IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ipt/laedte/202011.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Telework, work organisation and job quality during the COVID-19 crisis: a qualitative study

Author

Abstract

This study aims at better understanding how the massive shift to telework following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020 affected workers’ jobs and lives. In particular, we shed light on how this exogenous change had an impact on tasks content and work organisation dimensions like teamwork, routine, workers’ autonomy and types and extent of supervisory control methods. Moreover, we explored both subjective and objective dimensions of job quality such as job satisfaction, motivation, changes in working time and pay, together with issues related to physical and mental health and more generally to work-life balance. In each of selected countries, 25 teleworking employees with different job profiles, family compositions, and personal characteristics were interviewed during the lockdown of spring 2020. The picture that emerges is quite multifaceted largely depending on workers’ occupation and family composition, although some general patterns can be observed. After an initial period in which workers could gain more autonomy and decisional power at almost of levels of the hierarchy, during a stabilization period new forms of remote supervisory control have been put in place and contributed to a standardization of working routines. For some, working from home increased satisfaction and productivity, and allowed to better reconcile work-family duties. In contrast, others felt teleworking, and the ensuing communication through digital platforms, challenged the possibility to receive meaningful feedback and exchange ideas with co-workers and supervisors. At times, for workers with children in school age, the negative impact was aggravated by school closure and the general lockdown. Yet, and despite the many challenges of adapting to the sudden, obligatory and highintensity telework, most of the respondents agreed that teleworking has upsides, and would be willing to continue to work remotely in the future, at least occasionally. Before that, however, workers would like to seek greater clarity around their working conditions as teleworkers.

