The dark side of remote working during pandemics: Examining its effects on work-family conflict and workplace wellbeing
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
School of Business and Law
While remote working has been applied as an emerging flexible modern work arrangement and as an effective way to maintain social distancing during pandemics, it may result in negative workplace outcomes. Despite the eulogy on remote working, more research is needed to examine its possible negative effects on employees in the workplace. This study aims to fill these gaps by examining the effects of remote working on work-family conflict and workplace wellbeing during pandemics, and how such effects are moderated by employees’ general self-efficacy and job autonomy. Survey data was collected from 399 Chinese employees during COVID-19. The results show that remote working has a positive effect on work-family conflict, which in turn decreases workplace wellbeing. Further analyses show that while the work-family conflict dimension of family interfering with work (FIW) has a negative effect on wellbeing, the effect of the work-family conflict dimension of work interfering with family (WIF) on wellbeing is not significant. Besides, the effect of remote working on FIW is positively moderated by general self-efficacy and job autonomy. Lastly, the effect of remote working differs depending on the extent to which remote working is implemented. Our study contributes to the literature by explaining the negative effect of remote working on workplace wellbeing during pandemics and clarifying its boundary conditions. Our results provide managers useful guidelines regarding how to implement remote working.