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Table 1 Study characteristics

From: A rapid review of mental and physical health effects of working at home: how do we optimise health?

Author (Date)
Country of study
Study design (method) Participants Measures Outcome
Anderson et al. (2015) [18]
USA
Cross sectional (quant) 102 Federal agency employees (51 F) Job-Related Affective Well-Being Scale (10 items) Telework was associated with greater positive effect and lower negative effect on well-being than working in the office.
Individual differences were highly variable and related to people’s tendency to ruminate and their social connectedness. Those who were more likely to ruminate experienced more negative affect. People who were more socially connected tended to have even more positive effect and less negative effect on well-being than those who were not as connected.
Bosua et al. (2013) [19]
Australia
Cross sectional (qual) 28 employees various sectors (unspecified F) Interviews and 4-day diary entry (unvalidated measures) Employees working at home some of the time reported greater sense of well-being and less stress on days they were working at home; preferred hybrid teleworking so could have social interaction and networking at office.
Bentley et al. (2016) [20]
New Zealand
Cross sectional (quant) 804 teleworkers various sectors
(378 F)
Psychological strain (GHQ-12)
Teleworker support (14 items covering manager support, trust and technical support)
Increased organisational and manager support for teleworkers reduces psychological strain.
Eddleston & Mulki (2017) [21]
USA
Cross sectional (mixed methods) Qual: 52 employees various sectors (32 F)
Quan: 299 employees technology company (132 F)
Semi structured interviews on experiences and challenges of remote workers.
Questionnaire including: Job stress, Work-family integration, Inability to disengage from work
Working from home associated with inability to disengage from work and integration of work into the family domain.
Inability to disengage from work is positively related to job stress, via increased WFC. This effect is greater for women than men.
Integration of work into the family is positively related to job stress via increased WFC. This effect is greater for men than women.
Filardí et al. (2020) [22]
Brazil
Cross sectional (quant) 98 teleworkers public administration (40 F) Questionnaire (1 item quality of life, 1 item safety) 95% participants reported improved quality of life, perceived increased safety when working from home and reduced stress associated with commuting
Gimenez-Nadal et al. (2020) [23]
USA
Cross sectional (quant) 2471 employees from various sectors. (1106 F) American Time Use Survey 2012–2013 (diaries and 5 item well-being questionnaire) Male teleworkers reported statistically significant lower levels of stress, pain & tiredness compared to commuters.
Female teleworkers reported higher levels of happiness compared to commuters but for stress, pain and tiredness no statistically significant differences were found.
Golden (2012) [24]
USA
Cross sectional (quant) 316 employees of a large computer company (92 F) Work exhaustion (5 items from General Burnout Questionnaire) Those who teleworked extensively, when WFC was high, were more exhausted compared to those who did limited telework. When WFC was low, they had lower exhaustion than those who did limited telework.
Grant et al. (2013) [25]
UK
Cross sectional (qual) 11 employees various sectors (7 F) Semi-structured interview covered e-working and well-being Communication and support from colleagues emerged as two key factors to ensure successful remote working and to balance the psychological aspects of well-being. Sub-themes of building relationships and interacting, including where boundaries could be crossed over, were considered to positively affect psychological well-being.
Hayman (2010) [26]
New Zealand
Cross sectional (quant) 336 administration university employees Validated job induced stress measure (7 items) Working from home was associated with lower job induced stress.
Henke et al. (2016) [8]
USA
Cross sectional (quant) 3703 financial employees (2296 F) Single item stress and depression measure Lower hours of telecommuting associated with lower levels of depression. No time dependent relationships of telecommuting with stress.
Hornung & Glaser (2009) [27]
Germany
Cross sectional (quant) 1008 public administration employees (277 F) World Health Organisation-BREF Quality of Life survey (6 items) Increased telecommuting improved quality of life through increased autonomy (mediator). Analysis by gender found the relationship remained for males but not for females.
