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Abstract

While a considerable number of employees across the globe are being forced to work from home due to the COVID-19 crisis, it is a guessing game as to how they are experiencing this current surge in telework. Therefore, we examined employee perceptions of telework on various life and career aspects, distinguishing between typical and extended telework during the COVID-19 crisis. To this end, we conducted a state-of-the-art web survey among Flemish employees. Notwithstanding this exceptional time of sudden, obligatory and high-intensity telework, our respondents mainly attribute positive characteristics to teleworking, such as increased efficiency and a lower risk of burnout. The results also suggest that the overwhelming majority of the surveyed employees believe that teleworking (85%) and digital conferencing (81%) are here to stay. In contrast, some fear that telework diminishes their promotion opportunities and weakens ties with their colleagues and employer. *** A DISCUSSION PAPER VERSION OF THIS STUDY IF FREELY DOWNLOADABLE HERE: https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp13229.html
DISCUSSION PAPER SERIES
IZA DP No. 13229
Stijn Baert
Louis Lippens
Eline Moens
Philippe Sterkens
Johannes Weytjens
The COVID-19 Crisis and Telework:
A Research Survey on Experiences,
Expectations and Hopes
MAY 2020
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DISCUSSION PAPER SERIES
ISSN: 2365-9793
IZA DP No. 13229
The COVID-19 Crisis and Telework:
A Research Survey on Experiences,
Expectations and Hopes
MAY 2020
Stijn Baert
Ghent University, University of Antwerp,
Université catholique de Louvain, IZA and
IMISCOE
Louis Lippens
Ghent University
Eline Moens
Ghent University
Philippe Sterkens
Ghent University
Johannes Weytjens
Ghent University
ABSTRACT
IZA DP No. 13229 MAY 2020
The COVID-19 Crisis and Telework:
A Research Survey on Experiences,
Expectations and Hopes*
While a considerable number of employees across the globe are being forced to work from
home due to the COVID-19 crisis, it is a guessing game as to how they are experiencing
this current surge in telework. Therefore, we examined employee perceptions of telework
on various life and career aspects, distinguishing between typical and extended telework
during the COVID-19 crisis. To this end, we conducted a state-of-the-art web survey among
Flemish employees. Notwithstanding this exceptional time of sudden, obligatory and high-
intensity telework, our respondents mainly attribute positive characteristics to teleworking,
such as increased efficiency and a lower risk of burnout. The results also suggest that the
overwhelming majority of the surveyed employees believe that teleworking (85%) and
digital conferencing (81%) are here to stay. In contrast, some fear that telework diminishes
their promotion opportunities and weakens ties with their colleagues and employer.
JEL Classification: J22, J28, D24, I10, J15, J24
Keywords: COVID-19, telework, videoconferencing, career
Corresponding author:
Stijn Baert
Ghent University
Sint-Pietersplein 6
9000 Ghent
Belgium
E-mail: Stijn.Baert@UGent.be
* We are grateful to Simon Amez, Brecht Neyt and Hannah Van Borm for their help in promoting the survey, and
to Erik Meersseman and Anja Termote (both from the General Directorate of Statistics, Statistics Belgium) for their
support in providing data for the post-stratification of the sample.
2
1. Introduction
In the popular media, there have been many references to the potentially disruptive
medium- and long-term impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the careers of citizens from
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries (e.g. Hinchliffe,
2020; Kelly, 2020; Makortoff, 2020; Reidy, 2020; Rosenthal, 2020). In this respect, there is
the fear that an economic crisis, as a consequence of the current health crisis, will serve as
an intermediary factor (Atkeson, 2020; ILO, 2020; McKibbin & Fernando, 2020; OECD, 2020).
It is expected that this economic crisis will have predominantly negative effects, such as
declining economic growth, disintegrating supply chains and deteriorating employment
prospects (BBC, 2020; Financial Times, 2020; OECD, 2020; Tan, 2020; Tappe & Kurtz, 2020;
Vermogen & Vervenne, 2020). Nonetheless, opportunities may also arise. For instance, the
upcoming crisis could allow for the emergence of a greener economy or promote a boost in
online communication and its supporting technologies (Cox & Piccolo, 2020; Henriques,
2020; Henschel & Cross, 2020; Politico Magazine, 2020). Along with flourishing online
communication (technologies), some have also suggested that COVID-19 could be the basis
for a breakthrough in telework (De Preter, 2020; Knutson, 2020).
However, it is unclear whether this belief in a structural breakthrough in teleworking
exists only in the minds of journalists because of the limited, or asymmetrical, information
they have access to, or whether it is shared by a wider proportion of the working population.
Moreover, it is unclear to what extent the (i) broader population relates (increased)
telework to (un)beneficial outcomes in various life and career outcomes and (ii) whether
these perceptions vary by sociodemographic or job characteristics. In response to this, in
the current study, we present data on these issues gathered from a panel of Flemish
employees, representative with respect to age, gender and education level. The following
research questions are answered.
Research question 1a (RQ1a): How do employees perceive the impact of telework, in
general, on other career aspects?
Research question 1b (RQ1b): Are these perceptions heterogeneous by
sociodemographic and job characteristics?
3
Research question 2a (RQ2a): How do employees perceive the impact of extended
telework during the COVID-19 crisis on various life and career aspects?
Research question 2b (RQ2b): Are these perceptions heterogeneous by
sociodemographic and job characteristics?
Research question 3a (RQ3a): To what extent has the COVID-19 crisis impacted
employees’ personal views on telework and digital meetings?
Research question 3b (RQ3b): Are these perceptions heterogeneous by
sociodemographic and job characteristics?
By answering these questions, we not only contribute to the scientific literature on the
(expected) socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis (Atkeson, 2020; Baert,
Lippens, Moens, Sterkens, & Weytjens, 2020; Evenett, 2020; McKibbin & Fernando, 2020),
but also to the scientific literature on telework and, more specifically, (i) the evaluation of
telework by employees and (ii) the (objective and perceived) career consequences of
telework (Aguilera, Lethiais, Rallet, & Proulhac, 2016; Allen & Shockley, 2009;
Charalampous, Grant, Tramontano, & Michailidis, 2019; Gajendran & Harrison, 2007;
Redman, Snape, & Ashurst, 2009; Sardeshmukh, Sharma, & Golden, 2012).
2. Data
2.1. Main items
We analysed the responses of a sample of Flemish employees (see below) as part of a
broader COVID-19-related survey (for analysis of the other parts of this survey, please refer
to Baert et al., 2020). With respect to answering the research questions posed in the present
study, three sets of items were submitted to the respondents; a complete list of item labels
and statements can be found in Appendix A.
