ArticlePDF Available

Risk factors and leadership in a digitalized working world: effects on the employees’ stress and resources

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Background: In today’s world of work, the digitalization of work and communication processes is increasing, and will increase even further. This increase in digitalization at the workplace brings many new aspects of working life to light, such as working in virtual teams, mobile working, expectations of being constantly available, and the need for support in adapting and learning new digital tools. These changes to the workplace can contain risks that might harm the well-being of employees. Leaders can support the well-being of their employees in terms of protecting and replenishing their work-related resources to cope with critical work demands. This so-called health-promoting leadership could serve as a buffer between risk at the workplace and critical outcomes, such as stress, by amplifying work-related resources. Objective: This study’s aims were twofold. First, we wanted to investigate if risk factors related to higher digitalization at the workplace can be identified and if these risk factors have an impairing effect on the well-being of employees (eg, higher stress and lower resources). Second, we wanted to investigate if the health-impairing effects of these risk factors can be reduced by health-promoting leadership. Methods: A total of 1412 employees from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland took part in this online study and provided information on their perceived risks at the workplace, their leaders’ health-promoting behaviors, and their work-related stress and resources. Results: The results of a hierarchical regression analysis showed that all four risk factors of digital work (distributed team work, mobile work, constant availability, and inefficient technical support) were related to higher stress at the workplace. In addition, distributed team work and inefficient technical support were associated with lower work-related resources. A possible buffer effect of health-promoting leadership between these risks and employee well-being was visible for inefficient technical support. In particular, in the case of having fewer support opportunities in learning and using digital tools, leaders could weaken the potential critical effects on stress. As for the other risk factors, leaders might engage in a different leadership behavior to improve their employees’ well-being, as the physical distance between leaders and employees in virtual team work or mobile work could make health-promoting leadership more difficult. Conclusions: In a digitalized working world, solutions are needed to create working conditions that benefit employees. The results of this study strongly support the importance of investigating risk factors associated with an increase in digitalization at the workplace in addition to traditional risk factors. As for leadership, leaders need to show leadership behavior adapted to a digitalized workplace in order to reduce employee stress and increase work-related resources.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Original Paper
Risk Factors and Leadership in a Digitalized Working World and
Their Effects on Employees’Stress and Resources: Web-Based
Questionnaire Study
Anita Bregenzer, PhD; Paulino Jimenez, PhD
Institute of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria
Corresponding Author:
Paulino Jimenez, PhD
Institute of Psychology
University of Graz
Universitätsplatz 2
Graz, 8010
Austria
Phone: 43 316380 ext 5128
Email: paul.jimenez@uni-graz.at
Abstract
Background: In today’s world of work, the digitalization of work and communication processes is increasing, and will increase
even further. This increase in digitalization at the workplace brings many new aspects of working life to light, such as working
in virtual teams, mobile working, expectations of being constantly available, and the need for support in adapting and learning
new digital tools. These changes to the workplace can contain risks that might harm the well-being of employees. Leaders can
support the well-being of their employees in terms of protecting and replenishing their work-related resources to cope with critical
work demands. This so-called health-promoting leadership could serve as a buffer between risk at the workplace and critical
outcomes, such as stress, by amplifying work-related resources.
Objective: This study’s aims were twofold. First, we wanted to investigate if risk factors related to higher digitalization at the
workplace can be identified and if these risk factors have an impairing effect on the well-being of employees (eg, higher stress
and lower resources). Second, we wanted to investigate if the health-impairing effects of these risk factors can be reduced by
health-promoting leadership.
Methods: A total of 1412 employees from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland took part in this online study and provided
information on their perceived risks at the workplace, their leaders’ health-promoting behaviors, and their work-related stress
and resources.
Results: The results of a hierarchical regression analysis showed that all four risk factors of digital work (distributed team work,
mobile work, constant availability, and inefficient technical support) were related to higher stress at the workplace. In addition,
distributed team work and inefficient technical support were associated with lower work-related resources. A possible buffer
effect of health-promoting leadership between these risks and employee well-being was visible for inefficient technical support.
In particular, in the case of having fewer support opportunities in learning and using digital tools, leaders could weaken the
potential critical effects on stress. As for the other risk factors, leaders might engage in a different leadership behavior to improve
their employees’well-being, as the physical distance between leaders and employees in virtual team work or mobile work could
make health-promoting leadership more difficult.
Conclusions: In a digitalized working world, solutions are needed to create working conditions that benefit employees. The
results of this study strongly support the importance of investigating risk factors associated with an increase in digitalization at
the workplace in addition to traditional risk factors. As for leadership, leaders need to show leadership behavior adapted to a
digitalized workplace in order to reduce employee stress and increase work-related resources.
(J Med Internet Res 2021;23(3):e24906) doi: 10.2196/24906
KEYWORDS
digitalization; leadership; new ways of working; resources; stress
J Med Internet Res 2021 | vol. 23 | iss. 3 | e24906 | p. 1https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906 (page number not for citation purposes)
Bregenzer & JimenezJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
XSL
FO
RenderX
Introduction
Background
In the past years, the digitalization of the workplace has been
studied more as a phenomenon relevant to a small number of
people than as an important and necessary step to improve the
working world. Digitalization is currently affecting many areas
and will continue to do so in the future, so the effects of
digitalization in the workplace must be studied more closely in
relation to work processes within the company and in relation
to the well-being and performance of employees. Digitalized
work brings many new aspects of working life to light, such as
working in virtual teams, mobile working, blur between leisure
and work, expectations of constant availability, and the frequent
need to adapt to digital changes and learn new digital tools [1,2].
Organizations must be able to react adequately to these changes
in order to minimize possible critical effects at individual and
team levels (eg, stress, engagement, and performance). Owing
to the speed at which digitalization is entering the current world
of work, solutions are needed just as quickly, as organizations
then can prepare their employees optimally for the newly
emerging forms of work.
The topic of digitalization of the working world is currently
experiencing an upswing in scientific research, especially under
the term “new ways of working” (NWW). NWW describes
changes to the workplace that take place in the following four
aspects: physical workplace, information and communication
technology (ICT), organization and management, and work
culture [3]. For example, an important aspect of NWW is having
more flexibility in deciding when and where employees can
work, as well as using ICTs, such as email, smartphones, and
videoconferences. It is expected that those aspects should lead
to more efficient work processes [4]. Research in this area has
focused strongly on the positive effects of new working forms
on employees, such as higher engagement and performance
[5,6]. However, there is evidence that these new forms of work
also have critical effects on employees, such as fatigue and
exhaustion [4,7].
Research in this area is important to highlight the risks of a
nonoptimal design of a digitalized workplace. However, there
is currently a lack of information on how the company and its
employees can benefit optimally from increased digitalization
of the workplace. One solution to improve working conditions
for employees is leadership. Leaders can change their
employees’working conditions and thus impact their employees’
health by managing and allocating resources at the workplace
[8]. More specifically, the concept of health-promoting
leadership includes leadership behaviors that aim at providing
resourceful working conditions for employees [9]. This in turn
can reduce the negative consequences of critical working
conditions such as stress [10]. Leaders can increase resources
at the workplace, for example, by specifically supporting the
community within the team or by giving their employees
possibilities to participate in important decisions.
This study’s aims were twofold. First, we wanted to investigate
if risk factors related to a higher digitalization at the workplace
can be identified. With the term “risk factors,” we mainly
followed the definition of mental risk factors (according to ISO
10075 [11]), which can have an impairing effect on the
well-being of employees (eg, higher stress and lower resources).
Second, we wanted to investigate if health-promoting leadership
moderates the relationship between risk factors of digitalization
at the workplace and employees’ stress and resources. More
specifically, it is of interest if the health-impairing effects of
certain risk factors can be reduced by health-promoting
leadership. To our knowledge, the role of health-promoting
leadership in workplaces with increasing digitalization has not
yet been addressed directly in research.
Digital Working World and Effects on Employee
Well-Being
The working environment is an important context factor at the
workplace that affects the health of employees. Being exposed
to a critical working environment with high risks might result
in negative psychological states that can negatively affect the
individual’s behavior at work [12]. These risks can be associated
with the physical environment, the organizational and social
environment, or the task itself [11,13]. The aim is to design the
workplace in such a way that risk factors are minimized or at
least the impairing health effect of these risk factors is reduced
with specific interventions. However, the traditional working
environment has changed through the application of ICT, and
“new” working forms have emerged, such as virtual teams and
mobile telework [14,15]. These changes are accompanied by
new risks in the workplace, and the potential harmful effects
on employee well-being have to be examined more closely.
Research in the field of NWW seems to highlight the positive
aspects of a digitalized workplace. ten Brummelhuis et al [4]
defined NWW as “…a work design in which employees can
control the timing and place of their work, while being supported
by electronic communication.” Indeed, research shows that
when employees experience more freedom in managing one’s
own time (ie, home office), the work is experienced as less
stressful for employees [16]. However, NWW can also impact
the employee’s well-being negatively, such as having more
blurred work-home boundaries, more fatigue, and higher mental
demands [7]. Research also indicates that NWW might decrease
resources such as autonomy. In a study conducted by van
Steenbergen et al [16], employees worked in an organization
where they could choose to work at home or at the office.
However, the organization seemed to prefer work from home,
and this preference for a home office might have been expressed
by the company in such a strong way that employees
experienced a lower feeling of autonomy.
These findings show that positive effects of NWW should not
be expected automatically. On the contrary, NWW might include
risks that could lead to harmful effects such as higher employee
stress [7]. In a systematic review, the authors outlined the
positive and negative aspects of NWW with ICT-enabled
workers who were flexible in their work [7]. They found that
factors, such as geographically distributed team work (“virtual
teams”), time- and location-independent work (“mobile
working”), and use of information technology at work, might
have negative psychological impacts on the well-being of
employees and should be addressed when NWW is
J Med Internet Res 2021 | vol. 23 | iss. 3 | e24906 | p. 2https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906 (page number not for citation purposes)
Bregenzer & JimenezJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
XSL
FO
RenderX
implemented. Distributed teamwork or mobile work and
increased digital communication are also related to a feeling of
having to be constantly available, which can also have a negative
impact on well-being [1]. Other factors related to NWW, such
as higher flexibility, access to organizational knowledge, and
independent management of output, are mostly positive factors
that benefit the well-being of employees [7]. However, research
should focus more on risks to help organizations adequately
address these risks at the workplace. The dimensions of NWW
that include possible risks and their relationship with the stress
of employees are described in detail below.
Geographically Distributed Team Work
Geographically distributed team work (referred to as “distributed
team work” henceforth) has already been extensively
investigated in the past under the term “virtual teams” [14]. In
virtual teams, “…teams work together over time and distance
via electronic media to combine effort and achieve common
goals” [17]. Distributed team work has advantages as well as
disadvantages. The advantages include reduced travel time and
costs, being independent from time and place, including
physically disadvantaged employees in the team, and working
in a diverse heterogenous team [18]. However, the disadvantages
have been studied in more detail. Owing to the geographical
distance of team members, it is difficult to form group cohesion,
which is why communication is less frequent and conflicts can
occur more often than in face-to-face teams [19,20].
Furthermore, with the use of virtual media, important auditory
and visual cues are not perceived sufficiently, which makes
communication more difficult [21].
The critical effects of distributed team work on employees’
stress have already been studied [22,23]. For example, virtual
teams have more conflicts than traditional face-to-face teams
and have difficulties in applying conflict management strategies
[21]. More conflicts within the team result in more stress [24].
Stress can occur because of the excessive use of virtual
communication media as well (eg, email flood [23]).
Mobile Work
The use of mobile devices allows employees to work in a
distributed team and to work independent of time and location,
because messages can now be sent and received from anywhere
and at any time. Thus, high flexibility in the daily work routine
can be achieved [25]. Work can be done from one’s own home,
from an external location, or from another continent. For this
kind of work, the term “mobile telework” is commonly used in
the literature, which is described as “work at a range of
locations, spending regular and significant amount of time away
from any office or home location” [26].
Mobile telework can differ from one job to another. There are
jobs in which the place of work changes several times a week
or day and employees cannot freely choose the work location,
for example, work in sectors such as wholesale and retail trade,
manufacturing, transportation and storage, information and
communication, public administration, and health [27]. The
effect of mobile telework on employee well-being can be quite
different for those who have control over their working location
as compared to that for those who have little say in where they
must work [28].
Mobile telework is seen as a resource, especially when you can
decide yourself where and when you work [29,30]. However,
the physical distance between team members and leaders can
reduce the quality of the relationship between employees and
leaders [31]. Mobile telework is particularly demanding when
the work location is uncertain or when the employees have less
flexibility in organizing their work time [32]. Interruptions and
distractions can occur more easily in mobile telework than in
fixed workplaces (such as offices); for example, interruptions
and distractions are more frequent in trains or in public places
[32]. In addition, working at multiple locations increases mental
demands, such as the feeling of “timeless” continuous work,
constant changing of the rhythm of work, and reduced
professional and social interaction [15].
Constant Availability
The use of ICT makes it easier to stay in touch with leaders,
colleagues, customers, and family, as contact can now be made
anywhere and at any time. This leads to the impression that
people are available anywhere and at any time, which can have
critical effects on employees’well-being [33,34].
The expectation of having to be constantly available for work
leads to difficulties detaching from work during leisure time
and to a stronger work-home interference [35,36]. Especially
when the experienced work-home interference is high, using
the smartphone for work-related purposes after work has a
critical effect on employees’ recovery process [37]. A
longitudinal study showed that being constantly available for
work increases emotional exhaustion over time [38]. Constantly
receiving and checking work-related messages might lead to
information overload, as people struggle with managing the
inflow of messages [39]. This struggle to keep up with the
increasing amount of information leads to higher stress [40,41].
On the contrary, being constantly available can have benefits
for employees’ well-being. In a study conducted by ten
Brummelhuis et al [4], being constantly available through the
use of mobile communication tools was associated with greater
engagement. The authors argued that constant availability via
email or telephone was associated with greater work flexibility,
which was perceived as an advantage by employees. On the
other hand, constant availability was also associated with more
interruptions at work, which caused more exhaustion among
employees.
Learning and Adapting to Digital Tools
The constant use of ICT for work-related activities raises another
point that could be a risk factor for employees’ well-being. In
today’s working world, new technologies are developed almost
faster than people can learn and use them. The increasing
amount and use of ICTs can lead to higher job demands in terms
of mental and emotional overload, which might harm the
well-being of employees [42]. Thus, the need for support in the
use of digital tools and the need to build up competence in
handling digital media are growing [43]. In the past, the
increasing requirements to be able to handle digital tools were
also investigated under the term “technostress.” Technostress
J Med Internet Res 2021 | vol. 23 | iss. 3 | e24906 | p. 3https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906 (page number not for citation purposes)
Bregenzer & JimenezJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
XSL
FO
RenderX
is described as the mental stress that employees experience
when they are asked to learn and use a new technology [44].
Weil and Rosen [44] found that technostress occurs if people
are not taught how to handle technology adequately. Uncertainty
about how to deal with new technology and the resulting
inefficiency in dealing with modern technologies are currently
still important issues in technostress research [45].
If the used technologies change too fast, employees experience
difficulties in coping with the changes, which can raise work
overload and stress [46]. On the contrary, adapting to new
technologies at work might benefit the employees as well.
Studies show that having a higher technological demand at work
is related to engagement, indicating that learning new
technological tools is perceived as challenging [47].
To ensure that technical changes in the workplace are
experienced as positive challenges and not as hindrances, it is
important that employees are adequately supported in learning
and applying these technologies. For example, providing training
or guidelines on how to deal with new media and having
technical support at work are important for greater well-being
at the workplace [48,49]. Social support from supervisors or
colleagues is an important factor as well [42]. In the study by
Knani et al [50], employees were introduced to a new technology
at the workplace, which demanded high learning effort and led
to higher emotional exhaustion. The critical effect on emotional
exhaustion could reduce when employees experience high
support from supervisors and employees. Atanasoff and Venable
[51] added that employee-oriented leadership behavior is an
important resource that might reduce the negative effects of
digitalization, such as stress.
Digital Workplaces, Leadership, and Resources
Leaders in particular are challenged in a modern working
environment. Research in the field of a home office and virtual
teams has shown that leadership in a digitalized working
environment has different requirements than in traditional work
settings [52]. Working in a home office or virtual work in
general requires a different role of leadership, in which the
manager must lead strongly in an employee-oriented way [53].
An employee-oriented leadership is also preferred in working
environments with high demands. According to Wegge et al
[54], leader behavior can serve as a buffer between high work
demands and critical outcomes, such as stress, by amplifying
work-related resources at the workplace. Given the assumption
that digitalized workplaces entail high demands, increasing
work-related resources through leadership behavior is a
particularly important aspect of supporting well-being in the
workplace.
Work-related resources play a major role in the relationship
between demands and stress [55]. Social resources (social
support from colleagues) and task resources (autonomy, the
possibility of participation, and the possibility of conducting
breaks) are important work-related resources to reduce negative
outcomes, such as stress and burnout. A highly digitalized
workplace can contain risk factors that might lead to increased
demands [46]. In workplaces with high demands, resources
could be insufficiently gained, depleted, or even lost, which can
cause stress and might increase the risk of getting burnout over
time [56].
Maintaining and increasing work-related resources are therefore
essential aspects of a health-promoting workplace. Leaders can
support their employees in protecting and replenishing their
work-related resources to cope with the demands of their work
by showing health-promoting leadership behavior [57,58].
Health-promoting leadership is a positive leadership behavior,
which enhances the work-related resources of employees. By
changing working conditions (such as the health-promoting
design of the six areas of work life [59]), it is possible to build
up employees’work-related resources [60]. For example, leaders
can ensure that work processes are organized in such a way that
employees can cope well with increased workload. Leaders can
give their employees opportunities to work autonomously and
independently. Rewarding employees is also an essential aspect
that can be undertaken by leaders in the form of positive
feedback and appreciation. Leaders can strengthen the
community in their team by encouraging open communication
and mutual support. Acting fairly and paying attention to the
values of employees are further aspects of health-promoting
leadership [60].
Increasing work-related resources is also essential for a
workplace with a high level of digitalization. Atanasoff and
Venable [51] assumed that stress due to digitalization is related
to lower work-related resources. According to the authors,
important resources that should be increased are social support
from colleagues, opportunities to participate in the use of
technology, and clear information about technology. Therefore,
health-promoting leadership could benefit a digitalized
workplace as resources are preserved and restored.
The increasing digitalization of workplaces leads to changes in
working conditions, which can be risk factors for reduced
well-being and performance. Health-promoting leadership can
minimize the negative effects of these risk factors by building
up enough work-related resources to cope with these risk factors.
This way of leadership behavior is described as the “buffer
effect,” which means leaders serve as a buffer against high work
demands that might be a potential source for stress [54].
Study Aims and Hypotheses
In this study, we investigated the following four possible risk
factors of digital work that could lead to higher stress and lower
work-related resources among employees: distributed team
work, mobile work, constant availability, and inefficient
technical support. First, these four risk factors were examined
with regard to their effects on the stress and work-related
resources of employees. Second, a possible buffer effect of
health-promoting leadership on the relationship of these risk
factors with stress and work-related resources was analyzed.
This will deepen the understanding of the importance of
health-promoting leadership for digitalized workplaces and give
an answer to the question of whether leadership behavior can
reduce the potential harmful effects of risk factors in digitalized
workplaces.
The following four hypotheses are proposed: (1) H1, risk factors
in digital work (distributed team work, mobile work, constant
J Med Internet Res 2021 | vol. 23 | iss. 3 | e24906 | p. 4https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906 (page number not for citation purposes)
Bregenzer & JimenezJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
XSL
FO
RenderX
availability, and inefficient technical support) positively relate
to employees’ stress; (2) H2, risk factors in digital work
(distributed team work, mobile work, constant availability, and
inefficient technical support) negatively relate to employees’
work-related resources; (3) H3, health-promoting leadership
moderates the positive relationship between the risk factors in
digital work and employees’ stress (the relationship is weaker
when health-promoting leadership is high); and (4) H4,
health-promoting leadership moderates the negative relationship
between the risk factors in digital work and employees’
work-related resources (the relationship is weaker when
health-promoting leadership is high). Figure 1 summarizes the
overall conceptual model of the study.
Figure 1. Overall conceptual model of the study.
Methods
Participants and Procedures
The study was conducted as an online study with online
questionnaires via the online survey platform Questback. The
invitation for the online study was sent out in cooperation with
a well-known German market research company. The
participants of the study were recruited from the company’s
online panel. To obtain a heterogenous sample, we set the target
male-to-female ratio at about 50:50. The same ratio was used
for age (50% for <40 years and 50% for 40 years). As the
online survey was in German, only German-speaking people
were considered for recruitment (ie, persons from Germany,
Austria, and Switzerland). The market research company
contacted people in the online panel according to these
specifications via email. The only criterion for participation in
the study was work for at least 10 hours per week. If individuals
stated in the questionnaire that they were working less than 10
hours per week, they were filtered out, and on the next page of
the questionnaire, they were told that unfortunately they did not
belong to the target group. The survey was then closed for this
group.
On the first page of the survey, participants were informed about
the purpose of the study, the length of the study, and the contact
address of the research group. Participation was voluntary, and
a small incentive was offered to people who completed all online
questions.
Through this procedure, a representative sample of 1412
German-speaking workers in Austria (n=481, 34.06%), Germany
(n=720, 50.99%), and Switzerland (n=211, 14.94%), who filled
in all online questionnaires, was obtained. In this sample,
56.94% (804/1412) were women and 43.06% (608/1412) were
men. The mean age was 41 years (mean 40.77 years, SD 12.30
years). Additionally, 24.36% (344/1412) had a graduate degree.
On average, the participants worked 35 hours per week (mean
35.07 hours, SD 11.58 hours).
The participants worked in different business sectors. The
majority worked in the service sector (257/1412, 18.20%),
followed by health care (192/1412, 13.60%), commerce
(167/1412, 11.83%), manufacturing (136/1412, 9.63%), and
the public sector (127/1412, 8.99%).
Measures
Risks in Digital Work Scale
In the risks in digital work scale, 10 items measure different
work characteristics in a digitalized workplace that could
increase demands at the workplace for the following: (1)
distributed team work, (2) mobile work, (3) constant availability,
and (4) inefficient technical support. The items are written as
statements and refer to the last 4 weeks (“How many times have
you experienced the following aspects in the last 4 weeks?”).
The 7-point scale ranges from 0 (never) to 6 (always). Example
items for the four dimensions are shown in Table 1.
