A work-life conflict perspective on telework

Shihang Zhang, Rolf Moeckel, Ana Tsui Moreno, Bin Shuai, Jie Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Telework has been promoted for decades as one of the traffic demand management policies to alleviate congestion during peak periods and reduce work-related trips, along with other benefits. However, less clear is the role played by life stages (i.e., gender, marital status and parenthood) on telework behavior. This study investigated to which extent telework frequency associated with life stages, and how these associations could be explained based on the work-life conflict perspective. Representative data were obtained from German Microcensus 2010 (N = 188,081 participants). The outcome variable was measured as ordered telework participation levels (i.e., never, infrequently and frequently). After testing for multicollinearity, a zero-inflated ordered probit regression model was applied to assess the associations between telework and family-life stages, while adjusting for individual, household, job-related and environmental characteristics. Results suggest that life stages associate with telework behavior in a complex way. Three patterns have been distinguished. Specifically, irrespective of gender and marital status, parents are less likely to telework compared to those without children. Regarding individuals without children, single individuals are more likely to telework than married ones, and males more likely than females. In contrast, for individuals with children, the partnered parents are more likely to telework than single parents, and females more likely than males. Our findings suggest that as the most important feature in family-life stages, children play a vital role in telework behavior. It not only increases both work-to-family conflict and family-to-work conflict, but also triggers housework re-division within couples and aggravates gender differences. Policies that support formal childcare resources could relieve the family-to-work conflict and encourage people to work at home.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-68
Number of pages18
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • Family life stages
  • German Microcensus 2010
  • Telework
  • Work-life balance
  • Work-life conflict
  • Zero-inflated ordered probit regression


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