First, for RQ1a and RQ1b, all respondents were asked to evaluate telework and its
perceived career consequences in general, independent of how the COVID-19 crisis affected
their current telework arrangements. Each of the ten items concerning general career
4
consequences of telework featured in our survey was derived from meta-analyses or
reviews on the consequences of telework (Charalampous et al., 2019; Gajendran & Harrison,
2007; Redman et al., 2009). More concretely, the items related to the following, frequently
occurring themes in the telework literature: social isolation (item ‘my relationship with my
colleagues’); professional isolation (‘my chances of promotion and my professional
development’); performance (‘my efficiency in performing tasks’ and my concentration
during work’); work-life balance (‘my work-life balance’); organisational attitudes (‘my
overall satisfaction with my job’ and ‘my feeling of connectedness with my employer’); and
other consequences of telework related to well-being (‘minimising my work-related stress’
and ‘minimising my chances of burnout’). This resulted in a combined list of both proximal
outcomes (work-life balance and relationship with colleagues) and distal outcomes of
telework (the remaining items), in line with the framework of Gajendran and Harrison
(2007). The panel members were asked to evaluate these items on a five-point Likert scale,
ranging from a certainly negative effect (1) to a certainly positive effect (5).
Second, relating to RQ2a and RQ2b, active employees who were confronted with
increased teleworking due to the COVID-19 crisis at the moment of the survey were asked
to evaluate statements regarding this situation of extended teleworking on a five-point
Likert scale, ranging from ‘completely disagree’ (1) to ‘completely agree’ (5). We started by
surveying the respondents about their general satisfaction with the extended teleworking
arrangement. Then, we surveyed them on the potential negative side effects due to
increased teleworking because of the COVID-19 crisis: (i) family or professional conflicts; (ii)
disturbances by roommates; and (iii) difficulties in combining different means of
communication. As increased teleworking blurs the boundaries between work and family
roles (Charalampous et al., 2019; Gajendran & Harrison, 2007), we would expect more
conflicts and disturbances involving housemates, especially among those employees who
are inexperienced in teleworking. According to Gajendran and Harrison (2007), the
beneficial impact of teleworking on work-family conflict and role stress largely depends on
the learning curve associated with the telecommuting, with more experienced teleworkers
associating it with having an increased beneficial impact. Next, guidance from the
employer––a critical condition for successful teleworking (Allen & Shockley, 2009)––and the
ease with which employees convinced their employer to offer telework arrangements in this
exceptional situation of sudden and high-intensity telework were evaluated. Then, and in
5
line with additionally occurring themes in the telework literature (as outlined above), we
included items on task efficiency, commitment, work-life balance, relationship with
colleagues, stress management, burnout prevention and work concentration.
A third, and final, set of items included for answering RQ3a and RQ3b dealt with the
extent to which the COVID-19 crisis had changed the respondents’ views on teleworking and
digital conferencing, and whether they believed that the level of teleworking and digital
conferencing would be permanently increased as a result of this crisis. Our entire study
sample (see below) was asked whether (i) their personal view on teleworking had become
more positive as a consequence of the current crisis, (ii) whether they hoped to perform
more telework in the future, and (iii) whether they believed telework would increase in
prevalence in the future. The respondents also received similar questions about digital
meetings. Said items were evaluated on a five-point Likert scale, ranging from ‘completely
disagree’ (1) to ‘completely agree’ (5).
2.2. Survey construction
The overall survey construction was grounded in the seminal surveying handbooks of
Bethlehem and Biffignandi (2012), Fowler (2014) and Tourangeau, Conrad, and Couper
(2013). The following paragraphs illustrate the important decisions we made to optimise the
reliability and validity of the instrument. For a more thorough discussion of these concerns
and of the institutional setting, please see Baert et al. (2020).
First, non-differentiation (participants responding randomly, simply out of fatigue;
Bethlehem & Biffignandi, 2012) was counteracted by presenting a limited number of items
at a time and by using comprehensible wording (e.g. no double-barrelled constructions;
Lietz, 2010; McPherson & Mohr, 2005). In addition, following the advice of Weijters,
Cabooter, and Schillewaert (2010), the items were scored using a fully-labelled five-point
Likert scales, where the phrasing of the item allowed us to do that. To stimulate qualitative
responses, we deliberately excluded the option ‘I do not know’ from the scales (Bethlehem
& Biffignandi, 2012).
Second, next to conscientious item development, the data quality and survey
completion rates were enhanced by introducing raffle prizes and displaying a progress
6
indicator, respectively (Göritz, 2006; Tourangeau et al., 2013).
Third, adhering to the standards of first-rate surveying practices, the measuring
instrument underwent pilot testing amongst 55 respondents. Throughout the pilot testing,
the respondents were structurally questioned on (i) the clarity of expectations, (ii) the
wording and (iii) topics that had potentially been neglected.
Last, upon completing the data collection, data cleaning and sensitivity analyses were
employed to further augment the quality of the response sets. The results remained robust
after performing said analyses. Specifically, inattentive participants who failed to correctly
answer a ‘trap’ question were not included in our basic sample (see below). Also, those
participants with very short completion times (i.e. within 5% of the shortest survey duration)
were removed from the final panel in the robustness analyses.
With respect to answering RQ1b, RQ2b and RQ3b, we also used all of the data from the
part of the broader survey that addressed the sociodemographic and job characteristics of
the respondents. This enabled us to more concretely assess the heterogeneity with regard
to the respondents’ gender, age, migration background, education level, relationship status,
number of resident children and other (extended) family members, province, degree of
urbanisation of their residence, and health status (prior to the COVID-19 crisis, overall
current status and having been infected by COVID-19), as well as their type of employment
contract, the part-time (versus full-time) nature of this contract, their tenure (with the
current employer and in the current job), their level of job satisfaction, four key
characteristics relating to the design of their job (i.e. autonomy, dependency on others,
interaction outside of the organisation and feedback from others), and their sector of
employment.
2.3. Sampling
Ideally, the representativeness of our study sample would have been established by means
of probability sampling, where all participants completed the surveythe latter being a
condition that is often forgotten about (Bethlehem & Biffignandi, 2012; Fowler, 2014;
Tourangeau et al., 2013). However, practical constraints, such as the requirement for
sampling through national registers, after ethical approval and follow-up by the registry
7
office in cases of the non-response of participants, made us conclude that probability
sampling was neither feasible nor desirable. Given the surging rates of telework and
temporary unemployment, the scientific community and policymakers required immediate
insights on how the working population was experiencing changes in their work situations.
Our study, based on web surveying, had several perks with respect to data collection.
Compared to other methods (such as physical and telephonic interviews), web surveying
allows data to be collected from a large sample. Here, 14,005 individuals filled in the survey.
Finally, in our case, the sampling was not hampered by a common limitation of web surveys
namely, an under-coverage of the studied populationthrough the exclusion of individuals
not connected to the internet, in the sense that the teleworkers, by default, had internet
access.
However, a substantial threat to the representativeness of our sampleas with nearly
all web surveyswas self-selection (i.e. respondents themselves choosing whether they
answer a call to participate or not). More concretely, self-selection is a peril to the
representativeness of a sample when respondents differ systematically from non-
responders in terms of the surveyed variables. To mitigate this threat, we applied a post-
stratification strategy, as recommended by Bethlehem and Biffignandi (2012) and
Tourangeau et al. (2013). That is, we wanted our sample to be representative, with respect
to (i) gender, (ii) age and (iii) education level, of the population of Flemish employees under
the age of 65 years. Specifically, we aimed for representativeness of this population using
eight cells (‘strata’), combining two levels of each of the auxiliary variables: males versus
females; tertiary education versus no tertiary education; and being at least 50 years old or
being younger. Therefore, we identified the stratum in the total sample of 14,005
respondents that was most underrepresented when compared to the 2019 population
averages for Flemish employees under 65 years, which was female workers without tertiary
education aged 50 years or older. All complete responses (with correct answers to our ‘trap’
question; see above) from this stratum were included in the basic sample for this stratum.
For the other seven strata, respondents were randomly drawn based on their proportions
in the population. Applying this post-stratification resulted in a basic sample of 3,821
individuals.
We excluded, from this basic sample, respondents whose jobs did not allow for
8
teleworking. More concretely, respondents who indicated that less than 10% of their work
could potentially be done via telework were removed from the panel, which resulted in a
study sample of 2,673 participants.
The items related to RQ2a and RQ2b (see above) were only submitted to individuals
experiencing extended telework due to the COVID-19 crisis at the moment of the survey.
This subsample comprised 1,895 individuals. Figure 1 summarises the sampling framework.
<Figure 1 about here>
2.4. Summary statistics
Table 1 contains the summary statistics concerning the personal and job characteristics of
our study sample, and our subsample of individuals with extended telework resulting from
the COVID-19 crisis. The scales we used are referred to in the notes of Table 1. As can be
seen in this table, highly educated individuals and individuals active in education were
strongly represented in the subsample of individuals with extended telework, while,
compared to the full study sample, there were significantly fewer individuals active in the
logistics and transport and technology sectors who experience increased telework.
<Table 1 about here>
3. Results
3.1. Perceived impact of telework in general on various career aspects
Figure 2 provides an overview of the panel’s responses to the survey items relating to RQ1a
and RQ1b. Table 2 summarises the results of a regression analysis in which these responses
were classified according to the personal and job characteristics surveyed. More precisely,
we performed linear regression analyses in which the standard errors were corrected for
heteroscedasticity (White correction). Ordered logistic models and dummy specifications
for the continuous explanatory variables included in the regression models led to the same
insights. A complete overview of the numerical regression results for the first item (i.e.
9
perceived positive impact of teleworking on overall job satisfaction) is included in Table B1
in Appendix B.
<Figure 2 about here>
<Table 2 about here>
As can be seen in Figure 2 and Table 2, the panel members believe that telework has a
strong positive effect in general. Almost two-thirds (65.7%) indicate that their overall
satisfaction with their job increases with telework. Similarly, 64.6% think that telework
improves their work-life balance, whilst about half of the respondents believe that telework
helps to minimise both work-related stress (48.4%) and the chance of burnout (47.6%). The
effects of telework on performance are also positively evaluated, with respondents
asserting that telework improves their efficiency in performing tasks (56.3%) and increases
their work concentration (50.7%). These positive effects of teleworking on job satisfaction,
work-life balance, role stress, burnout and performance are in line with the findings of
previous studies (Charalampous et al., 2019; Gajendran & Harrison, 2007; Redman et al.,
2009).
These positive views on telework are particularly expressed by women. In this respect,
our findings corroborate a growing body of evidence on telecommuting, such as the
systematic review of Charalampous et al. (2019) and the meta-analysis of Gajendran and
Harrison (2007). That is, women reportedly experience a smaller negative effect of telework
on potential work-family conflicts and a greater increase in job performance compared to
men. An underlying explanation might be found in traditional gender roles, which
presumably give women more care responsibilities than men. As such, it could be more
difficult for women to combine these responsibilities with job-related responsibilities due to
school and childcare closures (Queisser, Adema, & Clarke, 2020). Telework can be a way to
facilitate this combination.
Older respondents more often agree that telework has a positive effect on work-related
stress and on their concentration. This might relate to the study of Aguilera et al. (2016),
who found that telework is often associated with a quieter and less stressful work
environment, which older respondents may benefit more from when it comes to stress
management and concentration.
10
In addition, respondents who strongly depend on others in their job, as well as those
who receive a lot of feedback, share these positive views less often. Indeed, when one’s job
is highly dependent on others, it is likely that coordination problems with colleagues due to
teleworking occur more frequently. Such coordination problems can cause enhanced
negative consequences for telework (Allen & Shockley, 2009). In turn, respondents who
receive a lot of feedback, which is considered as an important aspect of job satisfaction and
job performance (Anseels & Lievens, 2007; Stajkovic & Luthans, 2003), might fear receiving
less feedback when teleworking. In this respect, previous research has indeed shown that
reduced face-to-face interaction restricts the possibility of giving immediate feedback or
praise (Hallowel, 1999; Sardeshmukh et al., 2012).
Even though teleworking is mostly thought of in a positive manner, there are some
downsides with regard to career development, future prospects and the social aspects of
not working in a regular office. Most notably, about a quarter of the panel members believe
that telework decreases their chance of promotion (27.0%) and hampers their professional
development (29.4%). Additionally, more than half of the respondents think that telework
has a negative effective on their relationships with their colleagues (57.5%), while the sense
of connectedness with their employer is lowered in the perception of about half (47.4%) of
the panel members.
Again, these findings are in line with previous research. Charalampous et al. (2019)
noted that increased telework can isolate employees, both socially and professionally. In
addition, Redman et al. (2009) found that telework can reduce the support employees
receive from their employer with regard to their personal and professional development.
This is also reminiscent of the relationship that Moens et al. (2019) previously established
between temporary contracts and loneliness at work.
Respondents who attained a tertiary level of education experience relatively more
negative consequences from telework on promotion opportunities, professional
development, commitment and relationships with colleagues, which is surprising because
highly-skilled and autonomous workers are the most likely to telecommute (Aguilera et al.,
2016). An explanation for this finding might be that these workers, being the most likely to
telecommute, might already have been accustomed to the benefits of teleworking.
11
3.2. Perceived impact of extended telework during the COVID-19 crisis
on various life and career aspects
The survey items relating to RQ2a and RQ2b are analysed by analogy with those discussed
in the previous subsection. Figure 3 and Table 3 start off with evidence for a large majority
of our subsample with extended telework being satisfied with the increase in teleworking
(65.9%). This result is not surprising, given three complementary observations. First,
notwithstanding the sudden onset of the COVID-19 crisis that forced employers to rapidly
transition to telework without being able to prepare, more than half of the subsample feels
well guided by their employer (53.2%), which is a critical condition for successful teleworking
(Allen & Shockley, 2009). Second, the idea that the extended telework is beneficial, with
regard to stress and burnout prevention, and to on-the-job concentration, holds for almost
half of the employees with extended telework (45.7% reportedly experience less work-
related stress, 44.7% note that they can concentrate better on their work, and 42.7% believe
the extended telework decreases their chances of burnout in the near future). In addition,
more than half (55.7%) feel that the extended telework has a positive effect on their work-
life balance. Third, only a small share of the respondents with extended telework (17.3%)
experience significant difficulties in combining different means of communication while
teleworking.
<Figure 3 about here>
<Table 3 about here>
Beyond the professional benefits, the effects of the extended telework on non-career-
related aspects are rather limited. About half of the employees with extended telework
(57.2%) do not encounter additional conflicts with their family members as a result of the
telework arrangements, nor are they more often disturbed by their family members
(48.9%). In this context, we must note that the survey was conducted at the beginning of
the COVID-19 crisis. However, the idea of reduced social interaction with their colleagues
and employer are materialised, with almost two-thirds reporting a weaker bond with their
colleagues (64.0%) and more than half feeling less connected with their employer (56.0%).
As for some items concerning general telework, the survey responses hint at a potential
age difference. Older employees report many of the benefits more often, such as being able
12
to work more efficiently and having higher levels of concentration thanks to the extended
telework. In addition, older employees reportedly experience significantly fewer conflicts
with family members due to the extended telework, and are less often disturbed by them.
Previous research has shown that older participants might be less accustomed to telework
(Twenge & Campbell, 2008). Our results, however, show that their experiences with
teleworking are evaluated very positively. This might be related to the fact that older people
are at higher risk from COVID-19 (Kluge, 2020), and thus are more appreciative of the
possibility of working from home.
Respondents with children are less satisfied with the extended telework. This is not
surprising as, during the COVID-19 crisis, telework often has to be combined with taking care
of the children (due to the closure of schools and daycare facilities), which is a challenging
combination that does not occur in normal telework situations. Due to the COVID-19 crisis,
the respondents suddenly have had to combine working from home with tending to their
children.
Interestingly, the respondents with a migration background in our panel report stronger
positive effects for (the extended) telework than employees without a migration
background. More precisely, they report a stronger positive impact of telework in general
on their relationships with their colleagues and employer (which ties in with the findings
disclosed in subsection 3.1). Moreover, they experience fewer professional conflicts and
experience higher levels of commitment towards their employer due to the extended
telework, and also found it less difficult to convince their employer to allow them to
telecommute during the COVID-19 crisis. Although this finding might equally relate to a
selection problem, in the sense that a selective subset of persons with a migration
background might have selected themselves for our sample, we put forward two potential
reasons why employees with a migration background might fare better than others on these
aspects. A first explanation is based on discrimination research that shows that jobs where
interaction with colleagues and customers is prominent, ethnic minorities are more likely to
be discriminated against in the selection process (Baert, Cockx, Gheyle, & Van Damme,
2015; Bodvarsson & Partridge, 2001; Boyd-Swan & Herbst, 2019; Combes, Decreuse,
Laouénan, & Trannoy, 2016; Laouénan, 2017; McGinnity & Lunn, 2011). Under the
assumption that teleworking, by definition, reduces physical, personal interaction (Kirk &
13
Belovics, 2006), the negative effects of the perceived discrimination may be reduced. A
second explanation lies in the claim that ethnic salience—the extent to which one’s
personally identifying characteristics and affiliations underscore one’s ethnicity (e.g. skin
tone)also contributes to increased discriminatory behaviour in a professional work
context (Avery, Hernandez, & Hebl, 2004; Baert & De Pauw, 2014; Derous, Nguyen, & Ryan,
2009; Derous, Pepermans, & Ryan, 2017). Working from home could make one's personal
characteristics less conspicuous due to the barrier created by remoteness. Direct colleagues,
for example, literally see each other less frequently (i.e. they have less face-to-face
interaction; Sewell & Taskin, 2015; Tietze & Nadin, 2011). In these instances, ethnic cues are
less noticeable, hence potentially diminishing the negative repercussions of discriminatory
behaviour.
Similar to general telework in normal times, those respondents who are more
dependent on others in their job encounter more negative consequences from extended
telework due to the COVID-19 crisis. In particular, during this period of extended telework,
they report more conflicts with colleagues and family, are more disturbed by roommates,
and have a harder time combining the different means of communication available to them.
This lower satisfaction with extended telework is also the case for respondents used to
receiving a lot of feedback, as well as those used to a lot of interaction outside their
organisation and those experiencing high levels of job autonomy. The latter has also
previously been reported by Baltes, Briggs, Huff, Wright, and Neuman (1999) and Allen and
Shockley (2009), who found that managers and professionals who experience a greater
degree of autonomy in their jobs benefitted to a lesser extent from flexible work
arrangements in terms of work-life balance because telework potentially did not greatly
alter their job characteristics.
3.3. Perceived impact of the COVID-19 crisis on self-view of telework and
digital meetings
The survey items relating to RQ3a and RQ3b are analysed by analogy with those discussed
in the two previous subsections. Figure 4 and Table 4 illustrate how the positive beliefs and
experiences with regard to increased telework extend to the correspondents beliefs about
the future of telework and digital meetings. Almost two-thirds of the panel members foster
14
a more positive outlook on teleworking (52.0%) and organising digital meetings (50.8%) due
to the COVID-19 crisis. These feelings translate into an increased desire to pursue more
telework (62.7%) and to have more digital meetings (48.8%). A majority of the respondents
believe that both telework (85.3%) and digital meetings (80.5%) will also occur more often
in the future.
<Figure 4 about here>
<Table 4 about here>
Women, in particular, have a more positive view on telework thanks to the COVID-19
crisis and indicate the strongest desire to perform more telework in the future. In addition,
respondents who experience a high level of autonomy report an increasingly positive view
on telework relating to the COVID-19 crisis less often, and have less of a desire to telework
more in the future. The latter is also the case for respondents who receive a lot of feedback
in their job (the fear of a reduction in feedback, as explained above, might be related to
this).
4. Conclusion
This article has provided insights into how a carefully composed sample of Flemish
employees have experienced telework, both in general and in its extensive form due to the
COVID-19 crisis, and how the COVID-19 crisis has affected their outlook on the future of
teleworking and digital conferencing. In addition, we investigated how telework experiences
and corresponding future outlooks are heterogeneous by personal and job characteristics.
Thereby, we have not only contributed to the scientific literature on the (expected)
socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis, but also to the overall scientific
literature on telework.
To the satisfaction of most of the respondents (two-thirds), Flemish workers foresee the
COVID-19 crisis as making teleworking (85%) and digital conferencing (81%) much more
common in the future, at least in Belgium. However, those with resident children are less
satisfied with the increased teleworking. Following the same trend, more than one in five
15
experiencing increased time spent teleworking (during the COVID-19 crisis) report more
conflicts with their housemates.
The perceived effects of the increased teleworking on other facets of the respondents’
personal and professional lives are largely in line with the findings of previous studies. For
example, many positive characteristics (e.g. increased efficiency and better work-life
balance) have been attributed to teleworking, while, at the same time, potentially negative
impacts on promotion opportunities and work relationships have been underlined.
On the other hand, we found a number of associations between teleworking and other
aspects of personal and professional life that, to the best of our knowledge, have not
previously been documented in the scientific literature. First, even though many topics have
been covered in the telework literature, its relation to burnout has not been adequately
investigated. Sardeshmukh et al. (2012) noted that burnout research has often focused on
traditional workers, but that studies have been slow to extend their interest to teleworkers.