Kaduk et al. (2019) [28]
USA
Cross sectional (quant) Fortune 500 organisation, IT workforce
758 non-supervisory employees
Validated scales: Emotional exhaustion (3 items), Voluntary remote work is protective with regard to stress. Involuntary remote work associated with higher emotional exhaustion than those undertaking voluntary remote work.
Kazekami (2020) [29]
Japan
Cohort (quant) 9200 employees various sectors (61% regular teleworkers) Measure of stress and happiness (single item) Telework was associated with increased stress, and increased happiness, for males, no effect for females.
Kim et al. (2020) [30]
USA
Cross sectional (quant) Previously collected data, US Quality of Work survey, 6945, (3599 F) General Social Survey & Quality of Work Life survey data (Job stress measure single item, Daily fatigue measure single item) Working at home associated with decreased fatigue and stress compared to those not working at home. No significant gender differences.
Major et al. (2008) [31]
USA
Cross sectional (mixed) 863 Federal government employees with dependents, (630 F) 19 item web-based survey (designed by researchers, unvalidated) 89% telecommuters were less stressed and 77% had increased energy levels compared to when they worked in the office.
Nijp et al. (2016) [32]
The Netherlands
Case control (quant) 1443 Financial company employees (teleworkers vs non-teleworkers) (521 F) Fatigue Assessment Scale (3 items), Health question (10-point scale, 1 item) After intervention (working from home), small decrease in self-reported health but no effect on fatigue.
Sardeshmukh et al. (2012) [33]
USA
Cross Sectional (quant) 417 supply chain management company employees (121 F) Survey including validated exhaustion measure (8 item) Telework negatively related to exhaustion, directly and indirectly via job demands and resources.
Song & Gao (2019) [34]
USA
Cross sectional (quant) 3962 Full time workers who participated in the 2010, 2012 and 2013 American Time Use Survey Well-Being Modules. (1277 F) American Time Use Survey Subjective Well-Being (SWB) Scale (6 items) Telework associated with increased stress and decreased happiness regardless of when it occurred. Teleworking on weekdays, fathers reported higher level of stress, pain and reduced happiness. For mothers, teleworking results in reduced happiness and increased fatigue.
Suh & Lee (2017) [35]
South Korea
Cross sectional (quant) 256 IT company teleworkers (111 F) Survey using various adapted validated scales. 31 items Teleworkers working less than 2.5 days per week experienced greater strain from technostress (work overload, role ambiguity & invasion of privacy) compared to those working greater than 2.5 days per week.
Tietze & Nadin (2011) [36]
UK
Cohort (qual) 7 employees local tax department (7F) 3 guided interviews with each participant, analysed using ‘template analyses’ Employees WAH reported enhanced personal well-being compared to working in the office.
Tustin (2014) [37]
South Africa
Cross sectional (quant) Academic telecommuters (n = 36) Academic non-telecommuters (n = 102) 46 web-based survey items (researcher constructed) Telecommuters reported improved quality of life, healthier eating, and reduced work-related stress. Teleworkers had less emotional and physical fatigue than non-teleworkers.
Vander Elst (2017) [38]
Belgium
Cross sectional (quant) 828 Telecommunication company employees
(99 F)
Utrecht Burnout Scale (emotional exhaustion 5 items)
COPSOQ (cognitive stress scale, 5 items)
Extent of telecommuting did not directly relate to emotional exhaustion or cognitive stress. More days of telecommuting associated with higher levels of emotional exhaustion and cognitive stress due to less social support from colleagues.
Windeler et al. (2017) [39]
USA
Study 1 Cohort (4 months), Study 2 cross sectional (quant) Study 1: 51 Financial services firm, IT workers. (20 F)
Study 2: 258 employees various sectors (103 F)
Work exhaustion – 4-item scale from the Maslach Burnout Inventory—General Survey Telework increased the negative effect of external interaction on work exhaustion because communication with external stakeholders requires more effort. Males experienced higher levels of work exhaustion after starting telework compared to those who did not telework (Study 1).
Females who teleworked experienced higher levels of work exhaustion compared to those who did not telework (Study 2).
  1. quant Quantitative, qual Qualitative, mixed Quantitative and qualitative, F Female