The Empty Office: An International Study of Teleworking

What is the relationship between teleworking and well being?

Project Summary

Digitization and teleworking were studied long before Covid, but the pandemic has fundamentally transformed research on the issue. On the one hand, pre-pandemic research suggested that remote work can mitigate conflicts, enhance flexibility, and improve the balance between work and personal life. On the other, the COVID-19 pandemic years highlighted some negative aspects of widespread teleworking, such as reduced social support, increased feelings of loneliness, and heightened forms of control over vulnerable workers.

In essence, teleworking exhibits both positive and negative dimensions, largely due to its effects on our social relationships. However, the fragmented nature of research provides an incomplete understanding of this transformative phenomenon.

This project aims to provide an inclusive and more exhaustive analysis of the relations between teleworking and well-being, by employing a longitudinal mixed-methods approach. An international and interdisciplinary team will collect quantitative and qualitative data on the personal networks of teleworkers in Switzerland, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands, providing novel insights into this field of study. The research spans economics, sociology, family studies, and health psychology, which focuses on how biological, social, and psychological factors influence health.

By investigating the impact of teleworking on social support, conflicts, interruptions, and control mechanisms, this project will significantly contribute to understanding of how teleworking shapes individuals’ lives.

Research Team

Mattia Vacchiano
University of Geneva

Eric Widmer
University of Geneva

Melanie Arntz
Principal Member
ZEW – Leibnez-Centre for European Economic Research

Manal Azzi
Principal Member
International Labour Organization

Nicola Cianferoni
Principal Member

Koorosh Massoudi
Principal Member
University of Lausanne

Oscar Molina Romo
Principal Member
Autonomous University of Barcelona

Stephanie Steinmetz
Principal Member
University of Amsterdam

Stéphane Cullati
Associate Member
University of Geneva





Policy domains


Host Institution