Job stress and loneliness among desk workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan: focus on remote working

Environ Health Prev Med. 2022;27(0):33. doi: 10.1265/ehpm.22-00107.


BACKGROUND: Previous studies have reported an increase in loneliness since the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but there are few data on the relationship between job stress and loneliness. This study aimed to assess the relationship between job stress and loneliness among desk workers, with a focus on the impact of remote working.

METHODS: This study was part of the Collaborative Online Research on the Novel-coronavirus and Work (CORoNaWork) project in Japan. We extracted data from 13,468 workers who indicated that they were doing desk work. Loneliness was assessed using a single question and job stress was valuated using the Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ). Multiple logistic regression was performed.

RESULTS: Participants who worked remotely 4 or more days per week were marginally more likely to report feeling lonely compared with those who did not work remotely (adjusted odds ratio = 1.23, 95% CI: 0.99-5.84, P = 0.066). Remote working did not explain the interaction between JCQ scale scores and loneliness. Among remote workers, the level of support provided by co-workers and supervisors was strongly associated with feelings of loneliness as well as non-remote workers (co-worker support: AOR = 4.06, 95% CI: 2.82-5.84, P < 0.001; supervisor support: AOR = 2.49, 95% CI: 1.79-3.47, P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: To reduce loneliness and the risk of associated mental health problems, high-frequency remote workers should interact with supervisors and co-workers using the information and communication technology developed for this purpose.

PMID:35965100 | DOI:10.1265/ehpm.22-00107

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