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Economic and Health Effects of Telework

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Occupational Safety and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2023) | Viewed by 34163

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC, (MS-R17), 1090 Tusculum Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45226, USA
Interests: psychiatric epidemiology; mental health; work organization; workplace psychosocial factors; occupational health
Economic Research and Support Office (ERSO), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1150 Tusculum Avenue, C-24, Cincinnati, OH 45226, USA
Interests: economics of job stress; precarious work; future of work; healthy work design; health-related quality of life (HRQL); well-being

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 pandemic, along with technological advancement, have promulgated a dramatic increase in both remote work and telework. Remote work and telework both refer to an arrangement where workers perform their tasks and duties from an alternative location of their own choosing (ILO, 2021). More than a third of U.S. households reported working from home more frequently than before the pandemic, but the percentage that changed varied widely across sociodemographic factors. Households with members who teleworked more frequently reported higher levels of income, education, and better health than those in which workers did not change their typical in-person work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (U.S. Census, 2021). In the U.S., as many employers expanded the use of telework, the percentage of employed persons working at home on days they worked nearly doubled, rising from 22 percent in 2019 to 42 percent in 2020 (BLS, 2021). Findings regarding the benefits, costs, and consequences of telework are inconsistent. Literature reviews have concluded that telework can be beneficial for some workers by reducing job stress while being harmful in others by increasing job stress. Telework can result in increased job satisfaction by offering increased autonomy and flexibility and reducing commute times. However, for others, telework can reduce wellbeing by further blurring boundaries between work and home and increasing social isolation, fatigue, and depression. Research is needed to identify under what circumstances positive or negative effects of telework manifest. In addition to the potential physical and mental health effects of telework, important economic and productivity effects influence workers, families, employers, and societies. These effects may vary by country due to cultural differences as well as the external political and socioeconomic environment. For this Special Issue, we invite both theoretical and empirical papers on telework from researchers in the U.S. and the international community.

Dr. Toni Alterman
Dr. Tapas Ray
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • telework
  • remote work
  • wellbeing
  • occupational health
  • psychosocial factors
  • disparities/inequality
  • economic impact
  • electronic monitoring
  • productivity
  • work arrangement

