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Does remote work have a negative impact on employee well-being? A qualitative investigation into the mental and physical effects caused by remote work during the COVID-19 lockdown, and the future of remote work beyond the pandemic

Langan, Matt (2021) Does remote work have a negative impact on employee well-being? A qualitative investigation into the mental and physical effects caused by remote work during the COVID-19 lockdown, and the future of remote work beyond the pandemic. Masters thesis, Dublin, National College of Ireland.

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Abstract

In March 2020, the World Health Organisation declared COVID 19 a global pandemic. Within weeks, more than 100 countries had instituted a full or partial lockdown. Millions of office based workers were suddenly required to transition to working from their homes. Although it was initially anticipated to be a short term measure, weeks of lockdown soon turned into months. As of August 2021, the world has yet to fully emerge from this crisis.

Thanks to advancing technology, the phenomenon of remote work has been slowly on the rise in recent years. However, what was once considered a fringe benefit has since become the norm for many. This research study asks an important question: does remote work have a negative impact on employee well-being? It takes a qualitative investigation into the mental and physical effects caused by remote work during the COVID-19 lockdown, and considers the future of remote work beyond the pandemic.

The literature review and research study conclude that remote work will become a permanent option for many employees (at least partially), although it is not without its challenges. Despite the benefits, employees’ physical and mental-well being can suffer. The extent of these effects depend on a variety of factors. Employers must play their part in ensuring their employees have the right level of support. Hybrid working (a combination of office and remote based work) is a popular choice amongst employers. However, it may not provide the magic wand many would hope for. Without a focus on employee inclusion this model may lead to a divide, resulting in lower engagement and higher attrition.

This study advocates for better employer care, ensuring there is appropriate investment in physical and mental well-being support for remote workers. It is recommended that employers embrace a truly flexible hybrid model, but they must do so with employee inclusion at the top of their agenda. These recommendations are designed for HR practitioners and leadership alike, to help their organisations remain competitive in the war for talent in a post pandemic world.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Issues of Labour and Work > Health and Safety at Work.
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > Issues of Labour and Work
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA790 Mental Health
Divisions: School of Business > Master of Arts in Human Resource Management
Depositing User: Clara Chan
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2022 17:43
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2022 17:43
URI: http://norma.ncirl.ie/id/eprint/5323

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