J Med Internet Res 2021 | vol. 23 | iss. 3 | e24906 | p. 5https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906 (page number not for citation purposes)
Bregenzer & JimenezJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
XSL
FO
RenderX
Table 1. Example items for the risks in digital work scale.
Sample itemConstruct/scale
My colleagues at other locations and I support each other (reversed).Distributed team work
Within a day, my work location changed.Mobile work
I was available for work in my free time (eg, by telephone or email).Constant availability
I received support in case of uncertainties in the technical operation of devices, software, and others (reversed).Inefficient technical support
Health-Promoting Leadership
Health-promoting leadership was measured with the
health-promoting leadership conditions questionnaire (HPLC)
[9], where employees are able to evaluate the frequency of
health-promoting leadership from their direct supervisor during
the last 4 weeks. In this study, a short version with seven items
was used, where each item can be related to one of the following
seven aspects of health-promoting leadership: health awareness,
workload, control, reward, community, fairness, and value fit.
The items are rated on a 7-point scale ranging from 0 (never)
to 6 (always). One example item for the dimension community
is “In the last 4 weeks, my leader took care that…work is
appreciated.”
Stress and Resources
The Recovery-Stress Questionnaire for Work (RESTQ-Work)
[61] assesses the stress state and experienced resources in the
past 7 days/nights. In this study, the short version of the
RESTQ-Work (RESTQ-Work-27) with 27 items was used. The
items can be assigned to a stress or resource score. The stress
score consists of 10 items, and the resource score consists of
17 items. The answer scale is a 7-point scale ranging from 0
(never) to 6 (always). One example item for the stress score is
“In the past 7 days/nights…I felt frustrated through my work,
and one example item for the resource score is “In the past 7
days/nights…I had the chance to make suggestions at work.
Statistical Analyses
The analyses consist of two parts. First, bivariate correlations
showed the relationships between all study variables. Second,
a hierarchical regression analysis was used to test the hypotheses
regarding the moderator effects of health-promoting leadership
on the outcomes of stress and work-related resources. To test
the moderating effects of health-promoting leadership,
interaction terms between health-promoting leadership and all
four risks in digital work variables were computed. Before
computing the interaction terms, the variables were mean
centered (ie, zstandardized). For the analyses, SPSS 26.0 (IBM
Corp) was used.
Results
Descriptive Statistics
Descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations) and
reliabilities (Cronbach α) of the study variables are shown in
Table 2. Correlations of all study variables are shown in Table
3.
Table 2. Descriptive statistics and reliabilities of the study variables.
αScore, mean (SD)Dimension
.602.44 (1.53)Distributed team work
.621.06 (1.19)Mobile work
.712.19 (1.80)Constant availability
.852.43 (1.66)Inefficient technical support
.932.99 (1.59)Health-promoting leadership
.923.24 (1.04)Work-related resources
.932.01 (1.30)Stress
J Med Internet Res 2021 | vol. 23 | iss. 3 | e24906 | p. 6https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906 (page number not for citation purposes)
Bregenzer & JimenezJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
XSL
FO
RenderX
Table 3. Correlations between all study variables (N=1412).
StressWork-related
resources
Health-promoting
leadership
Inefficient tech-
nical support
Constant avail-
ability
Mobile workDistributed
team work
Dimension
Distributed team work
0.280.560.520.580.130.101r
<.001<.001<.001<.001<.001<.001
a
Pvalue
Mobile work
0.220.100.090.160.2910.10r
<.001<.001<.001<.001<.001<.001Pvalue
Constant availability
0.080.120.110.1010.290.13r
<.001<.001<.001<.001<.001<.001Pvalue
Inefficient technical support
0.260.500.5110.100.160.58r
<.001<.001<.001<.001<.001<.001Pvalue
Health-promoting leadership
0.380.6610.510.110.090.52r
<.001<.001<.001<.001<.001<.001Pvalue
Work-related resources
0.4310.660.500.120.100.56r
<.001<.001<.001<.001<.001<.001Pvalue
Stress
10.430.380.260.080.220.28r
<.001<.001<.001<.001<.001<.001Pvalue
aNot applicable.
Regression Analyses
To test our hypotheses, two step-wise regression analyses were
conducted where stress and work-related resources served as
the outcomes and the risk factors of digital work and
health-promoting leadership served as the predictor variables.
In the first step, the risk factors of digital work, including
distributed team work, mobile work, constant availability, and
inefficient technical support, were entered. In the consecutive
second step, health-promoting leadership was entered as the
moderator variable. In the third and final step, the interaction
terms of the moderating variable health-promoting leadership
with the four risk factors were entered. To test if
multicollinearity was an issue in our data, we tested the variance
inflation factor for all independent variables. All variance
inflation factors were below 3 (ranging from 1.02 to 1.70). Thus,
multicollinearity was not an issue in our study.
Regression Analysis With the Outcome Stress
Table 4 summarizes the regression results for the criterion stress
and shows that distributed team work, mobile work, constant
availability, and inefficient technical support accounted for 13%
of the variance in stress. Distributed team work (β=.19, P<.001),
mobile work (β=.15, P<.001), constant availability (β=.08,
P=.003), and inefficient technical support (β=.13, P<.001)
showed significant relationships with stress.
In the second step, health-promoting leadership accounted for
an additional 6% of the variance in stress. The relationship with
stress was negative (β=.31, P<.001), indicating that high
health-promoting leadership is associated with low stress.
In the third and final step, the interaction terms of the
moderating variables were entered. The two interaction terms
mobile work*health-promoting leadership (β=.11, P<.001) and
inefficient technical support*health-promoting leadership
(β=.07, P=.03) were significant. The results did not show a
moderating effect of health-promoting leadership for the
predictors distributed team work and constant availability. This
step accounted for an additional 2% of the variance in stress.
J Med Internet Res 2021 | vol. 23 | iss. 3 | e24906 | p. 7https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906 (page number not for citation purposes)
Bregenzer & JimenezJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
XSL
FO
RenderX
Table 4. Results of hierarchical multiple regression analyses for the criterion stress (R2=20.7%).
Stress resultsa
Step and variable
PvalueF(df)
t(df)b
PvalueβSE BB
<.00150.880 (4,1407)Step 1
6.32 (1407)<.001.190.040.25Distributed team work
5.74 (1407)<.001.150.040.21Mobile work
2.94 (1407).003.080.040.11Constant availability
4.17 (1407)<.001.130.040.17Inefficient technical support
<.00165.673 (5,1406)Step 2
3.01 (1406).003.090.040.12Distributed team work
5.67 (1406)<.001.150.040.20Mobile work
3.56 (1406)<.001.090.030.12Constant availability
1.03 (1406).30.030.040.04Inefficient technical support
10.45 (1406)<.001.310.040.40Health-promoting leadership
<.00140.545 (9,1402)Step 3
3.02 (1402).003.090.040.12Distributed team work
5.87 (1402)<.001.150.040.21Mobile work
3.23 (1402).001.080.030.11Constant availability
1.03 (1402).30.030.040.04Inefficient technical support
8.84 (1402)<.001.270.040.35Health-promoting leadership
1.19 (1402).23.040.040.05Distributed team work*health-promoting
leadership
4.21 (1402)<.001.110.040.15Mobile work*health-promoting leadership
1.15 (1402).25.030.030.04Constant availability*health-promoting
leadership
2.19 (1402).03.070.040.08Inefficient technical support*health-pro-
moting leadership
aStep 1: ΔR2=12.64 (P<.001); Step 2: ΔR2=6.30 (P<.001); Step 3: ΔR2=1.72 (P<.001).
bdf for tvalues were calculated with the formula N-p-1 (p=number of parameters).
Regression Analysis With the Outcome Work-Related
Resources
The results for the criterion work-related resources showed that
distributed team work, mobile work, constant availability, and
inefficient technical support accounted for 37% of the variance
in work-related resources (Table 5). Out of these four predictors,
distributed team work (β=.40, P<.001), constant availability
(β=.05, P=.02), and inefficient technical support (β=.26,
P<.001) showed significant relationships with work-related
resources. Unexpectedly, constant availability showed a low
but positive relationship with work-related resources, indicating
that being constantly available for work is associated with higher
work-related resources. Therefore, only distributed team work
and inefficient technical support were negatively related to
work-related resources.
In the second step, health-promoting leadership accounted for
an additional 15% of the variance in work-related resources.
The relationship was positive (β=.47, P<.001), indicating that
high health-promoting leadership is associated with higher
employees’work-related resources.
In the third and final step, the interaction terms of the
moderating variables were entered. The one interaction term of
mobile work*health-promoting leadership (β=.04, P=.04) was
significant. However, the results did not show a moderating
effect of health-promoting leadership for the other three
predictors.
J Med Internet Res 2021 | vol. 23 | iss. 3 | e24906 | p. 8https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906 (page number not for citation purposes)
Bregenzer & JimenezJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
XSL
FO
RenderX
Table 5. Results of hierarchical multiple regression analyses for the criterion work-related resources (R2=51.3%).
Work-related resourcesa
Step and variable
PvalueF(df)
t(df)b
PvalueβSE BB
<.001204.152 (4,1407)Step 1
15.43 (1407)<.001.400.030.42Distributed team work
1.39 (1407).17.030.030.03Mobile work
2.39 (1407).02.050.020.06Constant availability
9.77 (1407)<.001.260.030.27Inefficient technical support
<.001295.090 (5,1406)Step 2
10.39 (1406)<.001.250.030.26Distributed team work
1.02 (1406).31.020.020.02Mobile work
1.72 (1406).09.030.020.04Constant availability
4.56 (1406)<.001.110.030.11Inefficient technical support
20.43 (1406)<.001.470.020.49Health-promoting leadership
<.001166.282 (9,1402)Step 3
10.40 (1402)<.001.250.030.26Distributed team work
0.60 (1402).55.010.020.01Mobile work
1.62 (1402).11.030.020.04Constant availability
4.79 (1402)<.001.120.030.12Inefficient technical support
19.68 (1402)<.001.470.020.48Health-promoting leadership
1.09 (1402).28.030.020.03Distributed team work*health-promoting
leadership
2.04 (1402).04.040.020.05Mobile work*health-promoting leadership
1.64 (1402).10.030.020.03Constant availability*health-promoting
leadership
1.75 (1402).08.040.020.04Inefficient technical support*health-pro-
moting leadership
aStep 1: ΔR2=36.72 (P<.001); Step 2: ΔR2=14.48 (P<.001); Step 3: ΔR2=0.43 (P=.02).
bdf for tvalues were calculated with the formula N-p-1 (p=number of parameters).
Simple Slope Analyses
In order to investigate the interaction effects, simple slope
analyses were conducted for the significant interaction effects
(Figures 2-4). The slopes indicated that employees with high
health-promoting leadership experienced less stress than
employees with low health-promoting leadership. However,
employees with high mobile work did not seem to benefit much
from health-promoting leadership, as employees with high
mobile work and with high health-promoting leadership seemed
to have a similar stress level as that in employees with low
health-promoting leadership (Figure 2).
As for the risk factor inefficient technical support, having
inefficient technical support was related to higher employee
stress. Having high health-promoting leadership could buffer
this negative relationship, as the stress level of these employees
was lower compared to that in employees with low
health-promoting leadership (Figure 3).
