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Remote work and work-life balance: Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and suggestions for HRD practitioners

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Wee Au



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Popular representations of remote work often depict it as a flexible, technologically feasible, and family-friendly work arrangement. Have the images of remote working as a desirable work arrangement been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic? What have we learned from the widespread involuntary remote work imposed on many employees during this time? To answer these questions, we analysed 40 recent empirical studies that examined work-life balance while working from home during the pandemic. Our analysis was informed by the person-environment fit theory and complemented by literature reviews on remote work conducted prior to the pandemic. We found four themes representing misfits between desirable expectations and the undesirable realities of remote work: (1) flextime vs. work intensity, (2) flexplace vs. space limitation, (3) technologically-feasible work arrangements. technostress and isolation, and (4) family-friendly work arrangement vs. housework and care intensity. We highlight the important role HRD practitioners can play in assisting employees to achieve a fit between their expectations and experiences of remote work.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shirmohammadi M, Au WC, Beigi M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Human Resource Development International

Year: 2022

Volume: 25

Issue: 2

Pages: 163-181

Online publication date: 10/03/2022

Acceptance date: 24/02/2022

Date deposited: 03/08/2022

ISSN (print): 1367-8868

ISSN (electronic): 1469-8374

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/13678868.2022.2047380


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