Author: Hayley Bartlett, University of South Wales

Day Two – Wednesday 26th June

Strand – Health & Well Being

Session Five: 11.15am – 12.45pm

From a work-related context, authors have insinuated that telecommuting (i.e. working from home) has negative outcomes for employees, including that of increased loneliness (e.g. Baig, 1995). However, an extensive review of the literature revealed very few empirical studies to draw direct links between different work styles and loneliness outcomes; making cause and effect relationships tentative at best. In addition, no studies were found to explore the relationship between different work styles and outcomes on social and emotional loneliness as separate facets, despite evidence supporting the notion that loneliness is in fact a multidimensional construct comprising of social and emotional constitutes (Cramer & Perry, 1999). In order to fill such a void within the research, this study sought to explore the relationship between different work styles and outcomes on social and emotional loneliness components.

On a piloting sample of 253 academics, analysis of overall loneliness scores revealed no significant difference across work style groups (home-based vs. office-based). However, analysis of social loneliness as a separate facet did reveal a significant difference across work style groups, with home-based workers reporting significantly more social loneliness than office-based workers. Had loneliness been measured as a one-dimensional construct (the case in most previous research), no difference would have been reported across work style groups in terms of general loneliness. However, as can be seen from these results, when loneliness is considered as a multi-faceted construct comprising of social and emotional facets, differences are in fact apparent; thus adding to the literature in an edifying way.

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