Job Demands and Well-being in Universities in the Pandemic: A Longitudinal Study
Concerns about work intensification within universities have been an issue over the past decade and the Covid-19 pandemic may have accelerated any trend toward excessive job demands associated with work-related stress. This paper reports a longitudinal study conducted in two English universities based on observations at 11 time points from March 2020 to February 2021, covering academic and nonacademic workers. The results show that four measures of job demands increased during the period and that blended learning has contributed to these increases. Various measures of well-being are negatively associated with work intensity, while work–nonwork conflict is positively related to it and mediates the demands–well-being relationship. The study also shows that the use of a variety of methods of accommodating the increased demands—increasing total hours, working at weekends, extending the work day and forsaking breaks, normal holidays and exercise—are associated with increased work intensity. The policy implications of the study are that interventions aimed at employee well-being should be focused on the causes of stress and, particularly, job demands, rather than coping with stress and that future decisions about homeworking should take account of these causes and not simply the satisfaction or performance levels of homeworkers.
University of Leicester's ESRC Impact Accelerator Award
Author affiliationSchool of Business, University of Leicester
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