As for work-related resources, employees with high
health-promoting leadership experienced more resources at the
workplace than employees with low health-promoting
leadership. In terms of low health-promoting leadership,
work-related resources were the lowest in the group of
employees with high mobile work (Figure 4).
J Med Internet Res 2021 | vol. 23 | iss. 3 | e24906 | p. 9https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906 (page number not for citation purposes)
Bregenzer & JimenezJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
XSL
FO
RenderX
Figure 2. Effect of a two-way interaction between mobile work and health-promoting leadership on stress. prom.: promoting.
Figure 3. Effect of a two-way interaction between inefficient technical support and health-promoting leadership on stress. prom.: promoting.
J Med Internet Res 2021 | vol. 23 | iss. 3 | e24906 | p. 10https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906 (page number not for citation purposes)
Bregenzer & JimenezJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
XSL
FO
RenderX
Figure 4. Effect of a two-way interaction between mobile work and health-promoting leadership on work-related resources. prom.: promoting.
Discussion
Principal Results
Risk Factors of Digital Work
This study explored the relationships between four risk factors
of digital work (distributed team work, mobile work, constant
availability, and inefficient technical support) and employees’
stress and work-related resources. In addition, the potential role
of health-promoting leadership in reducing the critical effects
of digital work was investigated.
The results showed that all four risk factors of digital work
(distributed team work, mobile work, constant availability, and
inefficient technical support) were related to higher employee
stress. In addition, distributed team work and inefficient
technical support were associated with lower work-related
resources.
This is in line with previous literature on digital workplaces.
Distributed team work (or in other words, virtual team work)
can lead to higher stress, since team collaboration and team
support are difficult in teams with low face-to-face contact [20].
This might be the reason for experiencing higher stress and
lower resources in this kind of teamwork, such as lower
participation and decision possibilities and lower social support.
Inefficient technical support, such as receiving low support in
learning and using digital tools, is a critical factor as well, which
has potential harmful effects on employees’well-being. Support
options, such as training, peer assistance, and efficient support
from the technical department if available, are factors that are
relatively easy to implement in the organization and can reduce
the critical effects on stress and resources.
The results for the risk factor mobile work showed a positive
relationship with stress, which is consistent with previous
literature. It has been shown that working in multiple locations
increases mental demands, such as more interruptions or
distractions, increased feeling of “timeless” continuous work,
and constant changing of the rhythm of work [15,32]. However,
an effect on work-related resources could not be found in this
study. This means that mobile work neither increases nor
decreases the work-related resources of employees. Important
work-related resources, such as autonomy, decision-making,
and participation opportunities, as well as social contact with
colleagues, do not seem to be affected by mobile work.
We expected that being constantly available for work via
telephone or email would be related to higher stress and lower
work-related resources. Indeed, constant availability was related
to higher employee stress, indicating that the expectation of
having to be constantly available for work can lead to difficulties
detaching from work, which harms the well-being of employees
[35,36]. Unexpectedly, being constantly available for work
showed a low but positive relationship with work-related
resources. Another study conducted by ten Brummelhuis et al
[4] came to a similar conclusion. In their study, constant
availability via email or telephone was associated with greater
work flexibility, which is perceived as a resource by employees.
The simultaneous perception of increased resources and
increased stress at the workplace seems implausible at first, but
is actually not a contradiction. In the view of Kallus [62],
increased stress and increased work-related resources can occur
simultaneously. This seems to be the case with our findings in
this study. Being constantly available increases stress, as
employees might have difficulties detaching from work. At the
same time, employees might experience higher flexibility, which
is also associated with work-related resources such as higher
autonomy.
However, chronic stress might tax the employees’resources to
the extent that resources are damaged and lost to the point where
they cannot be activated anymore [56]. Employees and
organizations must therefore always pay attention to a balance
between stress and resources. The relationships between constant
availability and both outcomes were small though. Further
J Med Internet Res 2021 | vol. 23 | iss. 3 | e24906 | p. 11https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906 (page number not for citation purposes)
Bregenzer & JimenezJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
XSL
FO
RenderX
studies are needed to deepen the understanding of the possible
critical and beneficial effects of constant availability.
Health-Promoting Leadership
Increasing digitalization of the workplace should support
employees in their work tasks and not additionally burden them.
Leaders play a key role in ensuring that work is designed in a
health-promoting way [9]. In this study, we investigated if
leaders engaging in health-promoting leadership could act as a
buffer between the risks emerging from digital work and critical
outcomes of employee well-being.
The results showed interaction effects between mobile work
and health-promoting leadership, as well as between inefficient
technical support and health-promoting leadership. As for the
first interaction effect, the analysis revealed that the combination
of low mobile work and high health-promoting leadership was
related to low employee stress. This means that having a work
location that usually does not change during the week and
having a health-promoting leader seems to be the best condition
for employee well-being. For employees with high mobile work,
the beneficial effect of health-promoting leadership on stress
could not be verified. It is possible that the conditions of mobile
work make health-promoting leadership behavior more difficult,
since the physical distance places special demands on the
management and promotion of employees. Therefore,
health-promoting leadership cannot buffer the critical effect on
stress anymore, as leaders are far away most of the time.
Interestingly, mobile work did not increase or decrease the
work-related resources of employees. A potential buffer effect
of health-promoting leadership could not be verified. An
explanation could be that mobile work itself is perceived as a
resource by involving higher autonomy and more
decision-making and participation opportunities. Physical
distance can also be an obstacle for leaders to build up
work-related resources [63].
Further, the results showed an interaction effect between
health-promoting leadership and inefficient technical support.
Experiencing high support in using digital tools and being led
in a health-promoting way seems to be the best combination
for employees in regard to stress. With a health-promoting leader
and at the same time fewer support opportunities in learning
and using digital tools, the stress of employees is high but still
below that of employees with low health-promoting leadership.
In other words, in the case of experiencing hindrances in
learning and using digital tools, leaders can weaken the potential
critical effects on stress. This is in line with previous findings,
where high support from supervisors helped employees to cope
with using new technology at the workplace, which demands
high learning effort [42,50].
Theoretical Implications
Mental risk factors in the workplace that lead to mental stress
must be carefully evaluated in each workplace according to
international norms like ISO 45001 [64] and especially European
laws (eg, the Framework Directive 89/391/EEC [65] and the
European Framework for Psychosocial Risk Management,
PRIMA-EF [66]). In this study, we were able to show that risk
factors in a digitalized work environment must be considered
in addition to the commonly evaluated risk factors. Currently,
the so-called risk assessment focuses strongly on the following
areas: the physical environment, the organizational and social
environment, and the task itself (ISO 10075-1 [11]). This study
presents the following four possible risk factors that could be
included in addition to the aforementioned areas: distributed
team work, mobile work, constant availability, and inefficient
technical support. We strongly suggest including these risks in
current theoretical concepts about risk assessment at the
workplace.
In research regarding NWW, possible negative effects of new
forms of working are already considered [7]. However, research
regarding the positive aspects of NWW still outweighs research
regarding the negative effects. Although the advantages of
NWW are obvious, such as being flexible regarding working
time and location and having higher work-family balance,
negative effects are possible if the working conditions are not
optimally designed. The results of this study showed that a more
critical view of the effects of NWW should be included in
research.
In this study, we assumed that leaders who lead in a
health-promoting way act as a buffer between work-related
demands and employee well-being [54]. The results showed
that this buffer effect was visible for one of the four risk factors
(inefficient technical support). Although stress among employees
increases if they receive little support, explanation, and
information when using digital tools, the increase is not as strong
if leaders lead in a health-promoting way. For the other three
risk factors (distributed team work, mobile work, and constant
availability), the results did not indicate a buffer effect.
Employees experience the best working conditions when
workplaces have low risks and when health-promoting
leadership is high. In a digitalized working world with special
risks, such as virtual teamwork, mobile working, and constant
availability, it seems that leaders need to show leadership
behavior adapted to these working conditions in order to reduce
employee stress and increase work-related resources. Research
is yet to define such a leadership model that is best suited for
digital workplaces. Initial approaches in the field of virtual
teams exist, which could serve as a base for such a leadership
model [17,67,68]. Nevertheless, the goal should be a broader
leadership concept that goes beyond research on virtual teams.
Practical Implications
In order to remain competitive, many companies are switching
to elements of new ways of working, such as home office,
mobile work, and increased use of digital media. For successful
digitalization of the working process, both the company and
individual employees must adapt well to the changed working
conditions. Therefore, interventions to support health-promoting
digitalization of the workplace have to be developed. In a
workplace where digitalization is already well advanced, it is
plausible to set digital interventions. For example, the whole
process of workplace health promotion can be done digitally,
starting with electronic feedback tools to recognize employees’
health states and extending to creating and implementing
eHealth tools [69]. The adoption of eHealth tools to promote
physical and mental health is an effective way to support
J Med Internet Res 2021 | vol. 23 | iss. 3 | e24906 | p. 12https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906 (page number not for citation purposes)
Bregenzer & JimenezJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
XSL
FO
RenderX
employees [70-72]. Organizations can also benefit from eHealth
tools by quickly receiving anonymized feedback about the
well-being of their employees. In the event of critical feedback,
the organization can act to avoid negative consequences, such
as stress and burnout.
Leaders in particular must recognize the needs of their
employees in a digitalized work environment even more strongly
than in traditional work settings and adapt their leadership
behavior accordingly. In addition, in the time of COVID-19,
the support of leaders plays a much stronger role in reducing
the stress for employees [73]. During the COVID-19 pandemic,
many employees are working in home offices, and thus,
solutions are needed for leaders on how employees can be
optimally supported from a distance. The results of this study
provide initial insights into the difficulties of leadership in a
digitalized work environment. For example, our results indicate
that when employees have high mobile work and therefore are
locally distant from their leaders, leaders need more support to
be able to lead in a health-promoting way. For this kind of work,
certain aspects of digitalization can be an advantage, as digital
tools can allow leaders to keep close contact with their
employees, for example, by using video calls or chat.
Limitations
This study was a cross-sectional study with the data collected
at one measurement point. To determine causality, longitudinal
analyses are needed. It seems plausible that risk factors at the
organization level affect the well-being of employees and not
the other way around. However, it is possible that highly stressed
employees perceive certain work characteristics more negatively
and thus rate these characteristics as more demanding.
Same-source bias is a possible limitation of the study. As we
asked employees to rate risk factors in the organization, we
assessed the perceived risk factors from the view of employees.
Health-promoting leadership was measured in a similar way.
Although most research in the field of work-related risks and
work characteristics has been conducted at the individual level
(at the level of employees), a multilevel view of work
characteristics (eg, bringing together the rating of teams) is a
more accurate measurement of risk factors in the organization.
Since we conducted the study through an online panel
organization, we did not have any personal information of the
participants, such as names and email addresses. Additionally,
participation did not entail any obligation or dependency. As a
result, we were able to reduce fears of anonymity, and therefore,
we can assume that the responses were honest. Of course, there
is always the effect that people want to present themselves better
than how they are in reality. We cannot completely rule out the
possibility that people answered questions about their work
environment more critically or less critically. However, we
assume that the way the study was conducted reduced this bias.
Conclusions
The results show that all four risk factors of digital work
(distributed team work, mobile work, constant availability, and
inefficient technical support) are related to higher stress among
employees. As for a possible buffer effect of health-promoting
leadership, we found that leaders can mitigate the critical effect
of inefficient technical support on stress by showing
health-promoting leadership behavior. However, risk factors,
such as virtual team work and mobile work, might need a
different leadership behavior to reduce the health-impairing
effects on employee well-being. The physical distance between
leaders and employees in virtual team work and in mobile work
might hamper leaders in leading in a health-promoting way.
