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Title: Telework and health : a sociological study of illness and sickness in new forms of employment.
Author: Steward, Barbara.
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2000
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Telework is widely predicted to increase and to bring a range of social advantages - spatiotemporal flexibility and autonomy, and disadvantages - labour exploitation and isolation. Benefits are generally expected to be gained by professional, predominantly male workers, not female clerks. It is ofteni mpliedt hath ealthw ill improvet hrought he eliminationo f office-relateds tressorsa nd stressfuinl terpersonarel lationshipsM. ore vaguelyt he homei s presenteda s healthp romotinga nd illnessp reventingO. ccupationahl ealthr esearchh ase xploredt he effectso f computerw ork, and the psychologicailm plicationso f isolation.Y et there hasb eenl ittle investigationo f the health experienceosf teleworkersa s perceivedb y themselves. Forty-four teleworkers were interviewed in depth and most completed five questionnaires over a period of six months. Analysis of data was presented for participant validation. The research, therefore, offers an account of the lived experience of telework and teleworker's own explanations of health. The findings were as follows. Regardless of occupational status or time worked at home, teleworkers worked in marginalised space at home to cause minimal disruption to family life. Telework encouraged very long hours and the recalculation of time. The negotiation of absence and presence was central to the development of an acceptable work identity. Teleworkers balanced these costs against the privilege of home-based work. Participants were found to have a high level of chronic illness, and to frequently report instances of illness. Yet most believed they felt better, although not healthier, since working at home. The results were interpreted using Alonzo's (1979) model of containment, suggesting that reported reductions in sickness absence cannot necessarily be interpreted as improvements in health. The research showed that teleworkers reporting illness took fewer days free of work than those reporting to be well, and that telework changed health beliefs and behaviours in ways not fully appreciated in the literature to date.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Teleworking; Teleworkers Labor Medical care Sociology Human services