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Working from home, job satisfaction and work–life balance – robust or heterogeneous links?

Lutz Bellmann (Institute for Employment Research, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Nürnberg, Germany)
Olaf Hübler (Institute for Empirical Economics, Leibniz University Hannover, Hannover, Germany)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 25 August 2020

Issue publication date: 19 May 2021

Abstract

Purpose

It is analyzed whether working from home improves or impairs the job satisfaction and the work–life balance and under which conditions.

Design/methodology/approach

Blocks of influences on job satisfaction and work–life balance – personal traits, job characteristics, skills and employment properties – are estimated separately and in combination. To select the variables, the least angle regression is applied. The entropy balancing approach is used to determine causal effects. The study investigates whether imbalances are determined by private or job influences, whether firm-specific regulations and the selected control group affect the results and whether it only takes place during leisure time.

Findings

No clear effects of remote work on job satisfaction are revealed, but the impact on work–life balance is generally negative. If the imbalance is conditioned by private interests, this is not corroborated in contrast to job conditioned features. Employees working from home are happier than those who want to work at home, job satisfaction is higher and work–life balance is not worse under a strict contractual agreement than under a nonbinding commitment.

Originality/value

A wide range of personality traits, skills, employment properties and job characteristics are incorporated as determinants. The problem of causality is investigated. It is analyzed whether the use of alternative control and treatment groups leads to different results. The empirical investigation is based on new German data with three waves.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank four referees, John T. Addison, Michael Beckmann, Thomas Cornelissen, Knut Gerlach, Philipp Grunau, Ute Leber und Stephan Thomsen for helpful comments.

Citation

Bellmann, L. and Hübler, O. (2021), "Working from home, job satisfaction and work–life balance – robust or heterogeneous links?", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 42 No. 3, pp. 424-441. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJM-10-2019-0458

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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