It’s not that bad! Perceived stress of knowledge workers during enforced working from home due to COVID-19

Mattern, J., Lansmann, S., & Hüllmann, J. A.

In March 2020, many organizations requested their employees to work from home to reduce their employees' risk of a COVID-19 infection. Research has suggested that working from home increases perceived stress due to blurring boundaries between work and private life. We examine whether this finding also holds for "enforced working from home" (EWFH) due to COVID-19 based on a four-week diary study in April and May 2020 with 37 participants from a German university. We suggest psychological detachment and communication overload as explaining variables for the relationship between EWFH and perceived stress. Our data show that EWFH leads neither to an inability to detach nor to communication overload. Similarly, EWFH does not increase participants' stress level. The findings show that working from home is a viable option and that specifics of the EWFH setting, such as wide organizational support, can improve the working from home experience in the future.

COVID-19; Working From Home; Diary Study; Perceived Stress; Psychological Detachment; Communication Overload; Individual Focus Time

Publication type
Research article in proceedings (conference)

Peer reviewed

Publication status


Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Wirtschaftsinformatik (WI)

Duisburg-Essen, Germany


Full text