Working Paper

The effects of commuting and working from home arrangements on mental health

Published: 2023

Given observed trends in rising commuting times and a greater proportion of individuals working from home (WFH), the paper studies the causal effects of changes in commuting time and WFH arrangements on the mental health of Australian men and women.

The adverse mental health effects of increases in commuting time are only found among men, and these affects are concentrated among men with pre-existing mental health problems. WFH arrangements have large positive effects on women’s mental health, provided that the WFH component is sufficiently large; these effects are also only among women with pre-existing health problems. The results also extend to British data.

The findings highlight the importance of targeted interventions and support for persons who are dealing with mental health problems. This could include, for example, adjustments to work regimens and allowing for sufficiently flexible WFH arrangements.


Centre Member

Ferdi Botha

Centre Member

Jan Kabátek

Centre Friend

Jordy Meekes
Roger Wilkins


Botha, F., Kabátek, J., Meekes, J., & Wilkins, R. (2023). ‘The effects of commuting and working from home arrangements on mental health’, Life Course Centre Working Paper Series, 2023-24. Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland.