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Remote working and experiential wellbeing: A latent lifestyle perspective using UK Time Use Survey before and during COVID-19



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Chen, Jerry 


Mental health in the UK had deteriorated compared with pre-pandemic trends. Existing studies on heterogenous wellbeing changes associated COVID-19 tend to segment population based on isolated socio-economic and demographic indicators, notably gender, income and ethnicity, while a more holistic and contextual understanding of such heterogeneity among the workforce seems lacking. This study addresses this gap by 1) combining UK time use surveys collected before and during COVID-19, 2) identifying latent lifestyles within three working mode groups (commuter, homeworker and hybrid worker) using latent class model, and 3) quantifying nuanced experiential wellbeing (ExWB) changes across workers of distinct lifestyles. The direction and magnitude of ExWB changes were not uniform across activity types, time of day, and lifestyles. The direction of ExWB change during the daytime activities window varied in accordance with lifestyle classifications. Specifically, ExWB decreased for all homeworkers but increased significantly for certain hybrid workers. Magnitude of ExWB change correlated strongly with lifestyle. To understand the significant heterogeneity in ExWB outcomes, a spatial-temporal conceptualisation of working flexibility is developed to explicate the strong yet complex correlations between wellbeing and lifestyles. The implications to post-pandemic “back-to-work” policies are 1) continued expansion of hybrid working optionality, 2) provide wider support for lifestyle adaptation and transitions.



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Technology Strategy Board (920038)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/L010917/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/K000314/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/I019308/1)
Innovate UK (920031)
Ove Arup Foundation (unknown)
UK Research and Innovation (EP/Y024257/1)