific form of telework and refers to work performed at home using ICT (Tavares, 2017). The official definition of "telework" can be found in the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010: "the term 'telework' or 'teleworking' refers to a work flexibility arrangement under which an employee performs the duties and responsibilities of such employee's position, and other authorized activities, from an approved worksite other than the location from which the employee would otherwise work." ...
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Human history has witnessed great ruptures that have affected all societies in different periods of time. Depressions and crises such as wars, natural disasters (famine, earthquake, fire, climate irregularities, among others.). The descriptive statistics was employ in the study were a structured questionnaire was used to collect information from the target respondent who were the employees of Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, Delta State. The broad objective is to investigate the effect of Covid-19 on human capital development in Federal Medical Centre; Asaba, Delta State. The population of the study was 420, which Taro Yamene was used to arrive at the sample size of 204. Three hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The findings revealed that the telework has significant effect on employee work skill in FMC Asaba; Zoom has significant effect on job knowledge of employees in FMC, Asaba. However, social distancing has negative and significant effect on job competence of employees in FMC, Asaba. Based on the findings, the following recommendations were made; The disease has already killed thousands of people, and some people who survive may suffer long-term damage to their health. Recovery from the pandemic will require strong investment in both education and health. Keywords: Telework, Social Distancing, Zoom, Skills, Knowledge and Competence.
... However, there is concern that those who partake in teleworking, a phenomenon which spread rapidly after the COVID-19 pandemic, have inadequate knowledge of how to maintain good health [20,21]. Some studies have reported that teleworking could have various effects on mental health, such as increased stress due to the difficulty of separating work and personal life and social isolation due to the lack of face-to-face interactions [22][23][24][25][26][27][28]. Individual differences in the benefits and harms of telework have also been reported, and various work conditions such as telework frequency, location, social support, etc., may cause them [29]. ...
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Social jetlag is associated with physical and mental health problems. With the increased popularity of telework, we investigated a specific form of social jetlag that we termed “telework jetlag”. This study aimed to clarify the relationship between telework jetlag—the difference in sleep and wake-up times between in-office and telework days—and mental health problems among Japanese hybrid workers. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 1789 participants from October to December 2021 using an online-based questionnaire. Telework jetlag, defined as the difference in the midsleep point between in-office and telework days, was investigated using two groups according to telework jetlag—those lagging <1 h versus ≥1 h. We used the six-item Kessler Scale as a nonspecific psychological distress scale for the outcome. Telework jetlag was significantly associated with psychological distress, and the ≥1 h group had a higher risk (odds ratio: 1.80) of developing high psychological distress (HPD) than the <1 h group in the multivariate analysis. Since most teleworkers are forced to have a hybrid work style that mixes going to work and teleworking, telework jetlag must be addressed to maintain the health of teleworkers.
... Previous research has evaluated the impact of telework on employee performance and psychological state. Some studies suggested that telework can help employees strike a work-life balance and increase productivity [4,5]; however, others reported the negative effects of telework on teleworkers' emotional health [6,7]. Some researchers maintained that the sudden shift to telework may lead to psychological maladaptation issues, including isolation, worry, and anxiety, especially among workers accustomed to traditional officebased work [8]. ...
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With the outbreak of COVID-19, organizations have increased non-face-to-face work. This study aims to examine how leaders’ influence tactics affect employees’ psychological state and job performance in a non-face-to-face work (telework) setting. Moreover, based on substitutes for leadership theory, the study proposes that teleworkers’ perceived organizational support moderates the relationship between leaders’ influence tactics and their job stress in telework settings. We collected data via time-lagged surveys among 208 full-time employees in South Korean organizations that began teleworking after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results showed that leaders’ soft tactics (i.e., behaviors used to elicit the followers’ voluntary acceptance of a request) and rational tactics (i.e., behaviors that exert influence by providing empirical evidence based on reason or logic) significantly reduced teleworkers’ job stress, which in turn lowered their turnover intention and increased their task performance. Moreover, these tactics and teleworkers’ perceived organizational support interact to influence the workers’ job stress. By examining how leaders’ influence tactics affect teleworkers’ psychological stress, task performance, and turnover intention in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, this study theoretically broadens the influence tactics literature, which previously focused primarily on face-to-face workers. The study concludes with a discussion about the implications of findings and limitations, along with areas for future research.
