Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 2022;48(5):380-390    pdf

doi:10.5271/sjweh.4027 | Published online: 26 Apr 2022, Issue date: 01 Jul 2022

Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic and its longitudinal association with physical activity and sedentary behavior

by Loef B, van Oostrom SH, van der Noordt M; Lifelines Corona Research initiative, Proper KI

Objective Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many workers’ daily life and possibly their physical activity behavior. We studied the longitudinal association of working from home during the pandemic with physical activity and sedentary behavior.

Methods Longitudinal data from 17 questionnaire rounds of the Lifelines COVID-19 cohort (March 2020–February 2021) were used. In total, 33 325 workers were included. In every round, participants reported their current work situation: location, home, or hybrid (working on location and from home). Physical activity levels and sedentary behavior before and during the pandemic were asked. Logistic generalized estimating equations adjusted for demographic/work/health covariates were used to study the association of work situation with physical activity and sedentary behavior.

Results Home workers were less likely to meet the recommended ≥150 minutes/week of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity activity during the pandemic than location workers [odds ratio (OR) 0.93, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.90–0.96] and more likely to be less physically active than before the pandemic (OR 1.09, 95% CI 1.04–1.14). Furthermore, compared to location workers, home and hybrid workers were more likely to be more sedentary (sitting ≥8 hours/day) on workdays during than before the pandemic (OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.39–1.64/1.36–1.68, respectively).

Conclusions Compared to location workers, home workers (and to a lesser extent hybrid workers) were more often physically inactive and sedentary during than before the COVID-19 pandemic. As a substantial part of the working population may continue to work (partly) from home after the pandemic, workers should be supported to increase activity and reduce sitting while working from home.

This article refers to the following text of the Journal: 2021;47(8):619-627
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