Implications of COVID-19: The Effect of Working From Home on Financial and Mental Well-Being in the UK

Document Type : Short Communication

Authors

1 Department of Public Finance, Nazilli Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Aydın Adnan Menderes University, Aydın, Turkey

2 Department of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Izmir University Bakırcay, Izmir, Turkey

Abstract

In response to the threat posed by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the UK prime minister announced on the 23rd of March strict lockdowns and introduced a new way of living and working, at least temporarily. This included working from home (WHF) wherever possible. Many experts from the IT industry were long arguing about the potential for WFH, which suddenly now became indisputable. The objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of WFH on the individuals’ perception about their future financial situation and their mental well-being. We apply a differencein-differences (DiD) framework using data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) combined with the UKHLS COVID-19 survey conducted in April 2020. Our findings suggest that those who have not experienced a shift from working at the employer’s premises to WFH became more concerned about their future financial situation. However, we find that WFH has a negative impact on mental well-being. On the other hand, we find no difference in the mental well- being when we consider those who work from home on occasion. The findings of this study have policy implications for government, firms and health practitioners. In particular, a balance between WFH and at the employer’s premises may provide both financial security and maintain the mental and psychological well-being at satisfying levels.

Keywords

Main Subjects


  1. Davillas A, Jones AM. The COVID-19 Pandemic and its Impact on Inequality of Opportunity in Psychological Distress in the UK. GLO Discussion Paper Series 567. Essen: Global Labor Organization (GLO); 2020.
  2. Eurostat. Working from Home in the EU. Eurostat website. https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/DDN-20180620-1. Published June 20, 2018.
  3. Hertel G, Geister S, Konradt U. Managing virtual teams: a review of current empirical research. Hum Resour Manag Rev. 2005;15(1):69-95. doi:10.1016/j.hrmr.2005.01.002
  4. Ahrendt D, Cabrita J, Clerici E, et al. Living, Working and COVID-19: First Findings-April 2020. Dublin: Eurofound; 2020
  5. International Labour Organization (ILO). Teleworking During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond: A Practical Guide. ILO; 2020.
  6. Giovanis E. Are women happier when their spouse is teleworker? J Happiness Stud. 2018;19(3):719-754. doi:10.1007/s10902-017-9847-0
  7. Song Y, Gao J. Does telework stress employees out? a study on working at home and subjective well-being for wage/salary workers. J Happiness Stud. 2020;21(7):2649-2668. doi:10.1007/s10902-019-00196-6
  8. Golden TD. The role of relationships in understanding telecommuter satisfaction. J Organ Behav. 2006;27(3):319-340. doi:10.1002/job.369
  9. Madsen SR. The benefits, challenges, and implication of teleworking: a literature review. Culture & Religion Review Journal. 2011(1):148-158.
  10. Wheatley D. Good to be home? time-use and satisfaction levels among home-based teleworkers. New Technol Work Employ. 2012;27(3):224-241. doi:10.1111/j.1468-005X.2012.00289.x
  11. Bloom N, Liang J, Roberts J, Ying ZJ. Does working from home work? evidence from a Chinese experiment. Q J Econ. 2015;130(1):165-218. doi:10.1093/qje/qju032
  12. Pabilonia SW, Vernon V. Telework and Time Use in the United States. IZA Discussion Paper No. 13260. Bonn, Germany: IZA Institute of Labor Economics; 2020.
  13. Wener RE, Evans GW, Phillips D, Nadler N. Running for the 7:45: the effects of public transit improvements on commuter stress. Transportation. 2003;30(2):203-220. doi:10.1023/a:1022516221808
  14. van Ommeren JN, Gutiérrez-i-Puigarnau E. Are workers with a long commute less productive? an empirical analysis of absenteeism. Reg Sci Urban Econ. 2011;41(1):1-8. doi:10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2010.07.005
