Woes and Worries about Work and Wellbeing in Times of Corona: The Gendered Patterns of Work-Life Balance in Relation to Workload, Rumination, and Social Isolation

Pascale Peters*, M.J.H. Coun, Melanie de Ruiter, Jan Morsch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees in non-essential occupations, particularly in the public sector, have increased their hours working from home in quarantine making use of information and communication technologies (telehomeworking) to avoid the spread of the corona virus and to maintain productivity. Intensification of weekly telehomeworking hours, however, enhances the risk of work and family time becoming blurred, particularly due to deviations in the allocation of working hours over week days and hours. The change in workload, strain, work-related rumination, and feelings of social isolation associated with telehomeworking may have implications for employee wellbeing and gender inequality (Yerkes et al., 2020; Zhou, MacGeorge, & Myrick, 2020). The present study aims to contribute to the debate on the gendered effects of substantial telehomeworking in times of COVID-19 by examining the mediating role of work-related rumination in the relationship between men and women’s perceptions of workload and work-life balance and the moderating role of social isolation herein. Employing multiple group covariance-based SEM-analysis, we analyze a sample of 356 Dutch and Belgian men (n = 154) and women (n = 202) employees in public and private organizations with substantial telehomeworking hours. Building on the effort-recovery theory (Geurts & Sonnentag, 2006), we hypothesize that workload has a positive relationship with work-related rumination which, in turn, has a negative relationship with work-life balance. Moreover, the negative indirect effect of workload via work-related remuneration on work-life balance is strengthened by social isolation. Based on gender-role theory, we expect these relationships to be stronger among women than among men. The results of our study provide insights for managing work and nonwork in telehomeworking settings
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2020
EventNetherlands Institute of Governance (NIG) Annual Work Conference: Work-life balance in the public and private sector: Pre- and post-pandemic. - Online, Nijmegen, Netherlands
Duration: 12 Nov 202012 Nov 2020


ConferenceNetherlands Institute of Governance (NIG) Annual Work Conference
Abbreviated titleNIG 2020
Internet address


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