Reshaping work, health and workplaces: management learnings from the pandemic

Call for papers for: International Journal of Workplace Health Management

The employment and social measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic have had substantial impacts on individuals, families, organisations, and societies worldwide (BBC, 2020; WHO, 2020). The way we work has been affected, including negative impact from working from home for prolonged periods of time, difficulties in balancing work and family demands, isolation and reduced social support because of social distancing, and disruptions in normal working patterns and in teamwork (Ipsen, Kirchner & Hansen, 2020; O’Connor et al., 2020). Many of the benefits that work brings to health have been compromised (Modini et al., 2016; Waddell & Burton, 2016). When work frameworks and boundaries break down, work-life balance can be harder to achieve, a tendency comes in to work more hours, providing support and visible leadership can be more difficult, and social interaction weakens (Hesketh & Cooper, 2019; Kelliher & Anderson, 2010). Workplace health and well-being have been affected and our ability to support workplace health and performance is also being challenged. 

However, workers, employees, and organisations have adjusted to these challenges with remarkable initiative. Individuals and organisations are not only adapting well but are also emerging more resilient. Emerging research, anecdotal evidence, and reports in the online and printed Media (e.g., https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/coronavirus-leading-through-the-crisis#), show that the Covid-19 pandemic has imposed a shared learning experience that is also bringing an unprecedented potential for gains in how we live and work, including the benefits of more flexible working methods, better individual and firm resilience (Bai, Brynjolfsson, Jin, Steffen & Wan, 2020), better work-family balance (https://www.uniglobalunion.org/news/uni-survey-shows-impacts-covid-19-work-life-balance), better gender equality (Alon, Doepke, Olmstead-Rumsey & Tertilt, 2020), a clearer manager prioritization of worker mental health, more distributed leadership, increased initiative, higher productivity (Ipsen et al., 2020), and better teamwork (Grapsa, 2020). The available literature on flexible working, telework, and the intensification of work has offered only some glimpses of these negative experiences (Hertel et al., 2005; Cooper & Kurland, 2002) and benefits (Bailey & Kurland, 2002; Kelliher & Anderson, 2010; Biron & Veldhoven, 2016), which the pandemic measures have accelerated and intensified.

This Special Issue is a call to integrate this evidence on the shared learnings from the pandemic for work, health and well-being, and the management of workplace health. First, it aims to highlight and synthesize the gains, positive outcomes, and shared learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic for individuals and organisations in order to build better workplace health management. Second, it aims to explore how these benefits can redefine and be embedded into how we design jobs, how we support work, and how we build organisations, for the benefits of both health and performance. 

We are interested in original research articles and case studies by researchers and practitioners in this area. Some themes of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Individual and organisational gains from increased use of working from home in hybrid forms or purely remotely
  • The interactions and intersections between health/well-being and performance for workers, teams, and their organizations 
  • The interactions and intersections between work and non-work life domains 
  • Implications for workplace health management 
  • Implications for redefining healthy workplaces 
  • Equality of opportunity and the value of diversity and inclusion
  • Managerial behaviours that can help to maintain gains and minimize losses
  • Organisational learning and development to support new ways of working 
  • What adaptation and resilience mean now, for workers, teams, and organisations 
  • How psychological and organisational culture can be supported, improved, and maintained in new hybrid remote work 
  • The centrality of health and well-being in performance management 
  • The management of hybrid work, such as working from home/telework and onsite
  • The gained value and challenges of digitalization of work and use of new technologies
  • The impact of the new methods of work on dispersed and diverse teams 
  • The new role of occupational health representatives and other workplace actors
  • Any other gains and lessons that can help us to redefine work, health, performance, and their management 

We welcome empirical or conceptual papers based on any type of methodological approach. The aim and key criterion is to extract lessons and learnings that can have a positive impact on the way we work whilst considering practical implications of managing workplace health, well-being, and performance. 

Timeframe 

Expressions of interest (an outlines of c.300 words can be submitted but is not mandatory): 1 December 2020 
Submission of manuscripts: 28 February 2021

Expressions of interest should be sent directly to the Guest Editors via email. Upon approval, manuscripts may then be submitted via ScholarOne.

For any questions, please contact the Co-Editors:

Dr Maria Karanika-Murray [email protected]

Dr Christine Ipsen [email protected] 


References

Alon, T.M., Doepke, M., Olmstead-Rumsey, J., & Tertilt, M. (April 2020). The impact of COVID-19 on gender equality. NBER Working Paper Series. Working Paper 26947. http://www.nber.org/papers/w26947
Bailey, D. E., & Kurland, N. B. (2002). A review of telework research: findings, new directions, and lessons for the study of modern work. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 23(4), 383–400. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.144
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WHO (2020). Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Situation Reports. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports