The Gendered Effects of Switching to Remote Work at Home

Zoom Research Seminar / 5th Floor Lecture 2

Office with view of rough landscape

Past event — 6 April 2022

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Prof. Dr. Manuel J. Vaulont

Assistant Professor, Department of Management

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

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This paper examines gender-specific effects of switching from office work to remote work at home on employees’ health and, in turn, life satisfaction. We draw upon two theoretical perspectives to develop competing hypotheses. The first, based on boundary theory, suggests that men perceive poorer health and lower life satisfaction than women when switching to remote work because men have less experience transitioning between work and family roles. The second, based on social role theory, suggests that women suffer more from switching to remote work because the home environment provides cues to women’s communal gender role resulting in more communal behaviors, thus negatively affecting women’s health, and life satisfaction. We test our hypotheses using a representative longitudinal sample in Switzerland (N = 1,307). Using three waves of data spanning two years including COVID-19 related lockdowns, we find support for the social role theory perspective: not only do women suffer from switching to remote work, but men also benefit from it, thus increasing gender disparities. Our study sheds light on the theoretical ambiguity pertaining to gender-specific effects of switching to remote work, while contributing to the nascent literature on alternative work arrangements and offering guidance on reducing their inequitable consequences.



Manuel J. Vaulont is an assistant professor of management at HKUST Business School at The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Manuel received his Ph.D. in management from Arizona State University. His research interests focus on leadership, teams, and alternative work arrangements. Manuel’s research has been published at Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Organizational Research Methods. He won the 2020 Best Student Conference Paper Award of AOM’s Research Methods Division.



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Bärbel Wegener

Assistant to Resident Faculty