Home-based telework is becoming more and more common and with it the dematerialization of the work-life boundary. If, on one side this working form increases the worker's discretion, on the other hand it could seriously damage his/her well-being. This paper explores the influence of organizational conditions on work-related stress of a sample of home-based teleworkers drawn from the 2015 European Working Conditions Survey. It also uses the 2020 Living, Working and COVID-19 Survey to analyse the evolution of the gender differences in telework from 2015 to 2020. We find that the perceived stress of the home-based teleworkers is mainly due to the forms of working time arrangements and work intensification, for example the lack of discretion over work pace, working with tight deadlines and at high speed, working during free time to meet work demands. Female teleworkers also perceive that the lack of discretion in the working time arrangement and the lack of recovery time increase their stress. The analysis also documents a sharp increase in the perceived level of stress from 2015 to 2020 and higher levels of stress in women mainly due to work-life balance problems. This gender stress differential is reasonably constant in the two periods and hence both in the emergency and in normal telework. The general agreement in the literature that telework is as a way of promoting better wellbeing and work-life balance for workers especially for women is not supported by our findings.
Thursday, 10 June 2021