Our study has aided in enriching the research on this topic by disclosing the feelings of
employees on burnout prevention through teleworking. Second, we found that the
respondents with a migration background report stronger positive effects of extended
teleworking in certain areas (e.g. less professional conflicts and higher commitment to their
employer) than employees without a migration background. As discussed, this finding is
consistent with empirical research on ethnic labour market discrimination, in terms of being
less apparent when physical contact with customers and co-workers is lessened. We
recommend that future studies, using different research designs, examine whether these
associations are robust and actually reveal objective, causal mechanisms.
Compliance with ethical standards
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
16
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Appendix A: Survey items concerning outcome variables
A.1. Perceived impact of telework in general on various career aspects
The following statements are about your general view of teleworking (and therefore not
specifically about the increased teleworking you may currently be experiencing). Do you
think that telework in general has (or would have) a positive, negative or neutral effect on
the following characteristics of your working life? Scale: certainly negative effect (1); rather
negative effect (2); neither positive nor negative effect (3); rather positive effect (4);
certainly positive effect (5).
(Overall job satisfaction) My overall satisfaction with my job.
(Promotion opportunities) My chances of promotion.
(Professional development) My professional development.
(Task efficiency) My efficiency in performing tasks.
(Commitment to employer) My feeling of connectedness with my employer.
(Work-life balance) My work-life balance.
(Relationship with colleagues) My relationship with my colleagues.
(Stress management) Minimise my work-related stress.
(Burnout prevention) Minimise my chances of burnout.
(Work concentration) My concentration during work.
A.2. Perceived impact of extended telework during the COVID-19 crisis
on various life and career aspects
The following statements are about your experience with increased teleworking due to the
current COVID-19 crisis. Please indicate to what extent you agree with the statements on a
scale from ‘completely disagree’ (1) to ‘completely agree’ (5).
(Happy with extended telework) I am globally satisfied that I am working more at home
because of the corona crisis.
23
(More family conflicts related to extended telework) I have more conflicts with my family
because I work more at home because of the corona crisis.
(More professional conflicts related to extended telework) I have more professional
conflicts (e.g. with supervisor or colleagues) because I work more at home because of the
corona crisis.
(Often disturbed by roommates during extended telework) I am often disturbed by
family members during extended homework because of the corona crisis.
(Difficult to combine different means of communication during extended telework) I find
it difficult to combine different means of communication (such as phone, e-mail and Skype)
during extended homework due to the corona crisis.
(Well guided by my employer during extended telework) I feel well guided by my
employer (or supervisor) during the extended homeworking due to the corona crisis.
(Difficult to convince employer to introduce extended telework) It was hard to persuade
my employer to allow me to participate in extended telework.
(Higher task efficiency related to extended telework) I can do my job more efficiently
during the extended homework because of the corona crisis.
(Higher commitment to employer related to extended telework) I feel more connected
to my employer due to the extended homework because of the corona crisis.
(Better work-life balance related to extended telework) I am experiencing a better work-
life balance due to the extended homework because of the corona crisis.
(Better relationship with colleagues related to extended telework) I feel a stronger bond
with my colleagues due to the extended homework because of the corona crisis.
(Better stress management related to extended telework) I experience less work-related
stress due to the extended homework because of the corona crisis.
(Better burnout prevention related to extended telework) I think the extended
homework caused by the corona crisis is reducing my chances of burnout in the near future.
(Higher work concentration related to extended telework) I experience better
concentration at work due to the extended homework because of the corona crisis.
24
A.3. Perceived impact of the COVID-19 crisis on self-view of telework and
digital meetings
The following statements deal with the extent to which (i) the current corona crisis has
changed your view of teleworking and digital conferencing and (ii) you think that
teleworking and digital conferencing in general in our country will be boosted by the current
corona crisis. Please indicate the extent to which you agree with the statements, on a scale
from ‘completely disagree’ (1) to ‘completely agree’ (5).
(More positive self-view of teleworking) Because of the current corona crisis, I now look
more positively on teleworking.
(Hope for more telework in the future) Because of the current corona crisis, I hope to
be able to do more telework in the future.
(Believe in overall more teleworking in country in future) Because of the current corona
crisis, much more telework will be done in our country in the future.
(More positive self-view on digital meetings) Because of the current corona crisis, I now
look more positively on digital meetings.
(Hope for more digital meetings in the future) Because of the current corona crisis, I
hope that in the future more of my professional meetings will be held digitally.
(Believe in overall more digital meetings in the country in future) Because of the current
corona crisis, many more digital meetings will be held in our country in the future.
Appendix B: Additional tables
<Table B1 about here>
25
Figure 1. Study sample and subsample
Post-stratification
Total sample
(N = 14,005)
Stratified basic sample
(N = 3,821)
Full study sample with potential to
telework
(N = 2,673)
Subsample with extended
telework at moment of survey
(N = 1,895)
26
Figure 2. Perceived impact of telework in general on various career aspects: Answers given (N = 2,673)
1.1%
2.8%
2.7%
4.6%
9.5%
4.2%
13.5%
3.0%
3.2%
4.5%
11.2%
24.2%
26.7%
17.1%
37.9%
13.9%
44.0%
16.0%
13.3%
21.4%
22.0%
63.3%
44.6%
21.9%
34.3%
17.4%
28.1%
32.6%
35.9%
23.3%
48.0%
8.4%
22.1%
40.6%
15.0%
40.7%
10.7%
35.8%
33.8%
35.1%
17.7%
1.3%
4.0%
15.7%
3.3%
23.9%
3.8%
12.6%
13.8%
15.6%
0.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 60.0% 70.0%
My overall satisfaction with my job
My chances of promotion
My professional development
My efficiency in performing tasks
My feeling of connectedness with my employer
My work-life balance
My relationship with my colleagues
Minimise my work-related stress
Minimise my chances of burnout
My concentration during work
Certainly negative Rather negative Neither positive nor negative Rather positive Certainly positive
Do you think that telework in general has (or would have) a positive, negative or neutral effect on the following characteristics of
your working life?
