The changing dynamics of work from home and its association with sleep disturbance through work-family conflict during the COVID-19 pandemic

J Occup Health. 2024 Jan 4;66(1):uiae014. doi: 10.1093/joccuh/uiae014.


Objectives: Work from home (WFH) can increase sleep disturbances. However, only few studies have examined the connection between WFH and sleep disturbance while considering work-family conflict (WFC) and the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to examine the association between WFH and sleep disturbance, considering WFC, and assess how this association changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: We used data from the fifth and sixth Korean Working Conditions Survey. WFH workers and a control group were selected using propensity score matching. Conditional logistic regression analysis was used to estimate the odds ratios (ORs) with 95% CIs for sleep disturbance in the WFH and control groups.

Results: The workers working from home showed significantly higher ORs for sleep disturbance before (4.26; 95% CI, 3.59-5.05) and during (1.52; 95% CI, 1.26-1.83) the COVID-19 pandemic. When stratified by WFC, the association was significant only in the workers with WFC before COVID-19. However, the association was not significant during COVID-19 among the workers with WFC.

Conclusions: WFH was significantly associated with sleep disturbance among workers before COVID-19, but this association was not observed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Considering the significant role that WFC plays in this association, companies should provide a family-friendly WFH environment when adopting WFH practices.

Keywords: COVID-19; Korean Working Conditions Survey; sleep disturbance; work from home; work–family conflict.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders* / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teleworking