The Effects of Remote Work on Family Relationships: Examples From Academia

The Effects of Remote Work on Family Relationships: Examples From Academia

Cynthia M. Montaudon-Tomas (UPAEP Universidad, Mexico), Ingrid N. Pinto-López (UPAEP Universidad, Mexico), Alicia L. Yañez-Moneda (UPAEP Universidad, Mexico) and Anna Amsler (Independent Researcher, Mexico)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3347-5.ch003
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This chapter analyses the effects of remote work on family relationships during confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The study is centered on faculty and staff members from a private business school in Puebla, Mexico. The research was conducted almost five months after the university closed its doors and moved all its activities online, having participants time to adapt to the new normal. A scale was developed and validated, and later on, it was applied in a country where family values, cultures, and traditions are strong. The scale included five distinct areas of study: remote working conditions, time and task management, work performance, stress, and family relations. All the business school faculty and administrative staff were invited to participate in the study. Results show employees' perceptions about how working remotely positively or negatively affected their relationships at home and their productivity at work, leading to the design of best practices and useful guidelines that will minimize the adverse effects of remote work while enhancing the positive ones.
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Theoretical Framework: Concepts, Definitions And Existing Theories

The unprecedented situation has revealed the necessary analysis of the New Ways of Working (NWoW) within the New Ways of Life (NWoL). The conflicts associated with NWoW and NWoL have repercussions in two directions: from work to family, and vice versa. Work from home can have a negative spillover effect when pressures from work and home are mutually incompatible (Bellavia & Frone, 2005). Flexible work-home arrangements have been found to negatively associate with time-based and strain-based interferences (Dickkers, Geurts, Kompier, Taris, Houtman & Van den Heuvel, 2007).

Spillover creates conflicting situations affecting relationships, such as communication, privacy, the balance between life and work, general wellbeing and health, satisfaction, and even the family economy. Work can be affected in terms of performance, punctuality, concentration, commitment, and collaborative work development at a distance (Sok, Blomme & Tromp, 2014). Nevertheless, recent studies have also suggested that working from home can positively affect both work and family relationships (Evans, Mikocka-Wlatus, Klas, Olive, Sciberras, Karantzas & Westrupp, 2020).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Burnout Syndrome: A state of physical exhaustion and emotional fatigue.

Positive Family Relationships: Loving relationships based on communication, commitment, and conflict management that results in strong family structures.

COVID-19: An infectious disease caused by a strain of coronavirus that causes respiratory infections.

Stress: A bodily response to physical and mental factors.

Remote Work: Work that is performed outside the traditional working space or office environment.

Confinement: Being kept in a restricted space or situation.

Faculty: The academic staff of a university.

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