COVID-19 has represented a crisis and a turning point in business dynamics. The lockdown forced people to work from home in a more flexible and technologically intensive manner. Now, well into the post-COVID-19 lockdown phase, there are numerous challenges for organizations, particularly, a person-centered leadership that may drive the co-creation of value through greater flexibility, optimal technology use, efficiency, and collaborator well-being. In this framework, adhocracy is proposed and discussed as a model to build work communities that respond to the needs of the post-pandemic lockdown world.
Working from home was seen as one of the most convenient options to respond to productivity needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, but this type of work caused significant social and organizational changes, which demanded the employees' adaptation to new working conditions. The present study aims to describe the health habits developed during quarantine periods under the work-from-home modality. It also seeks to establish the relationships between these habits and perceived productivity, and to identify preferences for returning to the workplace based on productivity in a sample of 588 workers from Colombia. The results indicated that approximately half of the participants reported a perception of lower productivity, and the most prominent habit associated with perceived productivity was exercising. The relationship between productivity and the preference for returning to the workplace showed those who reported higher productivity preferences favored a hybrid work model, while those perceiving lower productivity preferred a return to in-person work.
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If homeworking becomes more common, there are dangers and benefits both for the organizations and the individuals involved.
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact of remote e‐working on the key research areas of work‐life balance, job effectiveness and well‐being. The study provides a set of generalisable themes drawn from the key research areas, including building trust, management style and the quality of work and non‐working life. Design/methodology/approach The paper is an exploratory study into the psychological factors affecting remote e‐workers using qualitative thematic analysis of eleven in‐depth interviews with e‐workers, across five organisations and three sectors. All participants worked remotely using technology independent of time and location for several years and considered themselves to be experts. Findings The paper provides insights into the diverse factors affecting remote e‐workers and produces ten emerging themes. Differentiating factors between e‐workers included access to technology, ability to work flexibly and individual competencies. Adverse impacts were found on well‐being, due to over‐working and a lack of time for recuperation. Trust and management style were found to be key influences on e‐worker effectiveness. Research limitations/implications Because of the exploratory nature of the research and approach the research requires further testing for generalisability. The emerging themes could be used to develop a wide‐scale survey of e‐workers, whereby the themes would be further validated. Practical implications Practical working examples are provided by the e‐workers and those who also manage e‐workers based on the ten emerging themes. Originality/value This paper identifies a number of generalisable themes that can be used to inform the psychological factors affecting remote e‐worker effectiveness.
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Home‐based teleworking (HbTW) has the potential to provide significant benefits to both employer and employee, but also presents considerable challenges. This paper considers HbTW among UK employees, specifically exploring distinctions in the time‐use of men and women home‐based teleworkers and the impacts of HbTW on employee satisfaction levels, using cross‐section fixed effects panel regression analysis of the British Household Panel Survey. Findings reveal that total time‐use in work activities among men and women home‐based teleworkers is relatively comparable, but the distribution significantly different. For women, housework represents a particular time constraint, reflecting continued presence of the ‘double‐shift’. Homeworkers report greater levels of satisfaction, yet they are more pronounced in respect to paid work than leisure time. Extensive hours of housework reported among women may explain these differences. Nevertheless, home‐based teleworkers report greater levels of satisfaction than other workers, suggesting considerable benefits especially for working mothers.
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The progress of human societies has always been associated with mobility and transportation. Since the earliest homo sapiens migrated from their cave dwellings over 100,000 years ago to establish civilizations in the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, human achievement and societal well-being has been dependent on our ability to transport ourselves and the goods that we produce. While the information age has radically modified both work products and the means of transportation, physical mobility on roadway systems remains fundamental to our commerce, recreation, and other life-sustaining activities. Indeed, mobility is very much associated with well-being, but the relationship is not uniform, as higher levels of travel may be reflective of constraints on opportunities, depletion of resources, and impairments to personal health and job performance. Contemporary urban societies are fraught with stressful environmental conditions, among which traffic congestion features prominently. Remaining attached to the mode of private automobile travel and constrained by the availability of affordable housing, workers endure congested commutes and absorb the stressful consequences. As Dubos (1965, 1969) observed about human adaptation, we seem to develop tolerances to aversive environmental conditions and apparently function effectively in these less than healthy environs; however, as he also asserted, such adaptations in the present will be paid by misery in the future. Although potentially harmful urban conditions, such as exposure to noise, air pollution, and traffic congestion, become acceptable through habituation, the adaptive adjustments are achieved at the price of physical or psychological disturbances later in life.
