"The hidden ways working from home is affecting our health": Toronto Star Article by Professor Scott Schieman

October 2, 2020 by Kendra Smith

Professor Scott Schieman recently wrote an article The hidden ways working from home is affecting our health in the Toronto Star. In the article, Professor Schieman looks at how COVID-19 is changing the way workers view flexible time arrangements at work. While his research with PhD student  Philip Badawy in September 2019 showed both workers and employers viewed unstructured work favourably for different reasons - workers for the ability to choose when and from where they could do work, employees for a sign employees were dedicated to their jobs outside of paid work hours - the new impact of COVID-19 on how we do work may be changing these perceptions. Revisiting this research in March of this year to see how the implementation of flexible stay-at-home working conditions may have changed this, they found that the appeal of flexible working hours has diminished for many workers, likely because workers now have less control over the decision to work from home. Professor Schieman speculates this shift may impact how employers and employees alike approach work-from-home arrangements.

Professor Schieman is the Canada Research Chair in the Social Contexts of Health, a Full Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, and Chair of the Department of Sociology, St. George Campus. His research focuses on work/stratification, the work-family interface, stress, and health.

We have included an excerpt of the article below. Read the full article here.

The hidden ways working from home is affecting our health

By Scott Schieman

Sun., Sept. 20, 2020 3 min. read

There’s no question the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the delicate balance between work and home life, with many of us forced to abruptly adapt to our new realities practically overnight as remote working became the norm.

In essence, many of us very quickly became “role blurrers,” sending and receiving communications about work matters outside of normal working hours, multi-tasking between work and family, seemingly going above and beyond for the job.

During normal times, “role blurring” might signal to an employer that one is an ideal worker, fully committed. But during a period of upheaval such as the pandemic, these role-blurring activities may now signal a loss of control over work-life balance.

In September of 2019, I led a study with PhD student Philip Badawy to investigate if role blurring provides a status boost. It does … at least it did before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full article here...