Influence of the COVID-19 lockdown on remote workers’ physical and psychosocial wellbeing and work productivity
|Authors||Yessica Abigail Tronco Hernandez, Fabio Parente, Mark A. Faghy, Clare M. P. Roscoe and Frances Maratos|
Preprint of published article
Background: Imposed lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted the living and working habits of millions, with potentially important implications for physical, mental, and social wellbeing.
Objectives: The primary objective was to investigate the impact of the pandemic on remote workers not directly affected by the virus.
Methods: This was a correlational cross-sectional study (with an additional qualitative component) of 184 remote workers surveyed during the first COVID-19 lockdown in the UK. Standard measures of mental health (Kessler-6), productivity (IAPT) and physical activity (IPAQ) were used, with respondents further surveyed on changes to their dietary, exercise, smoking, drinking and socialisation habits to produce a ‘well-being change index’.
Results: Results revealed associations between sedentary behaviour and poorer mental health (τb=.14) and between poorer mental health and low work productivity (τb=-.39). However, both positive and negative lifestyle changes were reported; a self-reported increase in wellbeing (with respect to diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption, and socialisation) since the start of the pandemic was associated with both better mental health (τb=-.14) and better work productivity (τb=.14). Of note, we observed rates of moderate (55%) and severe (12%) psychological distress markedly higher than those reported in large pre-pandemic studies, and 70% of our respondents reported more sedentary behaviour, 41% increased their alcohol consumption and 39% their overall food intake. However, 46%, 45% and 52% reported spending more time walking, engaging in more moderate and vigorous exercise, respectively. Qualitative analysis revealed many positive adaptations to lockdowns (e.g., decreased commuting expenses, flexibility) but also a number of structural obstacles to remote working (e.g., lack of support and high expectations from employers, childcare duties).
Conclusions: These findings may be of practical importance for policy makers and employers in a world of work involving long-term remote or hybrid employment arrangements; strategies to promote more sustainable remote working are discussed.
|Keywords||covid-19; lockdown; remote working; preprint|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/dnuk3|
|Web address (URL)||https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/dnuk3|
|Publication dates||07 May 2021|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||24 Jun 2022|
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