Purpose: To investigate the influence of the intensity of telecommuting on employee health. Design: Study design comprised a longitudinal analysis of employee demographic data, medical claims, health risk assessment data, and remote connectivity hours. Setting: Data from Prudential Financial served as the setting. Subjects: Active employees ages 18 to 64 years who completed the health risk assessment between 2010 and 2011 were the study subjects. Measures: Measures included telecommuting status and intensity, and eight indicators of health risk status (obesity, depression, stress, tobacco use, alcohol abuse, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and an overall risk measure), with employee age, sex, race-ethnicity, job grade, management status, and work location as control variables. Analysis: Health risks were determined for nontelecommuters and telecommuters working remotely ≤8, 9 to 32, 33 to 72, and ≥73 hours per month. Longitudinal models for each health risk were estimated, controlling for demographic and job characteristics. Results: Telecommuting health risks varied by telecommuting intensity. Nontelecommuters were at greater risk for obesity, alcohol abuse, physical inactivity, and tobacco use, and were at greater overall risk than at least one of the telecommuting groups. Employees who telecommuted ≤8 hours per month were significantly less likely than nontelecommuters to experience depression. There was no association between telecommuting and stress or nutrition. Conclusion: Results suggest that employees may benefit from telecommuting opportunities.
The authors examined the direct and indirect effects of organizational policies and practices that are supportive of family responsibilities on work-family conflict and psychological, physical, and behavioral measures of strain. Survey data were gathered at 45 acute-care facilities from 398 health professionals who had children aged 16 years or younger at home. Supportive practices, especially flexible scheduling and supportive supervisors, had direct positive effects on employee perceptions of control over work and family matters. Control perceptions, in turn, were associated with lower levels of work-family conflict, job dissatisfaction, depression, somatic complaints, and blood cholesterol. These results suggest that organizations can take steps that can increase employees' control over family responsibilities and that this control might help employees better manage conflicting demands of work and family life.
Travelling salespeople have a rather unusual working environment, with long periods of absence from their firm and a low level of social contacts with colleagues. Furthermore, they are exposed to high demands in their work, which may conflict with a normal family life. In this paper a cross-sectional study of psychosocial work environment and mental health of Danish travelling salespeople is described. A sample of 1,306 travelling salespeople filled in a questionnaire (response rate 68%). The results indicate that poor mental health is associated with a number of demand indicators: number of working hours per week, number of customers per week, non-day work, and a high level of perceived job demands. On the other hand, the number of hours spent with customers per week is positively associated with mental health. The authors did not find the expected associations between poor mental health and several factors such as number of hours away from firm, nights away from home, and a low degree of perceived support from colleagues and superiors. It is concluded that the main stressors of travelling salespeople are long working hours, many customers, non-day work and high perceived psychological demands in general.
Flexible work arrangements, or organizational practises that permit employees to adjust their work schedule or location to better manage demands outside of work, are a popular family-friendly benefit. There is relatively little research examining the health outcomes associated with flexibility and no published studies examining associations with health care utilization. We analyzed responses to self-administered Health Risk Appraisals (HRAs) completed by employees of a large multinational pharmaceutical company in the USA (N = 2976). The HRA included measures of perceived flexibility and self-appraised health. Health care utilization records from the year following completion of the HRA were merged with the self-reported data. Greater levels of flexibility were associated with better health: that is, with less self-reported stress and strain, and better physical health. Flexibility was not related to either acute visits to a health care provider or number of prescriptions. However, after controlling for self-reported health, those participants with greater flexibility had marginally more health care visits. The results suggest that, despite their other benefits, workplace flexibility programmes are unlikely to reduce organizational health care costs in the short term.
Teleworking, the increasingly common practice, which involves working away from the office using technology, entails changes in the experience of work. Such changes may influence the demands and resources associated with a job. While research on burnout has addressed the role of exhaustion and job engagement using the Job Demands‐Resources model, existing literature has focused on traditional work modes. This paper explores the effects on job demands and resources to understand the processes through which telework impacts the exhaustion and engagement of the teleworker. We find that the positive effect of telework revolves around reduced work pressure and role conflict and increased autonomy. The negative effect of telework is expressed through increased role ambiguity and reduced support and feedback. Overall, we find that telework is negatively related to both exhaustion and job engagement and that job demands and resources mediate these relationships.