The Transformation of Work During COVID-19 and How it Affected Remote Workers

The COVID-19 pandemic adjusted the location of the traditional office so workers could work remotely. The authors discussed the analysis of nationally representative survey data from “October 2020 of 3,017 remote workers, and qualitative survey data from 231 remote workers” examined how it affected their work hours during the pandemic. The outcome illustrated that women were mostly at risk for reduced hours due to the lack of homelife support during their working hours. What I found particularly interesting about this subject is that this research article also addresses how “gender intersects with caregiving, race/ethnicity, prior remote work experiences, and socioeconomic status. This disparity highlighted that women with pre-school children worked fewer hours, whereas women who had familial and other support had increased work hours. Additionally, Black women who worked remotely had more hours worked as compared to Hispanic women and Black men who were reported to have progressively less hours worked. It is important to recognize that socioeconomic status, intersected with gender, illustrated that women who did not have a college degree worked fewer hours. However, women with a college degree and women in managerial positions worked more hours. The qualitative data within this article sheds light on why these work hours were subject to varying changes for different remote workers during the pandemic.

The authors focused on the disparities of remote workers during the COVID-19 pandemic,  analyzing quantitative and qualitative survey data. This led to the conducting of intersectional research to explain the increase of benefits and burdens of this newly aligned conceptual structure. The findings drew attention to and divulged how the pandemic shaped gender increase, decrease, and consistency in work hours. The analysis discussed women who worked remotely with increased work hours had a distinct social location in comparison to those who had less work hours. Some women who shifted to remote work lacked remote experience, did not have available technology, and had difficulties balancing their schedule to manage work and household responsibilities. This transition was particularly grave for minority women, but it was juxtaposed by Black women who performed increased work hours since some of them were the primary income for their household. The authors indicated that gender and class played a role, but the “qualitative data points to both constrained by choice and strategic adaptations.” The findings demonstrated the need to reframe and reflect “major transformations” in community structure, cultural biases, and recognizing “where and when work is done.” The inequalities between gender differences were suggested to be in existence prior to the pandemic, however, to pinpoint the exact reason for this dichotomy will require additional research.


Working More, Less or the Same During COVID-19? A Mixed Method, Intersectional Analysis of Remote Workers, by Wen Fan and Phyllis Moen

Viewpoint Written by Anjanie R. Fairbairn, Texas State University

Edited by Jnna Sharp, Texas State University

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