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Publication Title | Assessing the growth of remote working and its consequences for effort, well-being and work-life balance

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New Technology, Work and Employment xx:x ISSN 1468-005X
Assessing the growth of remote working and its consequences for effort, well-being and work-life balance
Alan Felstead and Golo Henseke
This article critically assesses the assumption that more and more work is being detached from place and that this is a ‘win- win’ for both employers and employees. Based on an analysis of official labour market data, it finds that only one-third of the increase in remote working can be explained by composi- tional factors such as movement to the knowledge economy, the growth in flexible employment and organisational respons- es to the changing demographic make-up of the employed la- bour force. This suggests that the detachment of work from place is a growing trend. This article also shows that while remote working is associated with higher organisational com- mitment, job satisfaction and job-related well-being, these benefits come at the cost of work intensification and a greater inability to switch off.
Keywords: remote working, homeworking, teleworking, job quality, work effort, job-related well-being, job satisfaction, work-life balance.
Introduction
The research objective of this article is two-fold. First, it assesses the scale with which work is being detached from traditional fixed places of work, such as the office, once other labour market changes are taken into account. Second, it examines the conse- quences working remotely has for work effort, job-related well-being and work-life balance. The importance of this article stems from the fact that both the ‘revolution’ and its positive effects for workers are often assumed rather than demonstrated. Recent newspaper headlines in Britain, for example proclaim that ‘the office is dead!’ (Financial Times, 30 July 2016), ‘the rise of the home office helping workers escape to the country’ (Daily Mail, 27 August 2016), and ‘working from home booms as 4 million shun the commute’ (Daily Mail, 5 June 2015). Nevertheless, more critical reflections have
Alan Felstead (alanfelstead@cf.ac.uk) is Research Professor at Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University and a Visiting Professor at the ESRC Centre for Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies and Societies (LLAKES), UCL Institute of Education. Recent books include: Improving Work- ing as Learning, Routledge, 2007 and Unequal Britain at Work, Oxford University Press, 2015, co-edited with Duncan Gallie and Francis Green.
Golo Henseke is a Research Officer at the ESRC Centre for Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies and Societies (LLAKES), UCL Institute of Education. In 2011 he completed a PhD on the labour market consequences of demographic change. He also has interests in the development of skills over the life course, labour market outcomes, job quality and well-being.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
© 2017 The Authors
Growth and consequences of remote working 1 published by Brian Towers (BRITOW) and John Wiley & Sons Ltd
New Technology, Work and Employment

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