Interestingly, being constantly available for work, including
during leisure time, is not as much of a risk as other factors, as
employees perceive more work-related resources. More research
is needed to identify the conditions under which constant
availability has beneficial or impairing effects on the well-being
of employees.
Acknowledgments
The authors wish to thank Agnes Diebschlag, Michaela Höfer, Cornelia Hubich-Schmon, Angelika Lepold, and Martin Weßel
for their support in the organization of the study “Working World D-A-CH.” This publication has financial support from the
University of Graz.
Conflicts of Interest
None declared.
References
1. Bordi L, Okkonen J, Mäkiniemi J, Heikkilä-Tammi K. Communication in the Digital Work Environment: Implications for
Wellbeing at Work. NJWLS 2018 Apr 12;8(S3). [doi: 10.18291/njwls.v8is3.105275]
2. Köffer S. Designing the digital workplace of the future – what scholars recommend to practitioners. 2015 Presented at:
International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS 2015); December 13-16, 2015; Fort Worth, USA.
3. Blok MM, Groenesteijn L, Schelvis R, Vink P. New Ways of Working: does flexibility in time and location of work change
work behavior and affect business outcomes? Work 2012;41 Suppl 1:2605-2610. [doi: 10.3233/WOR-2012-1028-2605]
[Medline: 22317114]
4. ten Brummelhuis LL, Bakker AB, Hetland J, Keulemans L. Do new ways of working foster work engagement? Psicothema
2012 Feb;24(1):113-120. [Medline: 22269373]
5. Duque L, Costa R, Dias Á, Pereira L, Santos J, António N. New Ways of Working and the Physical Environment to Improve
Employee Engagement. Sustainability 2020 Aug 20;12(17):6759. [doi: 10.3390/su12176759]
J Med Internet Res 2021 | vol. 23 | iss. 3 | e24906 | p. 13https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906 (page number not for citation purposes)
Bregenzer & JimenezJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
XSL
FO
RenderX
6. Gerards R, de Grip A, Baudewijns C. Do new ways of working increase work engagement? PR 2018 Mar 05;47(2):517-534.
[doi: 10.1108/pr-02-2017-0050]
7. Kotera Y, Correa Vione K. Psychological Impacts of the New Ways of Working (NWW): A Systematic Review. Int J
Environ Res Public Health 2020 Jul 14;17(14) [FREE Full text] [doi: 10.3390/ijerph17145080] [Medline: 32674518]
8. Schaufeli WB. Engaging leadership in the job demands-resources model. Career Dev Int 2015 Sep 14;20(5):446-463. [doi:
10.1108/cdi-02-2015-0025]
9. Jiménez P, Winkler B, Bregenzer A. Developing Sustainable Workplaces with Leadership: Feedback about Organizational
Working Conditions to Support Leaders in Health-Promoting Behavior. Sustainability 2017 Oct 26;9(11):1944. [doi:
10.3390/su9111944]
10. Bregenzer A, Wagner-Hartl V, Jiménez P. Who uses apps in health promotion? A target group analysis of leaders. Health
Informatics J 2019 Sep;25(3):1038-1052 [FREE Full text] [doi: 10.1177/1460458217738121] [Medline: 29113522]
11. ISO 10075-1:2017 Ergonomic principles related to mental workload — Part 1: General issues and concepts, terms and
definitions. URL: https://www.iso.org/standard/66900.html [accessed 2021-03-02]
12. Beehr TA, Jex SM, Stacy BA, Murray MA. Work stressors and coworker support as predictors of individual strain and job
performance. J. Organiz. Behav 2000 Jun;21(4):391-405. [doi:
10.1002/(sici)1099-1379(200006)21:4<391::aid-job15>3.0.co;2-9]
13. International Labour Organization. Psychosocial Factors at Work: Recognition and Control. Geneva, Switzerland: International
Labour Office; 1986.
14. Dulebohn JH, Hoch JE. Virtual teams in organizations. Human Resource Management Review 2017 Dec;27(4):569-574.
[doi: 10.1016/j.hrmr.2016.12.004]
15. Vartiainen M, Hyrkkänen U. Changing requirements and mental workload factors in mobile multilocational work. New
Technology, Work and Employment 2010;25(2):117-135. [doi: 10.1111/j.1468-005X.2010.00243.x]
16. Van Steenbergen EF, van der Ven C, Peeters MCW, Taris TW. Transitioning Towards New Ways of Working: Do Job
Demands, Job Resources, Burnout, and Engagement Change? Psychol Rep 2018 Aug;121(4):736-766 [FREE Full text]
[doi: 10.1177/0033294117740134] [Medline: 29298562]
17. Hoch JE, Kozlowski SWJ. Leading virtual teams: hierarchical leadership, structural supports, and shared team leadership.
J Appl Psychol 2014 May;99(3):390-403. [doi: 10.1037/a0030264] [Medline: 23205494]
18. Bergiel BJ, Bergiel EB, Balsmeier PW. Nature of virtual teams: a summary of their advantages and disadvantages.
Management Research News 2008 Jan 25;31(2):99-110. [doi: 10.1108/01409170810846821]
19. Hinds PJ, Bailey DE. Out of Sight, Out of Sync: Understanding Conflict in Distributed Teams. Organization Science 2003
Dec;14(6):615-632. [doi: 10.1287/orsc.14.6.615.24872]
20. Hinds PJ, Mortensen M. Understanding Conflict in Geographically Distributed Teams: The Moderating Effects of Shared
Identity, Shared Context, and Spontaneous Communication. Organization Science 2005 Jun;16(3):290-307. [doi:
10.1287/orsc.1050.0122]
21. Martínez-Moreno E, Zornoza A, Orengo V, Thompson LF. The Effects of Team Self-Guided Training on Conflict
Management in Virtual Teams. Group Decis Negot 2014 Nov 9;24(5):905-923. [doi: 10.1007/s10726-014-9421-7]
22. Martins LL, Gilson LL, Maynard MT. Virtual Teams: What Do We Know and Where Do We Go From Here? Journal of
Management 2016 Jun 23;30(6):805-835. [doi: 10.1016/j.jm.2004.05.002]
23. Nurmi N. Coping with coping strategies: how distributed teams and their members deal with the stress of distance, time
zones and culture. Stress Health 2011 Apr 13;27(2):123-143. [doi: 10.1002/smi.1327] [Medline: 27486615]
24. Friedman RA, Tidd ST, Currall SC, Tsai JC. What Goes Comes Around: The Impact of Personal Conflict Style on Work
Conflict and Stress. Int Jnl of Conflict Management 2000 Jan;11(1):32-55. [doi: 10.1108/eb022834]
25. Barley SR, Meyerson DE, Grodal S. E-mail as a Source and Symbol of Stress. Organization Science 2011 Aug;22(4):887-906.
[doi: 10.1287/orsc.1100.0573]
26. Hislop D, Axtell C. The neglect of spatial mobility in contemporary studies of work: the case of telework. New Tech Work
Empl 2007 Mar;22(1):34-51. [doi: 10.1111/j.1468-005x.2007.00182.x]
27. Telework and ICT-based mobile work: Flexible working in the digital age. Eurofound. 2020. URL: https://www.
eurofound.europa.eu/publications/report/2020/telework-and-ict-based-mobile-work-flexible-working-in-the-digital-age
[accessed 2021-03-02]
28. Neis B, Lippel K. Occupational Health and Safety and the Mobile Workforce: Insights From a Canadian Research Program.
New Solut 2019 Nov;29(3):297-316. [doi: 10.1177/1048291119876681] [Medline: 31608823]
29. Redman T, Snape E, Ashurst C. Location, Location, Location: Does Place of Work Really Matter? British Journal of
Management 2009;20:171-181. [doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8551.2008.00640.x]
30. Hill EJ, Hawkins AJ, Ferris M, Weitzman M. Finding an Extra Day a Week: The Positive Influence of Perceived Job
Flexibility on Work and Family Life Balance. Family Relations 2001 Jan;50(1):49-58. [doi:
10.1111/j.1741-3729.2001.00049.x]
31. Brunelle E. Leadership and Mobile Working: The Impact of Distance on the Superior-Subordinate Relationship and the
Moderating Effects of Leadership Style. IJBSS 2013;4(11):1-14. [doi: 10.30845/ijbss]
J Med Internet Res 2021 | vol. 23 | iss. 3 | e24906 | p. 14https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906 (page number not for citation purposes)
Bregenzer & JimenezJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
XSL
FO
RenderX
32. Paridon H, Hupke M. Psychosocial Impact of Mobile Telework: Results from an Online Survey. EJOP 2009 Feb 28;5(1).
[doi: 10.5964/ejop.v5i1.282]
33. Park J, Kim S, Lee H. Effect of work-related smartphone use after work on job burnout: Moderating effect of social support
and organizational politics. Computers in Human Behavior 2020 Apr;105:106194. [doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2019.106194]
34. Büchler N, ter Hoeven CL, van Zoonen W. Understanding constant connectivity to work: How and for whom is constant
connectivity related to employee well-being? Information and Organization 2020 Sep;30(3):100302. [doi:
10.1016/j.infoandorg.2020.100302]
35. Derks D, van Duin D, Tims M, Bakker AB. Smartphone use and work-home interference: The moderating role of social
norms and employee work engagement. J Occup Organ Psychol 2014 Aug 29;88(1):155-177. [doi: 10.1111/joop.12083]
36. Mellner C. After-hours availability expectations, work-related smartphone use during leisure, and psychological detachment:
The moderating role of boundary control. Intl J of Workplace Health Mgt 2016 Jun 13;9(2):146-164. [doi:
10.1108/ijwhm-07-2015-0050]
37. Derks D, ten Brummelhuis LL, Zecic D, Bakker AB. Switching on and off … : Does smartphone use obstruct the possibility
to engage in recovery activities? European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 2012 Aug 28;23(1):80-90. [doi:
10.1080/1359432x.2012.711013]
38. Dettmers J. How extended work availability affects well-being: The mediating roles of psychological detachment and
work-family-conflict. Work & Stress 2017 Mar 27;31(1):24-41. [doi: 10.1080/02678373.2017.1298164]
39. Demerouti E, Derks D, ten Brummelhuis L, Bakker AB. New Ways of Working: Impact on Working Conditions,
Work–Family Balance, and Well-Being. In: Korunka C, Hoonakker P, editors. The Impact of ICT on Quality of Working
Life. Dordrecht: Springer; 2014:123-142.
40. Stadin M, Nordin M, Broström A, Magnusson Hanson LL, Westerlund H, Fransson EI. Information and communication
technology demands at work: the association with job strain, effort-reward imbalance and self-rated health in different
socio-economic strata. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2016 Oct;89(7):1049-1058 [FREE Full text] [doi:
10.1007/s00420-016-1140-8] [Medline: 27193569]
41. Rutkowski A, Saunders CS. Growing Pains with Information Overload. Computer 2010 Jun;43(6):96-95. [doi:
10.1109/mc.2010.171]
42. Salanova M, Llorens S, Cifre E. The dark side of technologies: technostress among users of information and communication
technologies. Int J Psychol 2013;48(3):422-436. [doi: 10.1080/00207594.2012.680460] [Medline: 22731610]
43. Shu Q, Tu Q, Wang K. The Impact of Computer Self-Efficacy and Technology Dependence on Computer-Related
Technostress: A Social Cognitive Theory Perspective. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction 2011
Oct;27(10):923-939. [doi: 10.1080/10447318.2011.555313]
44. Weil M, Rosen L. TechnoStress: Coping with Technology @Work @Home @Play. Hoboken, NJ, USA: John Wiley &
Sons Inc; 1997.