Suggested Citation

  • Marta Fana & Santo Milasi & Joanna Napierala & Enrique Fernandez-Macias & Ignacio Gonzalez Vazquez, 2020. "Telework, work organisation and job quality during the COVID-19 crisis: a qualitative study," JRC Working Papers on Labour, Education and Technology 2020-11, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
  • Handle: RePEc:ipt:laedte:202011
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/sites/default/files/jrc122591.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Donna W. McCloskey & Magid Igbaria, 2003. "Does "Out of Sight" Mean "Out of Mind"? An Empirical Investigation of the Career Advancement Prospects of Telecommuters," Information Resources Management Journal (IRMJ), IGI Global, vol. 16(2), pages 19-34, April.
    2. Nicholas Bloom & James Liang & John Roberts & Zhichun Jenny Ying, 2015. "Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(1), pages 165-218.
    3. Gimenez-Nadal, J. Ignacio & Molina, José Alberto & Velilla, Jorge, 2020. "Trends in Commuting Time of European Workers: A Cross-Country Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 12916, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Armanda Cetrulo & Dario Guarascio & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2020. "The Privilege of Working From Home at the Time of Social Distancing," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 55(3), pages 142-147, May.
    5. Stijn Baert & Louis Lippens & Eline Moens & Philippe Sterkens & Johannes Weytjens, 2020. "The COVID-19 crisis and telework: A research survey on experiences, expectations and hopes," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 20/996, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    6. Enrique Fernandez-Macias & Martina Bisello, 2020. "A Taxonomy of Tasks for Assessing the Impact of New Technologies on Work," JRC Working Papers on Labour, Education and Technology 2020-04, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    7. CARRETERO GOMEZ Stephanie & NAPIERALA Joanna & Bessios Adonis & Magi Eve & Pugacewicz Agnieszka & Maria Ranieri & Triquet Karen & Lombaerts Koen & ROBLEDO BOTTCHER Nicolas & MONTANARI Marco & GONZALEZ, 2021. "What did we learn from schooling practices during the COVID-19 lockdown? Insights from five EU countries," JRC Working Papers JRC123654, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    8. Brittany Harker Martin & Rhiannon MacDonnell, 2012. "Is telework effective for organizations?: A meta-analysis of empirical research on perceptions of telework and organizational outcomes," Management Research Review, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(7), pages 602-616, June.
    9. Matteo Sostero & Santo Milasi & John Hurley & Enrique Fernandez-Macias & Martina Bisello, 2020. "Teleworkability and the COVID-19 crisis: a new digital divide?," JRC Working Papers on Labour, Education and Technology 2020-05, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Green, Francis, 2021. "Decent Work and The Quality of Work and Employment," GLO Discussion Paper Series 817, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Marta Fana & Francesco Sabato Massimo & Angelo Moro, 2021. "Autonomy and control in mass remote working during the Covid-19 pandemic. Evidence from a cross-professional and cross-national analysis," LEM Papers Series 2021/28, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    2. Pouliakas, Konstantinos, 2020. "Working at Home in Greece: Unexplored Potential at Times of Social Distancing?," IZA Discussion Papers 13408, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Armanda Cetrulo & Dario Guarascio & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2020. "Working from home and the explosion of enduring divides: income, employment and safety risks," LEM Papers Series 2020/38, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    4. Luca Bonacini & Giovanni Gallo & Sergio Scicchitano, 2021. "Working from home and income inequality: risks of a ‘new normal’ with COVID-19," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 34(1), pages 303-360, January.
    5. Ainaa, Carmen & Brunetti, Irene & Mussida, Chiara & Scicchitano, Sergio, 2021. "Who lost the most? Distributive effects of COVID-19 pandemic," GLO Discussion Paper Series 829, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    6. Deole, Sumit S. & Deter, Max & Huang, Yue, 2021. "Home Sweet Home: Working from home and employee performance during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK," GLO Discussion Paper Series 791, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    7. Bonacini, Luca & Gallo, Giovanni & Scicchitano, Sergio, 2020. "All that glitters is not gold. Effects of working from home on income inequality at the time of COVID-19," GLO Discussion Paper Series 541, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    8. Georgiana-Camelia Georgescu (Cretan) & Rodica Gherghina & Ioana Duca & Mirela Anca Postole & Carmen Maria Constantinescu, 2021. "Determinants of Employees’ Option for Preserving Teleworking After the COVID-19 Pandemic," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 23(58), pages 669-669, August.
    9. Sanna Nivakoski & Massimiliano Mascherini, 2021. "Gender Differences in the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Employment, Unpaid Work and Well-Being in the EU," Intereconomics: Review of European Economic Policy, Springer;ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics;Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), vol. 56(5), pages 254-260, September.
    10. Grzegorz Ignatowski & Łukasz Sułkowski & Bartłomiej Stopczyński, 2021. "Risk of Increased Acceptance for Organizational Nepotism and Cronyism during the COVID-19 Pandemic," Risks, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(4), pages 1-35, March.
    11. Toshihiro Okubo, 2021. "Non-routine Tasks and ICT tools in Telework," Keio-IES Discussion Paper Series 2021-017, Institute for Economics Studies, Keio University.
    12. Monica Aureliana Petcu & Maria Iulia Sobolevschi-David & Adrian Anica-Popa & Stefania Cristina Curea & Catalina Motofei & Ana-Maria Popescu, 2021. "Multidimensional Assessment of Job Satisfaction in Telework Conditions. Case Study: Romania in the COVID-19 Pandemic," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(16), pages 1-16, August.
    13. Claudia Hupkau & Barbara Petrongolo, 2020. "Work, Care and Gender during the COVID‐19 Crisis," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 41(3), pages 623-651, September.
    14. Guido Friebel & Matthias Heinz & Miriam Krueger & Nikolay Zubanov, 2017. "Team Incentives and Performance: Evidence from a Retail Chain," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(8), pages 2168-2203, August.
    15. Ed Burton & David John Edwards & Chris Roberts & Nicholas Chileshe & Joseph H. K. Lai, 2021. "Delineating the Implications of Dispersing Teams and Teleworking in an Agile UK Construction Sector," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(17), pages 1-20, September.
    16. Stefano Magrini & Alessandro Spiganti, 2021. "The Day After Covid-19: Implications for Growth, Specialization, and Inequality," Working Papers 2021:13, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    17. Tim Klopries, 2018. "Discussion of “Working from Home—What is the Effect on Employees’ Effort?”," Schmalenbach Business Review, Springer;Schmalenbach-Gesellschaft, vol. 70(1), pages 57-62, February.
    18. Mayneris, Florian & Poncet, Sandra & Zhang, Tao, 2018. "Improving or disappearing: Firm-level adjustments to minimum wages in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 20-42.
    19. Vrchota Jaroslav & Frantíková Zuzana & Vlčková Miroslava, 2019. "Why Some SME’s in the Czech Republic Adopt Telework and Others Not?," European Countryside, Sciendo, vol. 11(4), pages 599-615, December.
    20. Nicholas Bloom & Christos Genakos & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2011. "Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp1109, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ipt:laedte:202011. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/ipjrces.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Publication Officer (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/ipjrces.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.