27
Figure 3. Perceived impact of extended telework during the COVID-19 crisis on various life and career
aspects: Answers given (N = 1,895)
5.4%
34.5%
41.4%
26.6%
37.1%
6.8%
62.1%
16.1%
22.7%
32.9%
22.3%
31.2%
15.9%
15.5%
12.6%
21.3%
17.5%
17.4%
14.4%
24.1%
8.1%
35.7%
17.6%
7.2%
23.6%
13.9%
36.0%
8.2%
30.2%
3.9%
1.0%
10.1%
3.4%
17.2%
6.2%
0.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 60.0% 70.0%
I am globally satisfied that I am working more at home
because of the corona crisis
I have more conflicts with my family because I work more at
home because of the corona crisis
I have more professional conflicts (e.g. with supervisor or
colleagues) because I work more at home because of the
corona crisis
I am often disturbed by family members during extended
homework because of the corona crisis
I find it difficult to combine different means of
communication (such as phone, e-mail and Skype) during
extended homework due to the corona crisis
I feel well guided by my employer (or supervisor) during the
extended homeworking due to the corona crisis
It was hard to persuade my employer to allow me to
participate in extended telework
Completely disagree Somewhat disagree Neutral Somewhat agree Completely agree
28
Figure 3 (cont'd). Perceived impact of extended telework during the COVID-19 crisis on various life and
career aspects: Answers given (N = 1,895)
7.8%
16.1%
8.4%
18.9%
8.7%
8.6%
9.5%
21.4%
39.9%
17.3%
45.1%
22.8%
21.4%
22.2%
25.6%
33.2%
18.6%
25.7%
22.7%
27.3%
23.6%
32.5%
8.9%
34.2%
8.8%
32.1%
29.6%
31.8%
12.7%
1.9%
21.5%
1.4%
13.6%
13.1%
13.0%
0.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 60.0% 70.0%
I can do my job more efficiently during the extended
homework because of the corona crisis
I feel more connected to my employer due to the extended
homework because of the corona crisis
I am experiencing a better work-life balance due to the
extended homework because of the corona crisis
I feel a stronger bond with my colleagues due to the
extended homework because of the corona crisis
I experience less work-related stress due to the extended
homework because of the corona crisis
I think the extended homework caused by the corona crisis is
reducing my chances of burnout in the near future
I experience better concentration at work due to the
extended homework because of the corona crisis
Completely disagree Somewhat disagree Neutral Somewhat agree Completely agree
29
Figure 4. Perceived impact of the COVID-19 crisis on self-view of telework and digital meetings: Answers
given (N = 2673)
3.7%
4.5%
0.9%
3.6%
5.2%
0.9%
10.6%
13.2%
5.2%
13.0%
17.0%
6.5%
33.6%
19.6%
8.6%
32.6%
29.0%
12.0%
35.1%
38.5%
65.6%
33.5%
31.2%
61.5%
17.0%
24.2%
19.8%
17.3%
17.6%
19.0%
0.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 60.0% 70.0%
Because of the current corona crisis, I now look more
positively on teleworking
Because of the current corona crisis, I hope to be able to do
more telework in the future
Because of the current corona crisis, much more telework
will be done in our country in the future
Because of the current corona crisis, I now look more
positively on digital meetings
Because of the current corona crisis, I hope that in the future
more of my professional meetings will be held digitally
Because of the current corona crisis, many more digital
meetings will be held in our country in the future
Completely disagree Somewhat disagree Neutral Somewhat agree Completely agree
30
Table 1. Summary statistics
Subsample: Temporarily
extended telework
(N = 1,895)
Female
0.516 ()
Age
41.059 (10.576)
Migration background
0.028 ()
Tertiary education
0.654 ()
Single
0.183 ()
In a relationship but not cohabiting
0.068 ()
In a relationship and cohabiting
0.750 ()
Number of resident children
0.945 (1.058)
Resident parents
0.062 ()
Resident family members (other than parents)
0.032 ()
Resident others (not family)
0.021 ()
Province of Antwerp
0.274 ()
Province of West Flanders
0.146 ()
Province of East Flanders
0.325 ()
Province of Limburg
0.061 ()
Province of Flemish Brabant
0.193 ()
Living in the countryside or rural area
0.372 ()
Living in the centre of a village
0.240 ()
Living in the suburbs of a city
0.227 ()
Living in the centre of a city
0.161 ()
Health before the COVID-19 crisis (scale)
4.147 (0.761)
Current health (scale)
3.976 (0.823)
Never been infected by COVID-19 (definitely or likely)
0.732 ()
Uncertain about having been infected by COVID-19
0.195 ()
Infected by COVID-19 at the moment (definitely or likely)
0.038 ()
Infected by COVID-19 in the recent past (definitely or likely)
0.035 ()
Employed on a temporary contract in the private sector
0.020 ()
Employed on a permanent contract in the private sector
0.744 ()
Employed on a regular contract in the public sector
0.103 ()
Employed on a permanent appointment in the public sector
0.133 ()
Part-time contract
0.144 ()
Tenure with current employer (scale)
2.878 (1.418)
Tenure in current job (scale)
2.284 (1.234)
Satisfied with job (scale)
4.031 (0.899)
Autonomous in job (scale)
4.125 (0.949)
Dependent on others in job (scale)
3.136 (1.067)
Interaction outside of the organisation in job (scale)
3.576 (1.331)
Feedback from others in job (scale)
3.147 (1.114)
31
Sector: Purchasing
0.015 ()
Sector: Administration
0.073 ()
Sector: Construction
0.022 ()
Sector: Communication
0.028 ()
Sector: Creative
0.006 ()
Sector: Provision of services
0.080 ()
Sector: Financial
0.084 ()
Sector: Health
0.026 ()
Sector: Catering and tourism
0.004 ()
Sector: Human Resources
0.068 ()
Sector: ICT
0.129 ()
Sector: Legal
0.024 ()
Sector: Agriculture and horticulture
0.001 ()
Sector: Logistics and transport
0.047 ()
Sector: Management
0.060 ()
Sector: Marketing
0.025 ()
Sector: Maintenance
0.003 ()
Sector: Education
0.063 ()
Sector: Research and development
0.037 ()
Sector: Government
0.069 ()
Sector: Production
0.019 ()
Sector: Technology
0.024 ()
Sector: Sales
0.058 ()
Sector: Other
0.035 ()
Temporarily unemployed
0.000 ()
% of work potentially done via telework
67.836 (24.907)
Temporarily extended telework
1.000 ()
Notes. No standard deviations are presented for binary variables. The levels (and values) for the health scales are: very bad (1);
somewhat bad (2); neither bad nor good (3); somewhat good (4); and very good (5). The levels for the tenure scales are: less than
2 years (1); between 2 and 5 years (2); between 6 and 10 years (3); between 11 and 20 years (4); and more than 20 years (5). The
levels for the job scales are: completely disagree (1); somewhat disagree (2); neutral (3); somewhat agree (4); and completely agree
(5). The operationalisation of these variables is based on Amez, Vujić, Soffers, and Baert (in press), Baert, Verhaest, Vermeir, and
Omey (2015), Baert, Vujić, Amez, Claeskens, Daman, Maeckelberghe, Omey, & De Marez (2020), Moens, Baert, Verhofstadt, and
Van Ootegem (2019) and Morgeson and Humphrey (2006).
32
Table 2. Perceived impact of telework in general on various career aspects: Regression results (full study sample; N = 2,673)
Aspect
% perceiving
positive impact
on aspect
Significantly more pronounced if …
Significantly less pronounced if …
Overall job
satisfaction
65.7%
Province of East Flanders; better current health; longer tenure with current employer; more
satisfied with job; sector is human resources or agriculture and horticulture; temporarily
unemployed; higher % of work potentially done via telework; temporarily extended telework.
Living in the centre of a city; better health before
COVID-19 crisis.
Promotion
opportunities
9.7%
Uncertain about having been infected by COVID-19; more satisfied with job; more autonomous
in job; more feedback from others in job; sector is agriculture and horticulture; higher % of work
potentially done via telework.
Tertiary education; province of West Flanders; province
of East Flanders; sector is communication, management
or marketing.
Professional
development
26.1%
Better current health; uncertain about having been infected by COVID-19; more satisfied with
job; sector is agriculture and horticulture; higher % of work potentially done via telework.
