COVID-19 and the World of Work

COVID-19 Impacts on Faculty & Staff: Changing the way employees work

A research study by James Chowhan and Kelly Pike

Developed in partnership
with CHUSS

About the Study
How we conducted
this research

The goal of this project is to investigate the impact of current working arrangements at York University (among academic and administrative staff), arising from adaptations to the COVID-19 pandemic.

1292

Participants

11

Partners

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Indicators

01

Distribution

This report is based on a cross-sectional survey of York University all staff as a part of larger project being conducted across 11 universities in Australia and Canada. The survey entitled “Impact of COVID-19 work at home on York University staff” was collected in August and September of 2020. The survey was sent to all faculty and all staff using email distribution lists; thus, both academic and other university staff received email notifications regarding the survey. A follow up reminder email was sent about two weeks after the first invitation to participate in the survey.

02

Transparency

Staff were asked to complete an online survey taking approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. The email invitation to participate in the survey identified potential risks and discomforts (e.g. related anxiety or trauma) that may be associated with participation, and the benefits of the research and the benefits to the participants were also identified (e.g. the findings can enable York University to address issues or concerns around the effects of working arrangements arising from COVID-19). Participation in the survey was voluntary, and participants could withdraw from the survey at any time.

03

Confidentiality

In addition to the confidentiality protocol taken during the collection of the data (e.g. secure data management and anonymization of the data records), in this report, care has been taken to ensure individual information and responses are not revealed through the reporting of the findings. For this report, cross-tabulations are the main analyses that are used to develop estimates that enable a comparison of outcomes across individual characteristics and work factors.

04

Characteristics

With regard to individual characteristics the full report focuses on the following: job role, gender, age, Indigenous, visible minority, immigrant status, activity limitation, and care responsibilities, while the short report focuses on job role and gender. The work factors of interest are the following: preferred arrangement of work; how work arrangements changed; personal experiences and satisfaction; and work expectations, work-space, and work environment.

About the

Researchers

James Chowhan

James Chowhan researches and teaches in the areas of strategic human resource management. He holds a PhD in the field of Management of Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources, and a Master’s in Economics. Generally, speaking, he is interested in understanding how workplace practices and employment arrangements contribute to employee outcomes both at an individual and organizational level. His research has an over-arching theme focusing on human capital.

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Kelly Pike

Kelly Pike earned her PhD from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. She specializes in the role of worker voice and participation in the regulation of international labour standards, with a particular focus on the global garment industry in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her research contributes to the literature on regulating labour in global value chains. Her most recent publications appear in ILR Review, Journal of Developing Societies, and the ILO Better Work Discussion Paper series.

Learn more

For some workers, remote work was a seamless transition, while for others, the transition was not so easy. This study seeks to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on work factors of interest for faculty and staff.

Read Short Report

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01

Statistics

01

COVID-19 IMPACTS ON FACULTY & STAFF

Sample Statistics
of Individual Characteristics

Preliminary data consisting of general statistics of all York University faculty and staff who have participated in this survey.

Job Role

Percentage of full-time and part-time faculty versus those in other positions within York University.

Visible Minority

Percentage of York University faculty and staff who identify as part of a visible minority group.

Gender

Percentage of male, female, and non-binary faculty and staff who participated in this study.

This web report features Gender and Job Role primarily, however more statistical comparison can be found in the long report.

Indigenous/Non-Indigenous

Percentage of York University faculty and staff participating in this study who identify as Indigenous.

Age Group

Percentage of York University faculty and staff participating in this study who are over versus under the age of 50.

Place of Birth

Percentage of York University faculty and staff participating in this study who were born in Canada versus born elsewhere.

Activity Limitations

Percentage of York University faculty and staff participating in this study who have limitations on activity for various reasons.

Caring Responsibilities

Percentage of York University faculty and staff participating in this study who have childcare or non-children caring responsibilities.

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Preferences

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COVID-19 IMPACTS ON FACULTY & STAFF

02

Preferred Arrangement of Work

Insight into the changes in work preferences of faculty and staff, including at-home, hybrid model, and fully in-person working.

Section 2 Legend

Never work from home

About half and half

Always work from home

Summary

The findings from these tables show that the working preference of the majority of staff at York University is to split their time between the office and home after the pandemic. This contrasts with the practices of staff before the pandemic, where nearly all other staff and most faculty reported working at the university before the pandemic.

Most staff preferred in-person work pre-pandemic

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, staff preferred to work and teach in-person. Not all courses made use of online  learning tools such as eClass, and faculty members were required to hold lectures on campus.

