Within- and between-person changes in work practice and experiences due to COVID-19: Lessons learned from employees working from home, hybrid working, and working at the office
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionFrontiers in Psychology. 2022, 13 . 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.948516
Introduction: In response to the requirement of keeping social distance during the COVID-19 outbreak a lot of employees needed to change from a regular office to a home-office at short notice. The aim of the present study is to explore these employees' experiences and evaluate changes in their work situation during the pandemic. Method: A mixed-method design was used with panel data collected twice in an insurance company in Norway. The first dataset was collected in December 2020 (Time 1; N = 558), with a follow up in March 2021 (Time 2; N = 601). Results: Our study indicated that employees' main reasons for working from home were to keep social distance, avoid contagion and protect their loved ones. Flexibility, timesaving and more time with family and friends were also motivators. Most employees reported that they had the necessary technical equipment to work from home and wanted more opportunity to use their home office in the future. General Linear Models (GLM) indicated that work-family balance and workload were the same across age, gender, and worksites. Women and employees working from home reported more fear of being infected by COVID-19 at work. Younger employees reported experiencing less social contact with colleagues than normal during the pandemic, compared to the older employees. Overall, employees working at home were more positive toward digital solutions and digital meetings than those at the office. Repeated measures MANOVA showed that the work motivation and digital competence decreased over time for all worksites. Productivity increased for home-office employees but decreased for the hybrid and work-office employees. Discussion: This paper contributes to knowledge of employees' experiences with different worksite solutions, which will be useful for anticipating employees experience in the future with more hybrid work.