Tertiary education; better health before COVID-19
crisis; sector is communication; temporarily extended
telework.
Task efficiency
56.3%
Female; better current health; uncertain about having been infected by COVID-19; longer tenure
with current employer; sector is human resources, agriculture and horticulture or marketing;
temporarily unemployed; higher % of work potentially done via telework.
Tertiary education; better health before COVID-19
crisis; part-time contract.
Commitment to
employer
18.4%
Migration background; better current health; sector is agriculture and horticulture; higher % of
work potentially done via telework.
Tertiary education; better health before COVID-19 crisis.
Work-life balance
64.6%
In a relationship and cohabiting; province of East Flanders; better current health; uncertain
about having been infected by COVID-19 or infected by COVID-19 for the moment; sector is
agriculture and horticulture; temporarily unemployed; higher % of work potentially done via
telework; temporarily extended telework.
Living in the centre of a city; more dependent on others
in job; more feedback from others in job.
Relationship with
colleagues
14.4%
Female; migration background; higher number of resident children; better current health;
uncertain about having been infected by COVID-19; sector is maintenance; higher % of work
potentially done via telework.
Tertiary education; better health before COVID-19
crisis; longer tenure with current employer; more
satisfied with job; temporarily extended telework.
Stress
management
48.4%
Better current health; temporarily unemployed; higher % of work potentially done via telework.
Higher number of resident children; better health
before COVID-19 crisis; more dependent on others in
job; more feedback from others in job; sector is
education.
Burnout
prevention
47.6%
Better current health; temporarily unemployed; higher % of work potentially done via telework.
Better health before COVID-19 crisis; more dependent
on others in job; more feedback from others in job.
Work
concentration
50.7%
Female; higher age; better current health; uncertain about having been infected by COVID-19;
more interaction outside organisation in job; temporarily unemployed; higher % of work
potentially done via telework.
Living in the centre of a city; better health before
COVID-19 crisis; part-time contract; more feedback
from others in job.
Notes. The proportion ‘perceiving positive impact’ corresponds to the sum of those who indicated ‘certainly positive effect’ and ‘rather positive effect’ to the related survey item (see Appendix A). The
relationship to the personal and job characteristics was analysed by means of a linear regression analysis with heteroscedasticity-robust standard errors (in which all characteristics mentioned in Table
1 were included). The significance level was set as p < 0.05.
33
Table 3. Perceived impact of extended telework during the COVID-19 crisis on various life and career aspects: Regression results (subsample with extended
telework at moment of survey; N = 1,895)
Aspect
% perceiving
impact on
aspect
Significantly more pronounced if …
Significantly less pronounced if …
Happy with extended
telework
65.9%
Better current health; part-time contract; sector is creative or health;
higher % of work potentially done via telework.
Higher number of resident children; living in the centre of a village or living
in the centre of a city; better health before COVID-19 crisis; more satisfied
with job; more autonomous in job, more dependent on others in job; more
interaction outside organisation in job; more feedback from others in job.
More family conflicts related
to extended telework
21.5%
Higher number of resident children; better health before COVID-19
crisis; more dependent on others in job.
Higher age; province of Limburg; better current health; uncertain about
having been infected by COVID-19; higher % of work potentially done via
telework.
More professional conflicts
related to extended telework
8.2%
Resident family members (other than parents); resident others (no
family); better health before COVID-19 crisis; more dependent on
others in job; sector is catering and tourism.
Migration background; resident parents; better current health; more
satisfied with job; more feedback from others in job; higher % of work
potentially done via telework.
Often disturbed by
roommates during extended
telework
33.7%
In a relationship and cohabiting; higher number of resident children;
more dependent on others in job.
Higher age; better current health; sector is agriculture and horticulture;
higher % of work potentially done via telework.
Difficult to combine different
means of communication
during extended telework
17.3%
Higher number of resident children; province of West Flanders;
longer tenure in current job; more dependent on others in job.
In a relationship and cohabiting; resident parents; better current health;
longer tenure with current employer; more autonomous in job; more
feedback from others in job; sector is ICT, research and development or
sales; higher % of work potentially done via telework.
Well guided by my employer
during extended telework
53.2%
Tertiary education; living in the centre of a village; better current
health; more satisfied with job; more feedback from others in job;
sector is agriculture and horticulture; higher % of work potentially
done via telework.
Sector is creative.
Difficult to convince
employer to introduce
extended telework
14.4%
Province of West Flanders; infected by COVID-19 for the moment
(probably); sector is maintenance.
Higher age; migration background; tertiary education; more satisfied with
job; more autonomous in job; more feedback from others in job.
34
Higher task efficiency related
to extended telework
45.2%
Higher age; province of East Flanders; better current health; higher %
of work potentially done via telework.
Better health before COVID-19 crisis; more feedback from others in job;
sector is education.
Higher commitment to
employer related to
extended telework
10.8%
Higher age; migration background; better current health; higher % of
work potentially done via telework.
Living in the centre of a village; better health before COVID-19 crisis.
Better work-life balance
related to extended telework
55.7%
Province of Limburg; better current health; uncertain about having
been infected by COVID-19, infected by COVID-19 for the moment
(probably); infected by COVID-19 in the recent past (probably); sector
is human resources; higher % of work potentially done via telework.
Higher number of resident children; living in the centre of a city; better
health before COVID-19 crisis; more autonomous in job; more feedback
from others in job.
Better relationship with
colleagues related to
extended telework
10.2%
Higher age; province of East Flanders; better current health; higher %
of work potentially done via telework.
Better health before COVID-19 crisis; more satisfied with job.
Better stress management
related to extended telework
45.7%
Better current health; uncertain about having been infected by
COVID-19, infected by COVID-19 for the moment (probably) or
infected by COVID-19 in the recent past (probably); higher % of work
potentially done via telework.
Higher number of resident children; better health before COVID-19 crisis;
more dependent on others in job; more feedback from others in job.
Better burnout prevention
related to extended telework
42.7%
Higher age; better current health; infected by COVID-19 for the
moment (probably) or infected by COVID-19 in the recent past
(probably); higher % of work potentially done via telework.
Higher number of resident children; better health before COVID-19 crisis;
more feedback from others in job.
Higher work concentration
related to extended telework
44.7%
Higher age; better current health; infected by COVID-19 for the
moment (probably); employed in public sector; higher % of work
potentially done via telework.
Higher number of resident children; better health before COVID-19 crisis;
more dependent on others in job; more feedback from others in job;
sector is education.
Notes. The proportion ‘perceiving impact’ corresponds to the sum of those who indicated ‘completely agree’ and ‘somewhat agree’ to the related survey item (see Appendix A). The relationship to the
personal and job characteristics was analysed by means of a linear regression analysis with heteroscedasticity-robust standard errors (in which all characteristics mentioned in Table 1 were included).
The significance level was set as p < 0.05.
35
Table 4. Perceived impact of the COVID-19 crisis on self-view of telework and digital meetings: Regression results (full study sample; N = 2,673)
View
% perceiving
impact
Significantly more pronounced if …
Significantly less pronounced if …
More positive self-view of
teleworking
52.0%
Female; in a relationship but not cohabiting; better current health; infected by COVID-19 for the
moment (probably); temporarily unemployed; higher % of work potentially done via telework.
