Breaking the silence of psychological impact while working from home during COVID: implications for workplace learning

Roland K. Yeo, Jessica Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


COVID-19 has led to alternative work arrangements for many organizations. Working from home (WFH) is an example, but it could lead to psychological effects affecting employees’ attitudes and behaviour towards their work. This paper aims to explore the psychological impact of WFH on learning and work engagement. A case study of a multinational training academy was conducted over a 12-month period through telephone and virtual calls, reaching out to a total of 1,318 employees. WFH arrangements can be classified into planned (expected) and unplanned (unexpected). Employees in the planned arrangement coped better due to sufficient psychological preparation than the unplanned group that experienced psychological disorientation with WFH transitions. Despite initial resistance, the planned group gradually accepted the arrangement and was able to regulate their psychological response with a longer-term view of their work. In contrast, the unplanned group reacted with stronger emotion and adopted a transient view of their work. The paper extends the concept of work-life boundaries and learning orientation based on WFH transitions. It also contributes to workplace learning from the job demand-resources perspective in relation to work engagement. This research gives voice to employees working in isolation, helping them reconnect with themselves to navigate through uncertainty from the HRD perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-144
Number of pages31
JournalHuman Resource Development International
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2022


  • COVID-19
  • emotion
  • learning orientation
  • psychological impact
  • work engagement
  • working from home
  • workplace learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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