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J Occup Health year 2002 volume 44 number 4 page 248 - 253
Classification Original
Title A Survey of Home-Based Workers in Japan: Emerging Health Issues
Author Wendy A. SPINKS
Organization Department of Management Science, Tokyo University of Science, Japan
Keywords Telework, Home working, Remote work, Health management, Sickness, Japan
Correspondence W.A. Spinks, Department of Management Science, Tokyo University of Science, 1-3 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku, Tokyo 162-8601, Japan
Abstract A Survey of Home-Based Workers in Japan: Emerging Health Issues: Wendy A. SPINKS. Department of Management Science, Science University of Tokyo-Changes such as the greater diversification of work arrangements, either the result of or enabled by the rise of information communication technology, are testing many long-standing practices and assumptions in the workplace. The emergence of the virtual organization and telework raises serious management questions including work organization, worker evaluation and knowledge management. These changes, however, also have a growing but little understood impact on health management. The aim of this paper is to explore attitudes to health management and the incidence of illness for home-based teleworkers. After a brief outline of major changes in organizational and management practices as well as research trends in the area of health and telework, it presents a set of field data on home-based workers in Japan, and links the findings to a future research agenda. The survey data indicate that health management issues do exists for this group of workers and that a worrying proportion of respondents experienced health conditions detrimental to work performance that went untreated. Additionally, a somewhat cavalier attitude towards safe work practices indicated either low worker awareness of, or low priority for, minimizing health risks. This was often compounded by the lack of a traditional mitigating third party such as a regular employer. These findings suggest that conventional organizational criteria for sickness may be being replaced by more elastic concepts of health and sickness in the virtual workplace.