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 1029 KiB  
Article
Working from Home and Emotional Well-Being during Major Daily Activities
by Brandon J. Restrepo and Eliana Zeballos
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(4), 3616; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20043616 - 17 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1269
Abstract
The effect of WFH (working from home) on the quality of life of U.S. workers is not well understood. We analyze the association between WFH and overall emotional well-being during major daily activities. Using data from the 2021 Well-Being Module of the American [...] Read more.
The effect of WFH (working from home) on the quality of life of U.S. workers is not well understood. We analyze the association between WFH and overall emotional well-being during major daily activities. Using data from the 2021 Well-Being Module of the American Time Use Survey, we conduct a principal component analysis to construct a measure of overall emotional well-being and jointly estimate the association between WFH and overall emotional well-being scores in a seemingly unrelated regression framework. Our results show that compared to workers who worked outside the home, those who WFH had higher emotional well-being scores while working and eating away from home. However, no statistically significant differences were found for home-based daily activities such as relaxing, leisure, food preparation, and eating at home. These findings inform how WFH may shape the quality of a life day. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economic and Health Effects of Telework)
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13 pages, 336 KiB  
Article
Remote Work Support Needs of Employees with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Poland: Perspectives of Individuals with Autism and Their Coworkers
by Michał T. Tomczak, Elias Mpofu and Nathan Hutson
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(17), 10982; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191710982 - 2 Sep 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3325
Abstract
Background and Aims: With remote work becoming more common across industries, employees with autism may experience different work support needs from neurotypical peers. However, the specific remote work needs of this group of employees are underexplored in the literature. We aim to propose [...] Read more.
Background and Aims: With remote work becoming more common across industries, employees with autism may experience different work support needs from neurotypical peers. However, the specific remote work needs of this group of employees are underexplored in the literature. We aim to propose ways to assess workplace digital adaptation needs for individuals with autism and a framework for communicating these needs to employers. Methods: This qualitative study included interviews with 13 Polish business professionals, including coworkers and/or supervisors of employees with autism (n = 9) and female employees with autism (n = 4), about their remote work support needs. Participants responded to semi-structured interview questions identifying advantages and risk factors associated with remote work for this specific group of employees. Results: Participants reported advantages of remote work, such as limiting sensory overload and intensive interpersonal contacts, indirect interpersonal communications, flexible work hours, and eliminating the need to travel to work. Participants also reported challenges of remote work, such as reducing wanted or helpful social contacts, engaging in direct electronic communications, limiting opportunities to learn from other employees, and managing work–life balance. Conclusion: These findings suggest a need for an autism-inclusive digitalized remote work design customized to the unique needs of employees on the autism spectrum. Business managers would be key partners in the design of autism-inclusive digitalized remote work systems. Additional research is needed with larger and more diverse samples of employees with autism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economic and Health Effects of Telework)
31 pages, 2639 KiB  
Article
Work from Home during the COVID-19 Pandemic—The Impact on Employees’ Self-Assessed Job Performance
by Claudiu Vasile Kifor, Roxana Florența Săvescu and Raluca Dănuț
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(17), 10935; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191710935 - 1 Sep 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 5424
Abstract
This study investigates the impact of remote workplace factors on employees’ social and technical self-assessed performance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of the variables belonging to the employee’s profile, organizational environment, and work-life balance categories on social and technical performance were analyzed, [...] Read more.
This study investigates the impact of remote workplace factors on employees’ social and technical self-assessed performance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of the variables belonging to the employee’s profile, organizational environment, and work-life balance categories on social and technical performance were analyzed, based on a survey of 801 Romanian employees, using ordinary least squares and quantile regression techniques. While the first method provided summary point estimates that calculated the average effect of the explanatory variables for the “average employee”, the second approach allowed us to focus on the effects explanatory variables have on the entire conditional distribution of the response variables, taking into account that this effect can be different for employees with different levels of performance. Job autonomy, engagement, communication skills, trust in co-workers, occupational self-efficacy, and family-work conflict, significantly influence both social and technical performance. PhD education and trust in management significantly influence social performance, while motivation, stress, the share of time spent in remote work, organizational commitment, children in the household, and household size, influence only technical performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economic and Health Effects of Telework)
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18 pages, 705 KiB  
Article
The Conditions of Successful Telework: Exploring the Role of Telepressure
by Junyoung Hong and Steve Jex
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(17), 10634; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191710634 - 26 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2139
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to explore the causes of the inconsistent relationship between telework and work–life conflict, which has been reported in the research literature. We predicted that the qualitative aspects of telework, direction of work–life conflict, and telepressure would influence [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to explore the causes of the inconsistent relationship between telework and work–life conflict, which has been reported in the research literature. We predicted that the qualitative aspects of telework, direction of work–life conflict, and telepressure would influence whether telework decreases work–life conflict. To test these predictions, data from a sample of 328 workers enrolled in the online subject recruitment platform, Prolific, were collected three times, with a one-month interval between each data collection. The analysis, based on these data, revealed that the qualitative aspects of telework had no impact on the relationship between telework and work–life conflict. In addition, telework was significantly related only to work-to-life conflict, but not life-to-work conflict. Finally, the moderating effect of telepressure was significant, such that the positive impact of telework on work–life conflict was found only for people reporting low telepressure. Based on the research findings, theoretical and practical implications were discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economic and Health Effects of Telework)
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18 pages, 2417 KiB  
Article
Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Teleworking Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States: A Mediation Analysis
by Abay Asfaw
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(8), 4680; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19084680 - 13 Apr 2022
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3710
Abstract
A growing literature has pointed out disparities in teleworking among different racial and ethnic (hereafter racial) workers. This study estimated racial disparities in teleworking due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the extent to which these disparities were mediated by four-year college education and [...] Read more.
A growing literature has pointed out disparities in teleworking among different racial and ethnic (hereafter racial) workers. This study estimated racial disparities in teleworking due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the extent to which these disparities were mediated by four-year college education and occupation in the United States. The data source for this study was the Current Population Survey, May 2020 through July 2021. The results showed that in the reduced model, the odds for Black and Hispanic workers to telework were 35% and 55% lower, respectively, and for Asian workers 44% higher than for White workers, controlling for covariates. When four-year college education and occupation were included as mediator variables in the model, the odds for Black and Hispanic workers to telework were reduced to 7% and 16%, respectively. Overall, disparities in four-year college education and occupation explained 83% and 78% of the variation in the odds of teleworking for Black and Hispanic workers, respectively. Between the mediators, occupation explained more than 60% of the total effect. The results of this study could not rule out the possibility of racial discrimination in teleworking. Ultimately, reducing racial disparities in four-year college education and in different occupations might be a long-term solution for reducing racial disparities in teleworking. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economic and Health Effects of Telework)
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Review

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32 pages, 1093 KiB  
Review
Telework and Worker Health and Well-Being: A Review and Recommendations for Research and Practice
by Julia L. O. Beckel and Gwenith G. Fisher
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(7), 3879; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19073879 - 24 Mar 2022
Cited by 81 | Viewed by 16567
Abstract
Telework (also referred to as telecommuting or remote work), is defined as working outside of the conventional office setting, such as within one’s home or in a remote office location, often using a form of information communication technology to communicate with others (supervisors, [...] Read more.
Telework (also referred to as telecommuting or remote work), is defined as working outside of the conventional office setting, such as within one’s home or in a remote office location, often using a form of information communication technology to communicate with others (supervisors, coworkers, subordinates, customers, etc.) and to perform work tasks. Remote work increased over the last decade and tremendously in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this article is to review and critically evaluate the existing research about telework and worker health and well-being. In addition, we review and evaluate how engaging in this flexible form of work impacts worker health and well-being. Specifically, we performed a literature search on the empirical literature related to teleworking and worker health and well-being, and reviewed articles published after the year 2000 based on the extent to which they had been discussed in prior reviews. Next, we developed a conceptual framework based on our review of the empirical literature. Our model explains the process by which telework may affect worker health and well-being in reference to individual, work/life/family, organizational, and macro level factors. These components are explained in depth, followed by methodological and fundamental recommendations intended to guide future research, policies, and practices to maximize the benefits and minimize the harms associated with telework, and offer recommendations for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economic and Health Effects of Telework)
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