Tertiary education; more autonomous in job;
sector is ICT or legal.
Hope for more telework in
the future
62.7%
Female; in a relationship but not cohabiting or in a relationship and cohabiting; uncertain about
having been infected by COVID-19; sector is creative, agriculture and horticulture or marketing;
temporarily unemployed; higher % of work potentially done via telework; temporarily extended
telework.
Tertiary education; living in the centre of a city;
more satisfied with job; more autonomous in
job; more feedback from others in job.
Believe in overall more
teleworking in country in
future
85.3%
Resident family members (other than parents); better health for the moment; employed on
permanent appointment in public sector; part-time contract; more feedback from others in job;
temporarily extended telework.
More positive self-view on
digital meetings
50.8%
Better current health; sector is agriculture and horticulture; higher % of work potentially done via
telework.
Hope for more digital
meetings in the future
48.8%
Higher number of resident children; province of Limburg; sector is human resources, agriculture
and horticulture, management, marketing, education or sales; higher % of work potentially done via
telework.
Believe in overall more
digital meetings in the
country in future
80.5%
Tertiary education; resident family members (other than parents); part-time contract; more
feedback from others in job.
Longer tenure in current job.
Notes. The proportion ‘perceiving impact’ corresponds to the sum of those who indicated ‘completely agree’ and ‘somewhat agree’ to the related survey item (see Appendix A). The relationship to the
personal and job characteristics was analysed by means of a linear regression analysis with heteroscedasticity-robust standard errors (in which all characteristics mentioned in Table 1 were included).
The significance level was set as p < 0.05.
36
Table B1. Perceived positive impact of teleworking on overall job satisfaction: Full regression estimates
Linear regression analysis
Ordered logistic
regression analysis
Female
0.058 (0.040)
0.115 (0.086)
Age
-0.002 (0.002)
-0.006 (0.005)
Migration background
-0.080 (0.125)
-0.120 (0.275)
Tertiary education
-0.047 (0.039)
-0.102 (0.082)
Single (reference)
In a relationship but not cohabiting
0.072 (0.079)
0.153 (0.171)
In a relationship and cohabiting
0.007 (0.051)
-0.016 (0.106)
Number of resident children
0.010 (0.018)
0.027 (0.039)
Resident parents
-0.140 (0.096)
-0.300 (0.208)
Resident family members (other than parents)
0.095 (0.106)
0.128 (0.228)
Resident others (not family)
0.125 (0.119)
0.224 (0.236)
Province of Antwerp (reference)
Province of West Flanders
-0.018 (0.055)
-0.022 (0.113)
Province of East Flanders
0.098** (0.045)
0.233** (0.096)
Province of Limburg
0.044 (0.076)
0.133 (0.160)
Province of Flemish Brabant
0.076 (0.054)
0.182 (0.115)
Living in the countryside or rural area (reference)
Living in the centre of a village
-0.020 (0.045)
-0.048 (0.096)
Living in the suburbs of a city
-0.020 (0.047)
-0.051 (0.100)
Living in the centre of a city
-0.121** (0.057)
-0.234** (0.118)
Health before the COVID-19 crisis (scale)
-0.068** (0.034)
-0.157** (0.074)
Current health (scale)
0.090*** (0.032)
0.203*** (0.067)
Never been infected by COVID-19 (definitely or likely) (reference)
Uncertain about having been infected by COVID-19
0.084* (0.043)
0.167* (0.091)
Infected by COVID-19 at the moment (definitely or likely)
0.081 (0.105)
0.224 (0.233)
Infected by COVID-19 in the recent past (definitely or likely)
0.148 (0.095)
0.309 (0.214)
Employed on a temporary contract in the private sector (reference)
Employed on a permanent contract in the private sector
-0.069 (0.111)
-0.175 (0.239)
Employed on a regular contract in the public sector
-0.048 (0.127)
-0.120 (0.274)
Employed on a permanent appointment in the public sector
-0.080 (0.127)
-0.212 (0.273)
Part−time contract
-0.022 (0.051)
-0.056 (0.108)
Tenure with current employer (scale)
0.043** (0.020)
0.096** (0.042)
Tenure in current job (scale)
-0.038* (0.021)
-0.081* (0.045)
Satisfied with job (scale)
0.101*** (0.025)
0.227*** (0.054)
Autonomous in job (scale)
0.003 (0.019)
0.008 (0.041)
Dependent on others in job (scale)
-0.024 (0.017)
-0.046 (0.037)
Interaction outside of the organisation in job (scale)
0.018 (0.015)
0.040 (0.032)
Feedback from others in job (scale)
-0.015 (0.017)
-0.028 (0.038)
Sector: Purchasing
-0.101 (0.165)
-0.154 (0.339)
Sector: Administration
0.017 (0.098)
0.079 (0.202)
Sector: Construction
0.143 (0.129)
0.428 (0.263)
Sector: Communication
-0.117 (0.155)
-0.155 (0.342)
Sector: Creative
0.109 (0.199)
0.298 (0.414)
Sector: Provision of services
0.029 (0.099)
0.129 (0.208)
Sector: Financial
0.065 (0.102)
0.225 (0.221)
37
Sector: Health
-0.088 (0.129)
0.011 (0.264)
Sector: Catering and tourism
-0.201 (0.155)
-0.276 (0.295)
Sector: Human Resources
0.237** (0.102)
0.592*** (0.223)
Sector: ICT
0.004 (0.099)
0.095 (0.213)
Sector: Legal
-0.076 (0.166)
0.045 (0.356)
Sector: Agriculture and horticulture
0.386*** (0.117)
0.740*** (0.237)
Sector: Logistics and transport
0.147 (0.110)
0.417* (0.230)
Sector: Management
0.047 (0.108)
0.183 (0.228)
Sector: Marketing
0.188 (0.134)
0.433 (0.303)
Sector: Maintenance
0.090 (0.179)
0.237 (0.344)
Sector: Education
-0.044 (0.127)
-0.001 (0.271)
Sector: Research and development
0.027 (0.130)
0.190 (0.274)
Sector: Government
0.191 (0.117)
0.467* (0.258)
Sector: Production
0.178 (0.138)
0.483* (0.283)
Sector: Technology
0.182 (0.126)
0.471* (0.268)
Sector: Sales
0.048 (0.100)
0.192 (0.212)
Sector: Other (reference)
Temporarily unemployed
0.199*** (0.068)
0.422*** (0.136)
% of work potentially done via telework
0.006*** (0.001)
0.014*** (0.002)
Temporarily extended telework
0.184*** (0.057)
0.384*** (0.115)
N
2,673
2,673
Notes. The presented statistics are coefficient estimates and standard errors in parentheses based on a regression analysis with
heteroscedasticity-robust standard errors. Intercepts and cut-off values are not presented. * (**) ((***)) indicates significance at
the 10% (5%) ((1%)) level. The significance levels cannot be given an absolute interpretation due to potential multiple testing
problems (false positives).
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... On the other hand, remote working has also allowed employees to discover they could work from home [9]. ...
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