COVID and working from home: long-term impacts and psycho-social determinants

Taru Jain, Graham Currie, Laura Aston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


COVID related lockdowns have forced many workers around the world into work from home (WFH) arrangements. While the proportion of people who work from home has typically been very low (4.5% in Melbourne in 2016), it is worth considering how trends might change once the world emerges out of COVID lockdowns. This paper aims to examine (1) the long-term impacts of COVID on WFH and (2) the psycho-social factors which will impact workers’ intention to increase WFH post-COVID. The paper uses the Theory of Planned Behaviour as a lens to examine these psycho-social determinants. The study uses the survey responses of 1,364 workers which were collected in June-August 2020 as part of a larger survey (n = 2,158), which aimed to capture a representative population of Greater Melbourne. Quasi-longitudinal investigation of self-reported WFH frequency revealed that WFH as a share of average weekday employment increased 310% during COVID lockdown. In the longer term, when COVID is no longer an issue, WFH can be expected to be 75% higher than pre-COVID levels. Structural Equation Modelling was applied to the Theory of Planned Behaviour to understand motivators for and barriers to increasing WFH post-COVID. Perceived Behavioural Control (e.g. job type, technology, access to materials) and Subjective Norms (e.g. employer and family support) will be crucial determinants of the intention to work from home post-COVID. Attitudes regarding WFH will only have a weak impact on future intention to work from home, a finding which contrasts with previous research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-68
Number of pages17
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Attitudes
  • Psycho-social
  • Teleworking
  • Theory of planned behaviour
  • Work from home

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