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The emotional labour of teleworkers conducting online counselling during Covid-19.

O'Neil, Jennifer; Heidl, Britta. H.; Bratton, Andrew; Vossler, Andreas; Moller, Naomi


Andreas Vossler

Naomi Moller


Drawing on emotional labour theory, this paper explores the barriers to emotionally complex telework, with a specific focus on the space, interface and pace of work. We examine the working lives of mental health counsellors who adapted from in‐person delivery to online delivery whilst working from home, during the Covid‐19 pandemic. Our qualitative data set comprises of semi‐structured online interviews with 31 counsellors across the United Kingdom. Findings reveal that boundary issues, increased technical interruptions, increased screen time and associated fatigue, and increased contact‐ability due to digitalisation were key barriers to conducting emotionally complex tasks and exacerbated the emotional labour of participants creating more negative outcomes. This resulted in heightened emotion management in the home space, emotional dissonance, stress and in some cases, burn‐out.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 1, 2023
Online Publication Date Nov 27, 2023
Deposit Date Nov 30, 2023
Publicly Available Date Nov 30, 2023
Journal New Technology Work and Employment
Print ISSN 0268-1072
Electronic ISSN 1468-005X
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords counselling, COVID‐19, emotional labour, telework, working from home
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