The Influence of Telework on Worker Well-being: Advantages, Disadvantages, and the Impact on Mental Health

2023-08-11 10:21:13

What is the influence of telework on the well-being of workers? La Matinale asked Claudia Senik the question on Friday. The economist provides a nuanced answer: the home office may imply a loss of meaning, but also has advantages. As a result, he is in demand, but only part-time.

During confinement, studies were carried out on people forced to telecommute, explains the professor of economics at Sorbonne University and at the Paris School of Economics. This research has shown that working from home full-time has a negative impact on life satisfaction and mental health.

A little more than half of people still want to do home office a few days a week, however, notes the professor. If they are offered two positions, the one with the partial telework option will be preferred, even if it means accepting a lower salary.

>> Also read: Why are some companies backtracking on telework?

Advantages and disadvantages

For what? “There are aspects of teleworking which are rather negative for mental health and others which are positive,” says Claudia Senik.

The economist cites the latest report from the international survey “Working from home global report”, which shows that working from home is perceived to have advantages for private life. For example, we spend less time in transport and getting ready. You can also organize your day as you wish. “Things that are not so much about work, but more about life,” sums up Claudia Senik.

When you are teleworking, you lose a bit of the meaning of work and, perhaps, of your life.

Claudia Senik, Professor of Economics

But going to the premises of your company also has advantages, linked to work but also and above all to sociability and the feeling of belonging.

“It is above all the aspect of informal human contact that we lose in telework. (…) It is both something that affects well-being at work and, more generally, the needs of people in the workplace. to be socialized, to have a form of social integration”, underlines the researcher.

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“You need a setting, a costume, protagonists”

“It’s like in a play. To be able to feel in your role, you need a setting, a costume, the protagonists. When you’re teleworking, alone in Zoom and for some in your pajamas, you have a bit of badly and you lose the meaning of work and, perhaps, of your life”, illustrates the director of the collective book “Remote work: challenges, issues and limits”, published in May.

Thus, staying at home permanently often has a negative effect. But what is valid for a majority is not valid for all: some people are completely content with teleworking. Claudia Senik puts forward the figure of one in five people wishing to stay at home every day for their professional activity.

Interview by Aleksandra Planinic

Adaptation web: Antoine Michel

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