Previous research found increased sickness presenteeism (working despite sickness) associated with home-based telework. The Covid-19 pandemic offers new insights into mechanisms, as a large proportion of the workforce was forced to work from home, irrespective of organizational and individual predispositions.
A path analysis based on survey data from a sample of teleworkers collected during the Covid-crisis was performed.
We found no general relationship between telework and sickness presenteeism. However, employees with telework experience before the pandemic use telework more often for work intensification which is associated with increased sickness presenteeism. As teleworking before the pandemic is associated with indirect work control (goal-directed management), indirect effects of such work organizations on presenteeism were confirmed.
As hypothesized in prior research, indirect work control may increase self-endangering behavior which is amplified by telework.