45. La Torre G, Esposito A, Sciarra I, Chiappetta M. Definition, symptoms and risk of techno-stress: a systematic review. Int
Arch Occup Environ Health 2019 Jan;92(1):13-35. [doi: 10.1007/s00420-018-1352-1] [Medline: 30196317]
46. Ayyagari R, Grover V, Purvis R. Technostress: Technological Antecedents and Implications. MIS Quarterly 2011;35(4):831.
[doi: 10.2307/41409963]
47. Korunka C, Kubicek B, Paškvan M, Ulferts H. Changes in work intensification and intensified learning: challenge or
hindrance demands? Journal of Managerial Psych 2015 Sep 14;30(7):786-800. [doi: 10.1108/jmp-02-2013-0065]
48. Ragu-Nathan TS, Tarafdar M, Ragu-Nathan BS, Tu Q. The Consequences of Technostress for End Users in Organizations:
Conceptual Development and Empirical Validation. Information Systems Research 2008 Dec;19(4):417-433. [doi:
10.1287/isre.1070.0165]
49. Yueh H, Lu M, Lin W. Employees' acceptance of mobile technology in a workplace: An empirical study using SEM and
fsQCA. Journal of Business Research 2016 Jun;69(6):2318-2324. [doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2015.12.048]
50. Knani M, Fournier P, Biron C. Psychosocial risks, burnout and intention to quit following the introduction of new software
at work. Work 2018;60(1):95-104. [doi: 10.3233/WOR-182714] [Medline: 29733035]
51. Atanasoff L, Venable MA. Technostress: Implications for Adults in the Workforce. The Career Development Quarterly
2017 Dec 07;65(4):326-338. [doi: 10.1002/cdq.12111]
52. Morrison-Smith S, Ruiz J. Challenges and barriers in virtual teams: a literature review. SN Appl. Sci 2020 May 20;2(6).
[doi: 10.1007/s42452-020-2801-5]
53. Purvanova RK, Bono JE. Transformational leadership in context: Face-to-face and virtual teams. The Leadership Quarterly
2009 Jun;20(3):343-357. [doi: 10.1016/j.leaqua.2009.03.004]
54. Wegge J, Shemla M, Haslam SA. Leader Behavior as a Determinant of Health at Work: Specification and Evidence of Five
Key Pathways. German Journal of Human Resource Management: Zeitschrift für Personalforschung 2014 Feb
01;28(1-2):6-23. [doi: 10.1177/239700221402800102]
55. Bakker AB, Demerouti E. The Job DemandsResources model: state of the art. Journal of Managerial Psych 2007 Apr
03;22(3):309-328. [doi: 10.1108/02683940710733115]
56. Hobfoll SE. Conservation of resources: A new attempt at conceptualizing stress. American Psychologist 1989;44(3):513-524.
[doi: 10.1037/0003-066x.44.3.513]
J Med Internet Res 2021 | vol. 23 | iss. 3 | e24906 | p. 15https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906 (page number not for citation purposes)
Bregenzer & JimenezJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
XSL
FO
RenderX
57. Bregenzer A, Felfe J, Bergner S, Jiménez P. How followers’emotional stability and cultural value orientations moderate
the impact of health-promoting leadership and abusive supervision on health-related resources. German Journal of Human
Resource Management 2019 Feb 02;33(4):307-336. [doi: 10.1177/2397002218823300]
58. Jiménez P, Bregenzer A, Kallus KW, Fruhwirth B, Wagner-Hartl V. Enhancing Resources at the Workplace with
Health-Promoting Leadership. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2017 Oct 20;14(10):1264 [FREE Full text] [doi:
10.3390/ijerph14101264] [Medline: 29053640]
59. Maslach C, Leiter MP. Early predictors of job burnout and engagement. J Appl Psychol 2008 May;93(3):498-512. [doi:
10.1037/0021-9010.93.3.498] [Medline: 18457483]
60. Jiménez P, Winkler B, Dunkl A. Creating a healthy working environment with leadership: the concept of health-promoting
leadership. The International Journal of Human Resource Management 2016 Feb 19;28(17):2430-2448. [doi:
10.1080/09585192.2015.1137609]
61. Jiménez P, Dunkl A, Kallus KW. Recovery-Stress-Questionnaire for Work. In: Kallus KW, Kellmann M, editors. The
Recovery-Stress Questionnaires: User Manual. Frankfurt, Germany: Pearson Assessment & Information GmbH;
2016:158-187.
62. Kallus K. Stress and Recovery: An Overview. In: Kallus KW, Kellmann M, editors. RESTQ. The Recovery-Stress
Questionnaire. Frankfurt, Germany: Pearson Assessment & Information GmbH; 2016:27-48.
63. DeRosa DM, Hantula DA, Kock N, D'Arcy J. Trust and leadership in virtual teamwork: A media naturalness perspective.
Hum. Resour. Manage 2004;43(2-3):219-232. [doi: 10.1002/hrm.20016]
64. ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety. URL: https://www.iso.org/iso-45001-occupational-health-and-safety.html
[accessed 2021-03-02]
65. Council Directive of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of
workers at work (89/391/EEC). EUR-Lex. URL: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/
?uri=CELEX:01989L0391-20081211 [accessed 2021-02-25]
66. Leka S, Jain A, Cox T, Kortum E. The development of the European framework for psychosocial risk management:
PRIMA-EF. J Occup Health 2011 Apr 20;53(2):137-143 [FREE Full text] [doi: 10.1539/joh.o10010] [Medline: 21325735]
67. Liao C. Leadership in virtual teams: A multilevel perspective. Human Resource Management Review 2017
Dec;27(4):648-659. [doi: 10.1016/j.hrmr.2016.12.010]
68. Schmidt GB. Virtual Leadership: An Important Leadership Context. Ind. organ. psychol 2015 Jan 07;7(2):182-187. [doi:
10.1111/iops.12129]
69. Jimenez P, Bregenzer A. Integration of eHealth Tools in the Process of Workplace Health Promotion: Proposal for Design
and Implementation. J Med Internet Res 2018 Feb 23;20(2):e65 [FREE Full text] [doi: 10.2196/jmir.8769] [Medline:
29475828]
70. Balk-Møller NC, Poulsen SK, Larsen TM. Effect of a Nine-Month Web- and App-Based Workplace Intervention to Promote
Healthy Lifestyle and Weight Loss for Employees in the Social Welfare and Health Care Sector: A Randomized Controlled
Trial. J Med Internet Res 2017 Apr 10;19(4):e108 [FREE Full text] [doi: 10.2196/jmir.6196] [Medline: 28396303]
71. Carolan S, Harris PR, Cavanagh K. Improving Employee Well-Being and Effectiveness: Systematic Review and
Meta-Analysis of Web-Based Psychological Interventions Delivered in the Workplace. J Med Internet Res 2017 Jul
26;19(7):e271 [FREE Full text] [doi: 10.2196/jmir.7583] [Medline: 28747293]
72. De Cocker K, De Bourdeaudhuij I, Cardon G, Vandelanotte C. The Effectiveness of a Web-Based Computer-Tailored
Intervention on Workplace Sitting: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Med Internet Res 2016 May 31;18(5):e96 [FREE
Full text] [doi: 10.2196/jmir.5266] [Medline: 27245789]
73. Evanoff BA, Strickland JR, Dale AM, Hayibor L, Page E, Duncan JG, et al. Work-Related and Personal Factors Associated
With Mental Well-Being During the COVID-19 Response: Survey of Health Care and Other Workers. J Med Internet Res
2020 Aug 25;22(8):e21366 [FREE Full text] [doi: 10.2196/21366] [Medline: 32763891]
Abbreviations
ICT: information and communication technology
NWW: new ways of working
J Med Internet Res 2021 | vol. 23 | iss. 3 | e24906 | p. 16https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906 (page number not for citation purposes)
Bregenzer & JimenezJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
XSL
FO
RenderX
Edited by G Eysenbach; submitted 09.10.20; peer-reviewed by F Solsona, D Tchir, B Nievas Soriano; comments to author 02.11.20;
revised version received 13.11.20; accepted 18.01.21; published 12.03.21
Please cite as:
Bregenzer A, Jimenez P
Risk Factors and Leadership in a Digitalized Working World and Their Effects on Employees’ Stress and Resources: Web-Based
Questionnaire Study
J Med Internet Res 2021;23(3):e24906
URL: https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906
doi: 10.2196/24906
PMID:
©Anita Bregenzer, Paulino Jimenez. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org),
12.03.2021. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium,
provided the original work, first published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, is properly cited. The complete bibliographic
information, a link to the original publication on http://www.jmir.org/, as well as this copyright and license information must be
included.
J Med Internet Res 2021 | vol. 23 | iss. 3 | e24906 | p. 17https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24906 (page number not for citation purposes)
Bregenzer & JimenezJOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
XSL
FO
RenderX
... And lastly, the study by Bregenzer and Jimenez (2021) revealed that risk factors of digital work (distributed team work, mobile work, constant availability, and inefficient technical support) were positively associated with stress perceptions among employees. Health-promoting leadership was negatively associated with stress perceptions (ß = −0.31, ...
... p < 0.001). Additionally, statistical moderation effects on health-promoting leadership in the association between stress perceptions and two risk factors (mobile work * health-promoting leadership: ß = 0.11, p < 0.001; inefficient technical support * health-promoting leadership: ß = 0.07, p < 0.03) were reported (Bregenzer and Jimenez, 2021). ...
... With regard to mental health, five studies indicated that leaders using a high quality MBO, a health-oriented leadership style, or supportive leadership behaviors were negatively associated with psychological strain (Konradt et al., 2003;Bentley et al., 2016) and stress perceptions (Bregenzer and Jimenez, 2021) and were positively associated with well-being of employees (Poulsen and Ipsen, 2017;Karani and Mehta, 2021). The associations of virtual leadership and mental health outcomes examined in these studies suggested social isolation (Bentley et al., 2016) and work engagement (Karani and Mehta, 2021) as potential mediators. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background The significant increase of digital collaboration, driven by the current COVID-19 pandemic, is resulting in changes in working conditions and associated changes in the stress-strain perception of employees. Due to the evident leadership influence on employees' health and well-being in traditional work settings, there is a need to investigate leadership in virtual remote work contexts as well. The objective of this scoping review was to assess the extent and type of evidence concerning virtual leadership in relation to employees' mental health, job satisfaction and perceptions of isolation. Method A search was undertaken in five databases, PubMed, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, PSYNDEX and Web of Science, as well as reference lists of included articles on 9th February 2021 and an update on 28th September 2021. The search strategy was limited to English, German and French language, peer reviewed journal articles published from January 2000 onwards. This scoping review was conducted in accordance with the JBI methodology for scoping reviews. The methodological quality of the included studies was assessed using the JBI critical appraisal tools. A narrative synthesis was conducted. Results Nineteen studies met the eligibility criteria for this review. Overarching review findings suggested a positive link between virtual leadership and well-being, job satisfaction, and a negative link to psychological strain, stress and perceptions of isolation of digitally collaborating employees. Conclusions By mapping the available evidence on virtual leadership in relation to health and work-related employee outcomes, the review identified many research gaps in terms of content and methodology. Due to limited data, causal relationships were not derived. Future research is needed to examine the complex cause-and-effect relationships of virtual leadership in more detail.
