The end of the active work break? Remote work, sedentariness and the role of technology in creating active break-taking norms

Anna Rudnicka, Dave Cook, Marta E. Cecchinato, Sandy J. J. Gould, Joseph W. Newbold, Anna L. Cox

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

Excessive sedentariness can impair workers' health and productivity. The move to working from home as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic eliminated many workday opportunities for physical activity. This, coupled with a blurring of boundaries between work and non-work periods, put many at risk of overwork and musculoskeletal issues. We examined how the sudden transition to working from home influenced people's ability to take physically active work breaks. We found that the absence of social norms associated with the presence of colleagues in the work environment left workers uncertain about whether and when it is appropriate to take breaks. The pressure to demonstrate productivity while working asynchronously led to increased sedentariness and decreased break-taking. We propose that online tools that promote flexible social norms around break-taking could empower remote workers to incorporate regular physical activity into their days, without compromising the beneficial aspects of asynchronous working.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHIWORK 2022
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 1st Annual Meeting of the Symposium on Human-Computer Interaction for Work
EditorsAndrew L. Kun, Orit Shaer, Susanne Boll, Sarah Fox, Noopur Raval, Max L. Wilson
Place of PublicationNew York, US
PublisherACM
Pages1-13
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781450396554
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022
Event1st Annual Meeting of the Symposium on Human-Computer Interaction for Work, CHIWORK 2022 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: 8 Jun 20229 Jun 2022

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series

Conference

Conference1st Annual Meeting of the Symposium on Human-Computer Interaction for Work, CHIWORK 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online
Period8/06/229/06/22

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