Engagement, Exhaustion, and Perceived Performance of Public Employees Before and During the COVID-19 Crisis

Public Pers Manage. 2022 Sep;51(3):263-290. doi: 10.1177/00910260211073154. Epub 2022 Jan 29.


At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Swiss federal government implemented a lockdown that prompted a majority of private and public organizations to implement teleworking solutions for their employees. This study aimed to examine the impact of work modalities, job-related, relational, and organizational climate variables on employees' engagement, exhaustion, and perceived performance both before and during the forced teleworking period. Based on the job demands-resources framework, a survey was conducted (N = 1,373) in a Swiss Cantonal public administration. Results show that while the forced telework period positively influenced employees' work autonomy and work-life balance, it negatively influenced their degree of collaboration and perceived job strain but did not affect their engagement levels. The freedom to organize ones' own work and collaboration with colleagues were identified as the main resources that positively influence employees' engagement and perceived performance while limiting exhaustion.

Keywords: engagement; forced teleworking; new ways of working; perceived performance; well-being.