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Workload, work–life interface, stress, job satisfaction and job performance: a job demand–resource model study during COVID-19

James Chowhan (School of Human Resources Management, York University, Toronto, Canada)
Kelly Pike (School of Human Resources Management, York University, Toronto, Canada)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 28 November 2022




This study, using a comprehensive job demand–resources (JD-R) model, aims to explore the pressures of workload, work–life interface and subsequent impacts on employee stress and job satisfaction, with implications for employee job performance, in the context of working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.


A cross-sectional sample of employees at seven universities (n = 4,497) and structural equation path analysis regression models are used for the analyses.


The results show that a partial mediation JD-R model was supported, where job demands (such as workload and actual hours worked) and job resources (including expectations, support and job security) have relationships with work interference with personal life and personal life interference with work. These have subsequent negative path relationships with stress. Further, stress is negatively related to job satisfaction, and job satisfaction is positively related to employee job performance.

Practical implications

Potential policy implications include mitigation approaches to addressing some of the negative impacts on workers and to enhance the positive outcomes. Timely adjustments to job demands and resources can aid in sustaining balance for workers in an uncertain and fluid environmental context.


This study makes a contribution to knowledge by capturing sentiments on working arrangements, perceived changes and associated outcomes during a key period within the COVID-19 pandemic while being one of the rare studies to focus on a comprehensive JD-R model and a unique context of highly educated workers' transition to working from home.



The data used in this paper are from a survey conducted at Canadian Universities in the Summer and Fall of 2020. The original survey was designed and led by Professor Emeritus David Peetz and Professor Emeritus Glenda Strachan at Griffith University in Australia, then adapted slightly for the Canadian context, and administered at a total of seven universities in Australia and seven universities in Canada. The local research at York was led by Assistant Professor Kelly Pike, School of Human Resource Management, on behalf of the Global Labour Research Centre. This research has received ethics review and approval by the Human Participants Review Sub-Committee, York University’s Ethics Review Board and conforms to the standards of the Canadian Tri-Council Research Ethics guidelines. The authors are grateful to GLRC Director Luann Good Gingrich for her ongoing support of the project. More information about the “COVID-19 home-working by university staff survey” is available on the project home page.

The research, analysis and opinions expressed is this paper do not represent the views of York University, and the presentation, interpretations and conclusions are those of the authors.


Chowhan, J. and Pike, K. (2022), "Workload, work–life interface, stress, job satisfaction and job performance: a job demand–resource model study during COVID-19", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.



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