Studies suggest that work characteristics may be related to workers’ wellbeing. However, little is known about how these work characteristics may influence telework wellbeing in the face of the long period of social isolation and restrictions imposed by COVID-19. This study aimed to relate work characteristics in remote work to wellbeing using a two-stage multi-method approach. The general hypothesis is that different work characteristics will be organized into different groups and related to wellbeing. In Step 1, 108 teleworkers who participated in compulsory telework conditions answered the Work Design Questionnaire (WDQ) and Wellbeing at Work scale. A cluster analysis was conducted in which two clusters emerged based solely on their valence. The variables that contributed most to the cluster were: feedback from the job, social support, problem-solving, and decision and execution autonomy. Cluster 1 aggregated higher scores on work characteristics, and Cluster 2, lower scores. Cluster 1 presented significantly higher scores on wellbeing. In Step 2, 27 of these workers were blindly interviewed. Five classes of words emerged from the interviews: Class 1 – wellbeing, Class 2 – work dissatisfaction lexicon, Class 3 – role clarity, Class 4 – job demands, and Class 5 – job resources, including receiving feedback, conversations, praise, and support. Chi-square analysis suggests significant differences in classes 2, 3, 4, and 5. Cluster 1 appears more frequently in the role clarity class and less frequently in the work dissatisfaction and job demands classes. Cluster 2 is more frequent in the job dissatisfaction and job demands classes, however, less frequent in the job resources class. Class 1 shows no significant difference. These results partially support the general hypothesis that different work characteristics will be organized into different clusters and related to the teleworker’s wellbeing, but in the sense that it prevents suffering but does not necessarily promote wellbeing. The results contribute to the understanding of the relationship between work characteristics and wellbeing during the pandemic by using a different methodological approach, describing that work feedback, social support, skill variety, and problem-solving are the most significant in differentiating the perception of the groups. Social support and feedback from the job differentiate cluster 1 from cluster 2, but social support is not able to increase wellbeing, unless buffering unwellness.
work design, well-being, remote work, teleworker, work from home, work characteristics, multimethod, COVID-19