Stress in remote work: two studies testing the Demand-Control-Person model
The popularity of remote work continues to rise, but uncertainty remains about how it influences employee well-being. We extend the Demand-Control-Person (DCP) model to test both person and job factors as important considerations in remote work, suggesting that emotional stability influences the utility of autonomy as a job resource in protecting employees from strain. Additionally, we test self-determination theory (SDT), positioning need satisfaction for autonomy, relatedness, and competence as mechanisms explaining the relationship between remote work and strain. In two field studies, high–emotional stability employees reporting high levels of autonomy experienced the lowest levels of strain, with negative relationships between extent of remote work and strain. In contrast, low–emotional stability employees who also have high autonomy appear more susceptible to strain, and this may increase when they work remotely more often. Our multilevel structural equation modelling revealed that high–emotional stability employees with high autonomy appear best positioned to meet their needs for autonomy and relatedness, even when remote work is more frequent; these in turn reduced the likelihood of strain. Thus, our results support the DCP and SDT models, revealing theoretical and practical implications for designing and managing remote work arrangements.