... Hälsofrämjande ledarskap (Bregenzer & Jimenez, 2021;Nielsen m.fl., 2019) Situationsanpassa och hålla samman ...
... I de kvantitativa studierna bekräftas betydelsen av att chefen fokuserar på hälsa. I en studie fann de att ett hälsofrämjande ledarskap hade ett negativt samband med upplevd stress (Bregenzer & Jimenez, 2021). I en annan fann de att ett hälsofrämjande ledarskap inte hade ett direkt samband till självskattad hälsa, utan att sambandet medierades via arbetsgemenskap (Nielsen m.fl., 2019). ...
... Den femte typen av identifierade ledarbeteenden, Sätta värde på och sanktionera, handlar om att främja hälsa på arbetsplatsen genom att visa att det är en viktig fråga samt genom att föregå med gott exempel och visa att man tar hand om sin egen hälsa. Att denna typ av beteenden skulle ha ett tydligt samband till välbefinnande och arbetsprestation saknar ännu forskningsstöd, då det endast är två kvantitativa studier som undersökt sådant hälsofrämjande ledarledarskap specifikt och de resultat de finner varierar (Bregenzer & Jimenez, 2021;Nielsen m.fl., 2019). Ingen har heller undersökt sådana ledarbeteenden till arbetsprestation. ...
... As a result, most professional employees now interact in virtual teams. [27] Team collaboration is increasingly becoming virtual during the Covid pandemic and is expected to have postpandemic impact in the long-term. Virtual interaction enhances work relationships through mentoring team dynamic initiatives [28], affecting various attributes of leadership and work climate in a public organization. ...
Article
Full-text available
Psychosocial risk factors associated with stressful working conditions after COVID-19 outbreak, have been studied in 20 nurses of a Basic Hospital in a rural area of Ecuador. Previous studies showed that social relationships, autonomy, and psychological demands were prominent dimensions that lead the risk perception. The aim of this study was to identify determinant leadership in the well-being of nurses and its influence in the psychosocial environment. After the intervention a positive participatory (83%) and collaborative (81%) performance was accomplished, directive leadership decreased (70%), while achievement-oriented leadership remained low (68%). The Wilcoxon test showed significant differences in qualitative-quantitative dimensions of psychological risk (Z= -3.100; p<.01), and (Z= -2.925; p<.01) respectively. Significant relationships among risk factors, perceived work climate and perception of leadership styles was possible to improve the well-being, by using a virtual team model based on participatory leadership. Findings are discussed and measures are proposed for future research.
... According to Bregenzer and Jimenez (2021), as the workplace becomes more digitalized, many new features of working life become apparent, including the need for support in adjusting to and learning new digital technologies, and working in virtual teams, mobile working, and expectations of being always available. There may be dangers in certain workplace modifications that could be detrimental to workers' health. ...
... Digital leadership should collaborate with the governments at both the local and international levels to provide support, clear directions to all groups of the stakeholders and to ensure availability and easy-access to work-related resources during the digital transformation. Organisations should also take care of employees' well-being and aim to unveil institutional factors which may cause work stress, such as employees' constant availability, inefficient technical support, longer work hours and work isolation (Bregenzer and Jimenez, 2021). In cases that organisations may ensure employee health and safety during a pandemic, a hybrid model/work framework should be developed, enabling employees to combine work-from-home with physical presence at the office, enhance interaction and involvement in their daily work practices, as well as avoid long ineffective work hours. ...
Article
COVID-19 pandemic has created an unparalleled social and economic calamity that has impacted organisational performance worldwide, thus, accelerating both employers and employees to switch to digitalisation. Using the Resource-Based View (RBV) of the firm, the study aims to explore the impact of digitalisation (both business and HRM) on performance of SMEs operating in both local and international markets as well as on their employees’ well-being. The study outcomes add value to the emerging research on SMEs’ digitalisation in the era of the pandemic and advance our understanding of the necessary conditions to achieve it. To this end, the role of digital leadership is proposed as a moderator in the above-mentioned relationships. The study supports that business digitalisation improves SMEs’ performance in the era of the pandemic. Yet, digitalisation of HRM has negatively affected employees’ wellbeing, although the later associates positively with SMEs’ performance. The study outcomes also reveal the role of digital leadership as a facilitator to employees’ well-being and provides implications for both theory and practice.
... Again, this could be where individual goal setting can support people feeling they can achieve their targets and improve over time. However, as scholars [40] have observed in the study of mHealth tools in the workplace, such tools allow for a systematic review of progress; however, this is put at risk where there is an over-emphasis on health evaluation, and employees feel obliged to use such tools. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The last decade has seen a dramatic shift toward the study of fitness surveillance, thanks in part to the emergence of mobile health (mHealth) apps that allow users to track their health through a variety of data-driven insights. This study examines the adoption trends and community mediation of the mobile fitness application ‘FanFit’, a platform aimed at promoting physical activity among sports fans by creating a fitness app branded to their favourite team for health promotion. Objective: Our study looked at the impact of a specially designed mobile app (FanFit) as a digital health intervention for initiating and maintaining physical activity as part of football club membership. Our analysis indicates that app users will adopt healthier behaviours as a result of the app’s sense of fan community and behaviour change. Methods: The findings reported here are based on an implementation of the FanFit app and, in particular, on those who participated in a more in-depth study (n = 30). These participants were Rangers FC supporters with a mix of genders (n = 19 males and n = 11 females). Focus groups and interviews were conducted with participants to ascertain users’ perspectives on the most effective methods for nudging users toward adopting and maintaining a pattern of fitness behaviours. Results: The findings show that the user community was interested in fitness and wanted to live a ‘healthy lifestyle,’ which was augmented and fuelled by the app’s competitive architecture design. Furthermore, the data reveal a new fan-health discourse about a person’s developing wants, talents, and identities as embodied beings. Conclusions: We have developed and presented valid links between the use of sports club apps and health programmes. The app could be useful for sports programmes and club providers looking for mHealth applications that provide community support through fan discourse with opportunities for both male and female fans.
... For example, leadership quality strongly influenced experience of depressive symptoms in employees aged 45 + , with those experiencing 'very high' leadership quality suffering virtually no depressive symptoms at all, compared to those who were not. This evidence suggests that the most important protective factors against stress and depressive symptoms were not having an existing mental health condition and high quality of leadership, the latter of which may act, for example, as a buffer against the stresses of a lack of work resources [41]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background The Covid-19 pandemic precipitated a shift in the working practices of millions of people. Nearly half the British workforce (47%) reported to be working at home under lockdown in April 2020. This study investigated the impact of enforced home-working under lockdown on employee wellbeing via markers of stress, burnout, depressive symptoms, and sleep. Moderating effects of factors including age, gender, number of dependants, mental health status and work status were examined alongside work-related factors including work-life conflict and leadership quality. Method Cross-sectional data were collected over a 12-week period from May to August 2020 using an online survey. Job-related and wellbeing factors were measured using items from the COPSOQIII. Stress, burnout, somatic stress, cognitive stress, and sleep trouble were tested together using MANOVA and MANCOVA to identify mediating effects. T-tests and one-way ANOVA identified differences in overall stress. Regression trees identified groups with highest and lowest levels of stress and depressive symptoms. Results 81% of respondents were working at home either full or part-time ( n = 623, 62% female). Detrimental health impacts of home-working during lockdown were most acutely experienced by those with existing mental health conditions regardless of age, gender, or work status, and were exacerbated by working regular overtime. In those without mental health conditions, predictors of stress and depressive symptoms were being female, under 45 years, home-working part-time and two dependants, though men reported greater levels of work-life conflict. Place and pattern of work had a greater impact on women. Lower leadership quality was a significant predictor of stress and burnout for both men and women, and, for employees aged > 45 years, had significant impact on level of depressive symptoms experienced. Conclusions Experience of home-working under lockdown varies amongst groups. Knowledge of these differences provide employers with tools to better manage employee wellbeing during periods of crisis. While personal factors are not controllable, the quality of leadership provided to employees, and the ‘place and pattern’ of work, can be actively managed to positive effect. Innovative flexible working practices will help to build greater workforce resilience.
Article
Purpose Existing literature on algorithmic management practices – defined as autonomous data-driven decision making in people's management by adoption of self-learning algorithms and artificial intelligence – suggests complex relationships with employees' well-being in the workplace. While the use of algorithms can have positive impacts on people-related decisions, they may also adversely influence job autonomy, perceived justice and – as a result – workplace well-being. Literature review revealed a significant gap in empirical research on the nature and direction of these relationships. Therefore the purpose of this paper is to analyse how algorithmic management practices directly influence workplace well-being, as well as investigating its relationships with job autonomy and total rewards practices. Design/methodology/approach Conceptual model of relationships between algorithmic management practices, job autonomy, total rewards and workplace well-being has been formulated on the basis of literature review. Proposed model has been empirically verified through confirmatory analysis by means of structural equation modelling (SEM CFA) on a sample of 21,869 European organisations, using data collected by Eurofound and Cedefop in 2019, with the focus of investigating the direct and indirect influence of algorithmic management practices on workplace well-being. Findings This research confirmed a moderate, direct impact of application of algorithmic management practices on workplace well-being. More importantly the authors found out that this approach has an indirect influence, through negative impact on job autonomy and total rewards practices. The authors observed significant variation in the level of influence depending on the size of the organisation, with the decreasing impacts of algorithmic management on well-being and job autonomy for larger entities. Originality/value While the influence of algorithmic management on various workplace practices and effects is now widely discussed, the empirical evidence – especially for traditional work contexts, not only gig economy – is highly limited. The study fills this gap and suggests that algorithmic management – understood as an automated decision-making vehicle – might not always lead to better, well-being focused, people management in organisations. Academic studies and practical applications need to account for possible negative consequences of algorithmic management for the workplace well-being, by better reflecting complex nature of relationships between these variables.
Article
COVID-19 has accelerated the digitalization of organizations to enhance flexibility and adaptability in a turbulent environment. Literature warned of digitalization’s side effects on psycho-social hazards at work. However, empirical evidence is inconsistent, especially in service industries such as education and healthcare, that rely on face-to-face exchanges to achieve organizational excellence. The article attempts to fill this knowledge gap, investigating digitalization’s implications on psycho-social hazards in education and healthcare. A probit regression model was designed to examine digitalization’s effects on 5 types of psycho-social risks at work, namely time pressures, poor relationships with colleagues, job insecurity, interaction with users, and irregular working hours. Digitalization triggers an intensification of work, increasing time pressures. Furthermore, it recontextualizes organizational dynamics in the cyber-physical domain, disrupting social exchanges at work. Digitalization determines greater job uncertainty, which is detrimental to work satisfaction. In order to curb psycho-social risks at work, health promotion measures are required, aimed at addressing the negative implications of digitalization by restoring a “human touch” in managing human resources. Disregarding the negative impact of digitalization on employees’ well-being at work may undermine organizational viability in the post-COVID-19 era.