  15. Aguiar M, Hurst E. Measuring trends in leisure: the allocation of time over five decades. Q J Econ. 2007;122(3):969-1006. doi:10.1162/qjec.122.3.969
  16. Gimenez‐Nadal JI, Molina JA. Commuting time and household responsibilities: evidence using propensity score matching. J Reg Sci. 2016;56(2):332-359. doi:10.1111/jors.12243
  17. Giménez-Nadal JI, Molina JA, Velilla J. Work time and well-being for workers at home: evidence from the American Time Use Survey. Int Jf Manpow. 2019;41(2):184-206. doi:10.1108/ijm-04-2018-0134
  18. Mann S, Holdsworth L. The psychological impact of teleworking: stress, emotions and health. New Technol Work Employ. 2003;18(3):196-211. doi:10.1111/1468-005x.00121
  19. Thompson CA, Prottas DJ. Relationships among organizational family support, job autonomy, perceived control, and employee well-being. J Occup Health Psychol. 2006;11(1):100-118. doi:10.1037/1076-8998.10.4.100
  20. Gajendran RS, Harrison DA. The good, the bad, and the unknown about telecommuting: meta-analysis of psychological mediators and individual consequences. J Appl Psychol. 2007;92(6):1524-1541. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.92.6.1524
  21. Hartig T, Kylin C, Johansson G. The telework tradeoff: stress mitigation vs. constrained restoration. Appl Psychol. 2007;56(2):231-253. doi:10.1111/j.1464-0597.2006.00252.x
  22. Bentley TA, Teo STT, McLeod L, Tan F, Bosua R, Gloet M. The role of organisational support in teleworker wellbeing: a socio-technical systems approach. Appl Ergon. 2016;52:207-215. doi:10.1016/j.apergo.2015.07.019
  23. Tavares AI. Telework and health effects review. Int J Healthc. 2017;3(2):30-36. doi:10.5430/ijh.v3n2p30
  24. Myrie J, Daly K. The use of boundaries by self-employed, home-based workers to manage work and family: a qualitative study in Canada. J Fam Econ Issues. 2009;30(4):386-398. doi:10.1007/s10834-009-9166-7
  25. Henke RM, Benevent R, Schulte P, Rinehart C, Crighton KA, Corcoran M. The effects of telecommuting intensity on employee health. Am J Health Promot. 2016;30(8):604-612. doi:10.4278/ajhp.141027-QUAN-544
  26. Burton J, Lynn P, Benzeval M. How Understanding Society: the UK household longitudinal study adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. Surv Res Methods. 2020;14(2):235-239. doi:10.18148/srm/2020.v14i2.7746
  27. Jackson C. The general health questionnaire. Occup Med. 2007;57(1):79. doi:10.1093/occmed/kql169
  28. Chen Q, Gelman A, Tracy M, Norris FH, Galea S. Incorporating the sampling design in weighting adjustments for panel attrition. Stat Med. 2015;34(28):3637-3647. doi:10.1002/sim.6618
  29. Angrist JD, Pischke JS. Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion. Princeton University Press; 2008.
  30. Sparrowe RT, Liden RC, Wayne SJ, Kraimer ML. Social networks and the performance of individuals and groups. Acad Manage J. 2001;44(2):316-325. doi:10.5465/3069458
  31. Weinert C, Maier C, Laumer S. Why Are Teleworkers Stressed? An Empirical Analysis of the Causes of Telework-Enabled Stress. In: Wirtschaftsinformatik 2015:1407-1421.
  32. Allen TD, Golden TD, Shockley KM. How effective is telecommuting? assessing the status of our scientific findings. Psychol Sci Public Interest. 2015;16(2):40-68. doi:10.1177/1529100615593273
  33. Hayes S, Priestley JL, Ishmakhametov N, Ray HE. “I’m not Working from Home, I’m Living at Work”: Perceived Stress and Work-Related Burnout before and during COVID-19. PsyArXiv. 2020. doi:10.31234/osf.io/vnkwa
  34. Ružojčić M, Galic Z, Palanović A, Kovačić MP, Žnidar K. Structuring of Time is Key for Job Performance and Well-being: The Case of Croatians Working from Home During COVID-19 Pandemic. PsyArXiv. 2020. doi:10.31234/osf.io/7yxe8 
  35. Vyas L, Butakhieo N. The impact of working from home during COVID-19 on work and life domains: an exploratory study on Hong Kong. Policy Design and Practice. 2021;4(1):59-76. doi:10.1080/25741292.2020.1863560

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 21 April 2021