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How do young employees perceive stress and job engagement while working from home? Evidence from a telecom operator during COVID-19

Karen Modesta Olsen (NHH, Bergen, Norway)
Jarle Hildrum (Telenor, Oslo, Norway)
Kamilla Kummen (REMA 1000, Oslo, Norway)
Caroline Leirdal (Ecura, Oslo, Norway)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 10 February 2023

Issue publication date: 21 March 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

The study examines the extent to which job demands and resources are related to job stress and engagement among young employees exposed to remote work. The study draws on the job demands–resources (JD-R) model, adapted to working from home during the pandemic.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses data from a survey among young employees (35 years and younger) in a large, telecommunications company in Norway (N = 303), conducted in May 2021. Linear regression analysis was employed.

Findings

The results show that the difficulty of work tasks is positively related to stress while time spent working from home, managing work–life balance and receiving support from leaders are negatively related to stress. Furthermore, overtime, support from leaders and colleagues and managing work–life balance are positively related to job engagement. Having a dedicated workspace at home is not related to either job stress or engagement and no gender differences exist.

Originality/value

The study theoretically contributes to the literature by showing that the nature of work plays out differently for the well-being of employees working from home. In terms of practical implications, the study suggests that adjusting the level of difficulty of work tasks and providing support can alleviate stress among young employees. Providing the option to work from home may reduce stress among these young employees, however working from home may face limitations regarding enhancing job engagement.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the Norwegian Research council [grant number 294458]. The authors especially thank the employees in the company who participated in the study.

Citation

Olsen, K.M., Hildrum, J., Kummen, K. and Leirdal, C. (2023), "How do young employees perceive stress and job engagement while working from home? Evidence from a telecom operator during COVID-19", Employee Relations, Vol. 45 No. 3, pp. 762-775. https://doi.org/10.1108/ER-05-2022-0230

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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