Chapter
Communication is the method by which we connect with other people, and also with ourselves. Real communication allows us to understand who we really are—and what we really have to share with other people—as well as allows us to really understand other people, and ourselves. We can communicate in a way that optimally connects us with other people and with what we really want to express to them, and we can also communicate in a way which doesn’t optimally achieve this. Communication is a vital aspect of psychology in general including because the results of the science of Psychology need to be communicated well and generally as well as to psychological experts. This allows full sharing of and contributions to its benefits—helping people to understand themselves and other people well enough to help them live well consistently. Communication is also a vital aspect of particular applications of psychology including in its clinical, workplace and educational settings, where the aims of these applications include helping people communicate well, as well as communicating well with them. This includes helping people identify and remedy problems with their communication.
Article
Full-text available
Employee engagement is becoming an increasingly essential factor in organizational competitiveness. Although employee engagement is an extensively researched topic, the roles of new ways of working and physical environment factors are still under exploited. As such, this study examines the relationship between physical environment factors, the dimensions that integrate new ways of working, and employee engagement. Survey data with 126 respondents are analyzed using structural equation modeling. The findings indicate a positive significant relationship between the physical environment factors and work engagement. Furthermore, this relation is mediated by four facets regarding new ways of working. The results also indicate that, for the group where facilities were not modified, the new ways of working are a stronger predictor of work engagement when compared with the group where facilities were modified. These findings extend existing knowledge on the antecedents of employee engagement, namely physical environment factors and new ways of working. Another important contribution is related to the mediating role of several facets of new ways of working in the relationship between physical environmental factors and employee engagement.
Article
Full-text available
Digitalization of knowledge work is essential for today's organizations, responding to diversified employee needs. Many organizations are already implementing some form of flexible work to help workers perform work and non-work duties, while maintaining high productivity. While these changes in workplaces, "New Ways of Working (NWW)", have been discussed in literature, a systematic appraisal of evidence of NWW has not been conducted. Relating to poor work mental health worldwide, this systematic review analyzed the psychological impacts of NWW, and the quality and quantity of NWW research. Following the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis (PRISMA) guidelines, NWW studies targeting psychological outcomes were evaluated. Initial literature search on ProQuest, PsycINFO, Science Direct, and Google Scholar, retrieved 308 titles, from which seven articles fulfilled all inclusion criteria. Our appraisal revealed that NWW research evaluated diverse psychological outcomes. While NWW can help workers' work engagement, work-related flow, and connectivity among staff, NWW can also increase blurred work-home boundary, fatigue, and mental demands. The quality of NWW research was overall medium, needing more rigorous studies. Our findings can inform decision-makers in a workplace to effectively implement NWW, and researchers to improve the quality and the usefulness of future NWW studies.
Article
Full-text available
Virtual teams (i.e., geographically distributed collaborations that rely on technology to communicate and cooperate) are central to maintaining our increasingly globalized social and economic infrastructure. “Global Virtual Teams” that include members from around the world are the most extreme example and are growing in prevalence (Scott and Wildman in Culture, communication, and conflict: a review of the global virtual team literature, Springer, New York, 2015). There has been a multitude of studies examining the difficulties faced by collaborations and use of technology in various narrow contexts. However, there has been little work in examining the challenges faced by virtual teams and their use of technology to mitigate issues. To address this issue, a literature review was performed to highlight the collaboration challenges experienced by virtual teams and existing mitigation strategies. In this review, a well-planned search strategy was utilized to identify a total of 255 relevant studies, primarily focusing on technology use. The physical factors relating to distance are tightly coupled with the cognitive, social, and emotional challenges faced by virtual teams. However, based on research topics in the selected studies, we separate challenges as belonging to five categories: geographical distance, temporal distance, perceived distance, the configuration of dispersed teams, and diversity of workers. In addition, findings from this literature review expose opportunities for research, such as resolving discrepancies regarding the effect of tightly coupled work on collaboration and the effect of temporal dispersion on coordination costs. Finally, we use these results to discuss opportunities and implications for designing groupware that better support collaborative tasks in virtual teams.
Article
Full-text available
Globally, employment-related geographical mobility (mobility to and within work) is a pervasive aspect of work that has potential health and safety implications. As an introduction to this special issue, this article defines the mobile workforce as those who engage in complex/extended mobility to and within work encompassing >two hours daily, less frequent but more extended mobility between regions and countries, and mobility within work such as between work sites or in mobile workplaces. Focusing on the Canadian context, we discuss the challenges associated with developing a statistical profile for this diversely mobile workforce and provide an overview of articles in the special issue identifying key health and safety challenges associated with extended/complex employment-related geographical mobility. We estimate that up to 16 percent of Canada’s employed labor force (including those commuting > one hour one-way, temporary residents with work permits, and transportation workers) engage in extended/complex mobility related to work.
Article
Full-text available
Health-related resources at work are crucial for followers to stay healthy and to cope with job demands. This study investigates the impact of health-promoting leadership as well as abusive supervision on followers’ social and task resources as antecedents of their health. Moreover, it examines whether the impact of leadership on followers’ health-related resources depends on the followers’ emotional stability and cultural value orientations (i.e. power distance and collectivism). A total of 503 employees from Austria, Germany and Slovenia took part in this online study and provided information on their leaders’ health-promoting behaviour and abusive supervision as well as on their own emotional stability, perceived power distance and collectivism. The results of a hierarchical regression analysis strongly support the importance of simultaneously assessing health-promoting leadership and abusive supervision when predicting task and social resources. Abusive supervision added incremental variance above health-promoting leadership when followers’ task resources were predicted. Moreover, the results suggest that followers benefit from or suffer differently under perceived leadership: high power distance enhances the positive effect of health-promoting leadership on followers’ social resources, while collectivism strengthens the negative impact of abusive supervision on followers’ social resources. Finally, emotionally stable followers who are working with highly abusive leaders experience a stronger threat to their resources compared to emotionally stable followers who are working with less abusive leaders. These results contribute to a deeper understanding of how leaders impact those resources known to influence followers’ health. They further show that follower personality and cultural value orientations determine the impact of leadership behaviour on health-related resources.
Article
Full-text available
Purpose Techno-stress (TS) is an emergent phenomenon closely related to the pervasive use of information and communication technologies in modern society. Despite numerous studies existing in the literature, only few comprehensive reviews have been performed, which has led to fragmented information about TS. This systematic review aimed to clarify the definition, the symptoms, and the risk factors of TS, focusing on the differences between work-related and non-work-related sources of TS. Methods A comprehensive literature review of three electronic databases was performed according to the PRISMA statement. ‘Technostress’ was used as the only keyword. Results In the qualitative synthesis, 105 studies were included: 84 cross-sectional studies, 8 experimental studies and 13 reviews (11 narrative and 2 systematic reviews). 70 studies (67%) addressed work-related TS, 26 (25%) addressed non-work-related TS, while 8 (8%) did not differentiate between work and non-work fields. The presence and level of TS among individuals was described in 38 studies (29%), whilst the techno-stressors, and the consequences of TS, were described in 53 studies (51%). The antecedents of TS were reported in 47 studies (45%), its moderators in 40 studies (38%), whilst its symptoms in only 11 studies (10%). Conclusions TS affects both professional and private life. It can determine a reduction in job and life satisfaction and in productivity, and is often associated to the occurrence of psychological and behavioral disorders. Efforts should be made to recognize situations with a high risk of causing TS, to prevent its progressive development in a prospective way using mainly cohort studies.
Article
Full-text available
Recently, focus of leadership studies is on the characteristics of followers rather than leaders'. Even though the attitudes, competecencies and the interaction of environmental features are among the subjects of the studies, there are limited researches which study the psychological factors of followers. In this study, "Adult Attachment Theory" is taken as a basic theoretical framework in order to explain attitudes towards leaders. Adult Attachment Theory asserts that the relations established with mother and neighborhoods during childhood are strong determinants for the future relationships. It is observed that while, the child who receives unconditional love, trust, mercy and share from his/her mother define these emotions as social needs, establish healthy relationships and define himself/herself as an autonomous individual, the children who do not posses these emotions-or experience them conditionally-tend to be marginally avoidant or preoccupied (dependent). In this study, the affects of adult attachment styles on the attitudes towards paternalism-as the most common leadership style in Turkey)-is tested with an experimental model. Results have shown the assumed differences.
Article
Background The response to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has created an unprecedented disruption in work conditions. This study describes the mental health and well-being of workers both with and without clinical exposure to patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Objective The aim of this study is to measure the prevalence of stress, anxiety, depression, work exhaustion, burnout, and decreased well-being among faculty and staff at a university and academic medical center during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and describe work-related and personal factors associated with their mental health and well-being. Methods All faculty, staff, and postdoctoral fellows of a university, including its medical school, were invited in April 2020 to complete an online questionnaire measuring stress, anxiety, depression, work exhaustion, burnout, and decreased well-being. We examined associations between these outcomes and factors including work in high-risk clinical settings and family/home stressors. ResultsThere were 5550 respondents (overall response rate of 34.3%). Overall, 34% of faculty and 14% of staff (n=915) were providing clinical care, while 61% of faculty and 77% of staff were working from home. Among all workers, anxiety (prevalence ratio 1.37, 95% CI 1.09-1.73), depression (prevalence ratio 1.28, 95% CI 1.03-1.59), and high work exhaustion (prevalence ratio 1.24, 95% CI 1.13-1.36) were independently associated with community or clinical exposure to COVID-19. Poor family-supportive behaviors by supervisors were also associated with these outcomes (prevalence ratio 1.40, 95% CI 1.21-1.62; prevalence ratio 1.69, 95% CI 1.48-1.92; and prevalence ratio 1.54, 95% CI 1.44-1.64, respectively). Age
Article
Over the past few decades, the widespread use of mobile work devices (MWDs: e.g., laptops and smartphones) has enabled constant connectivity to work. This study advances previous work on the effects of constant connectivity for employees by focusing on how and for whom constant connectivity might be related to employee well-being. Additionally, organizational-level antecedents of constant connectivity are investigated. This paper reports on two survey studies that a) operationalize constant connectivity and its organizational antecedents and b) investigate the relationship between constant connectivity and employee well-being. The findings demonstrate that constant connectivity is negatively related to employees' well-being due to the inability to disengage from work. Moreover, this negative association exists independently of employees' boundary preferences. The findings further suggest that perceived alignment between perceived functional, physical, and symbolic connectivity aspects of MWDs and occupational identity, susceptibility to social pressure, and the visibility of co-workers' communication practices all contribute to constant connectivity in the workplace.
Article
This study examines not only the relationship between work-related smartphone use after work and job burnout but also the 3-way interaction effect of social support and perceived organizational politics (POPs) on this relationship. The findings of an analysis of 387 Korean workers provide various significant implications. The 3-way interaction effect of POPs was identified, while the interaction effect of social support between work-related smartphone use after work and job burnout was not confirmed. Specifically, the negative impact of work-related smartphone use after work, which induces job burnout, was found to be mitigated when supervisor support was high in a negative political work environment. However, in a positive political work environment, greater supervisor support was actually found to increase the negative impact of work-related smartphone use after work, while strong peer support reduced the negative impact of work-related smartphone use after work. This study contributes to research by providing an extended research model of how work-related smartphone use after work affects job burnout and how social support and political work environment moderate this relationship. Additional longitudinal studies including other factors of job demands and resources will facilitate more academic and practical discussions.