Exploring the impact of remote work on the psychological well-being of software professionals in New Zealand

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Dissanayake, Jayani
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Master of Applied Management
Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga
Omisakin, Olufemi
Kularatne, Indrapriya
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
remote working
software professionals
psychological wellbeing
New Zealand
Dissanayake, J. (2024). Exploring the impact of remote work on the psychological well-being of software professionals in New Zealand. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Applied Management). Otago Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga, New Zealand. https://doi.org/10.34074/thes.6382
The Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and lockdowns resulted in familiarising ourselves with the practice of remote working. Remote working interrupted conventional office settings and created a unique working environment that limits social interactions and face-to-face communication. Therefore, there is a concern that remote working has the potential to create isolation, a lack of belongingness and an absence of work-life boundaries. However, remote work might also facilitate more flexibility and freedom as it allows one to choose a personalised work environment and more time to invest in personal and family life. Therefore, there has been a keen interest in the literature in understanding how psychological well-being is affected by remote working settings. Also, in New Zealand, most remotely working employees belong to the IT industry, yet their psychological well-being has yet to be widely explored. Therefore, this study aims to explore the impact of remote work on the psychological well-being of software professionals in New Zealand. A mixed methodology, a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches, was used to gather data. An online survey was conducted for the quantitative data, and 128 participants completed the survey. For qualitative data, 15 semi-structured interviews were conducted. Survey and interview data were analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. Results found that more IT professionals enjoy their remote work experience, and work-life balance was the main driver for choosing remote work. Regarding psychological well-being, findings showed that remote work improved participants' autonomy, self-acceptance, and purpose in life. However, concerning environmental mastery, personal growth, and positive relations, participants experienced challenges due to a lack of physical separation between office and home and inadequate social interactions. This study provides insights into remotely working IT professionals' challenges and benefits related to psychological well-being and suggests recommendations for improving remote working environments for better well-being. This study applied Ryff’s six-factor model to explore the psychological well-being of the participants. It proved that it is a practical and comprehensive framework to measure well-being through six well-rounded dimensions: environmental mastery, positive relations, autonomy, self-acceptance, purpose in life and personal growth of remote workers. Also, this study revealed that concerning environmental mastery and positive relations, organisations need to actively support remotely working software professionals to improve their psychological well-being.​
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