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Does Telework Stress Employees Out? A Study on Working at Home and Subjective Well-Being for Wage/Salary Workers

Younghwan Song and Jia Gao ()
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Younghwan Song: Union College
Jia Gao: Poverty and Equity Global Practice, the World Bank

Journal of Happiness Studies, 2020, vol. 21, issue 7, No 16, 2649-2668

Abstract: Abstract With the expansion of high-speed internet during the recent decades, a growing number of people are working from home. Yet there is no consensus on how working from home affects workers’ well-being in the literature. Using data from the 2010, 2012, and 2013 American Time Use Survey Well-Being Modules, this paper examines how subjective well-being varies among wage/salary workers between working at home and working in the workplace using individual fixed-effects models. We find that compared to working in the workplace, bringing work home on weekdays is associated with less happiness, and telework on weekdays or weekends/holidays is associated with more stress. The effect of working at home on subjective well-being also varies by parental status and gender. Parents, especially fathers, report a lower level of subjective well-being when working at home on weekdays but a higher level of subjective well-being when working at home on weekends/holidays. Non-parents’ subjective well-being does not vary much by where they work on weekdays, but on weekends/holidays childless males feel less painful whereas childless females feel more stressed when teleworking instead of working in the workplace. This paper provides new evidence on the impact of working at home and sheds lights for policy makers and employers to re-evaluate the benefits of telework.

Keywords: Working at home; Telework; Subjective well-being; Happiness; Time use (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D1 J22 J28 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s10902-019-00196-6

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