Comparing Exposure to Psychosocial Risks: Face-to-Face Work vs. Telework

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Angela Gomez-Dominguez
Pedro Ferrer-Rosende
Laura Esteve-Matali
Clara Llorens-Serrano
Sergio Salas-Nicás
Albert Navarro-Giné


Psychosocial risks, non-manual workers, telework, face-to-face work, gender, Spain


Background: In recent years, substantial changes have occurred in the work organization and arrangements. One of the main ones has been the popularization of teleworking among non-manual workers. This paper aims to assess the exposure of psychosocial risks among non-manual Spanish wage-earners, depending on the working modality (mainly telework, combining teleworking with onsite work, or onsite work). Methods: Based on an online survey conducted between April and May 2021, a cross-sectional study was carried out among n=11,519 members of a trade union where Psychosocial Risks (PSR) were measured through COPSOQ Questionnaire Scales. All analyses were performed stratifying by sex. Results: Women who combine telework and face-to-face work (aPR: 1.21; 95%CI 1.07-1.37) and men who mainly telework (aPR: 1.26; 95%CI 1.11-1.43) and that combine (aPR: 1.27; 95%CI 1.11-1.45) are more exposed to quantitative demands than men and women who do not telework. On the other hand, women who telework, either entirely (aPR: 0.89; 95%CI 0.82-0.97) or combining (aPR: 0.89; 95%CI 0.81-0.98), are less exposed to emotional demands than women who do not telework, and the same occurs among men who mainly telework (aPR: 0.84; 95%CI 0.76-0.92). Telework and horizontal or vertical social support are not associated, except for supervisor support among males, nor with work-life conflict. Conclusions: Except for quantitative demands, employees who combine telework and face-to-face work are less exposed to psychosocial risks than those who mainly telework or work face-to-face only. More studies with a gender and class perspective are needed in this area.

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