Post-pandemic, most staff prefer a hybrid work model

After the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of faculty members preferred a hybrid work model for teaching and researching. This could include a shift to more recorded or live-streamed lectures as well as a more online-based course structure while still keeping some of the positive elements of in-person interaction. Interestingly, the majority of non-faculty members (other staff) preferred to work in a fully-online environment.

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Changes

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COVID-19 IMPACTS ON FACULTY & STAFF

03

How Work Arrangements Have Changed

Analyzing the shift in critical work factors for York University faculty and staff over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Section 3 Legend

Decreased

Stayed the same

Increased

This graph shows the changes in paid work hours that York University employees have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The data suggests that the majority of staff have been unaffected, meaning paid work hours have stayed the same, while smaller proportions have experienced increases.

This chart shows the difference in hours spent on work as a result of the pandemic. Overall, the majority of York University employees indicated that despite their unchanged paid work hours (see the previous chart), most have found an increase in time spent on work.

Most notably from this section, an increase in total hours worked was reported across both job types and all genders due to the remote-first environment.

This chart shows the changes in employee’s clarity of their work expectations. The data suggests a sizeable decrease in work expectation clarity after the transition to work from home and experienced over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Relatively smaller proportions of employees experienced an increase in work expectations clarity.

This chart illustrates the difference in daily productivity after transitioning to work from home practices at York University. The results suggest that there were substantive differences, both for job role and gender categories.  It is interesting to note that the majority of faculty noticed a decrease in daily productivity while other staff noticed a significant increase.  Further, a plurality of males identified decreases in personal daily productivity, while for females a plurality identified increases.

This chart depicts the difference in employee perceived quality of work during COVID-19. When comparing job role categories, it is interesting to note that for both faculty and other staff the majority staying the same; nonetheless, substantive proportions of faculty did report a decrease while other staff reported an increase in quality of work given the new working conditions.

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Experiences

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COVID-19 IMPACTS ON FACULTY & STAFF

04

Personal Experiences
during COVID-19

How faculty and staff job satisfaction, stress, and work-life balance have changed over the transition to remote work.

Section 4 Legend

Decreased

Stayed the same

Increased

Summary

This section examines the personal experiences of York University employees that are related to their well-being related to work during the pandemic. The results indicate an overall decrease in job satisfaction occurred, while a very substantive increase in stress was experienced. Further, large proportions of employees’ report an increase in work interference with personal life. The pathway of relationships is typically considered to flow from work interference with personal life to stress, and from stress to job satisfaction outcomes.

Your Job Satisfaction

Faculty report dissatisfaction with the transition to fully remote work.

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, faculty and staff as well as all genders reported a majority decrease in overall job satisfaction. Interestingly, a minority of participants reported an increase, suggesting that different personality types or living situations may have a heavy influence on the response to working form home.

The stress you experience

An increase in work-related stress reported across all job types and genders

A drastic increase in work-related stress was reported across all job types and genders. Although this may be due to external factors such as living situations and uncertainty around the future of the pandemic, adapting to remote-teaching technologies can be frustrating and thus may have influenced this result.

How much work interferes with your personal life

Faculty and staff report a narrowing boundary between their personal lives and their career.

Faculty and staff reported an increasing overlap between their professional and personal lives due to the lack of physical separation. However, this is particularly noticeable in non-faculty participants who say that work has taken time away from other daily activities and commitments.

How much your personal life interferes with your work

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Expectations

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COVID-19 IMPACTS ON FACULTY & STAFF

05

Expectations, Workspace, and Environment

Analysis of the shift in expectations and key workspace/environmental factors for faculty and staff during and post-pandemic.

Section 5 Legend

Disagree

Neither agree or disagree

Agree

This graph shows the changes in paid work hours that York University employees have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The data suggests that the majority of staff have been unaffected, meaning paid work hours have stayed the same, while smaller proportions have experienced increases.

This chart shows the difference in hours spent on work as a result of the pandemic. Overall, the majority of York University employees indicated that despite their unchanged paid work hours (see the previous chart), most have found an increase in time spent on work.

These statistics reflect the overall conditions felt by faculty and staff at York University. Generally, workloads have been reported as manageable and adequate support has been provided.

This graph shows the changes in paid work hours that York University employees have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The data suggests that the majority of staff have been unaffected, meaning paid work hours have stayed the same, while smaller proportions have experienced increases.

This chart shows the difference in hours spent on work as a result of the pandemic. Overall, the majority of York University employees indicated that despite their unchanged paid work hours (see the previous chart), most have found an increase in time spent on work.

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Introduction

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