Virtual work from home and mental health: a mixed methods systematic review
Polson, Kara Dawn
Master of Health Sciences
Working from home (well-being)
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Poor mental health is a risk factor for a number of chronic physical conditions and may impact individuals’ ability to remain in the work force (World Health Organization, 2004b). Further, the workplace itself may pose a risk to mental health, affecting one’s ability to contribute meaningfully in both personal and professional lives (Jnaneswar & Sulphey, 2020). A number of workplace factors have been identified as risk factors to mental health (Burton, 2010) and the literature suggests that some these factors may be augmented for employees who are working remotely from a virtual office, removed from their central organization (Marshall et al., 2007; Mulki & Jaramillo, 2011; Orhan et al., 2016; J. Stich, 2020). Working from a virtual office poses a number of challenges, including workplace isolation, increased job stress, decreased job satisfaction, and poor communication, to name a few (Mulki & Jaramillo, 2011; Stich, 2020). As the body of evidence on the implications of working from a virtual office has grown, so too has the need for synthesizing the best available evidence. This study is a comprehensive systematic review, examining the quantitative and qualitative literature on virtual offices and mental health. This review is particularly important due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, as millions of employees have transitioned to working virtually, from a home office. The overall goal of this study was to make available evidence more accessible, allowing researchers and other stakeholders to better understand the impact that a virtual office may have on employee mental health.