Six key advantages and disadvantages of working from home in Europe during COVID-19

Christine Ipsen, Marc van Veldhoven, Kathrin Kirchner*, John Paulin Hansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The number of people working from home (WFH) increased radically during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The purpose of this study was therefore to investigate people's experiences of WFH during the pandemic and to identify the main factors of advantages and disadvantages of WFH. Data from 29 European countries on the experiences of knowledge workers (N = 5748) WFH during the early stages of lockdown (11 March to 8 May 2020) were collected. A factor analysis showed the overall distribution of people's experiences and how the advantages and disadvantages of WFH during the early weeks of the pandemic can be grouped into six key factors. The results indicated that most people had a more positive rather than negative experience of WFH during lockdown. Three factors represent the main advantages of WFH: (i) work-life balance, (ii) improved work efficiency and (iii) greater work control. The main disadvantages were (iv) home office constraints, (v) work uncertainties and (vi) inadequate tools. Comparing gender, number of children at home, age and managers versus employees in relation to these factors provided insights into the differential impact of WFH on people's lives. The factors help organisations understand where action is most needed to safeguard both performance and well-being. As the data were collected amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we recommend further studies to validate the six factors and investigate their importance for well-being and performance in knowledge work.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1826
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • COVID-19
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Efficiency
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Teleworking
  • Uncertainty
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Young Adult

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