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Working-from-home persistently influences sleep and physical activity 2 years after the Covid-19 pandemic onset: a longitudinal sleep tracker and electronic diary-based study

Massar et al., Frontiers in Psychology, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1145893
May 2023  
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Analysis of 225 adults in Singapore showing working from home associated with lower physical activity (as measured by step count) during August 2021 - January 2022.
Massar et al., 5 May 2023, Singapore, peer-reviewed, mean age 35.5, 8 authors, study period August 2021 - January 2022. Contact: michael.chee@nus.edu.sg.
This PaperExerciseAll
Working-from-home persistently influences sleep and physical activity 2 years after the Covid-19 pandemic onset: a longitudinal sleep tracker and electronic diary-based study
Stijn A A Massar, Ju Lynn Ong, Teyang Lau, Ben K L Ng, Lit Fai Chan, Daphne Koek, Karen Cheong, Michael W L Chee
Frontiers in Psychology, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1145893
Objective: Working from home (WFH) has become common place since the Covid-19 pandemic. Early studies observed population-level shifts in sleep patterns (later and longer sleep) and physical activity (reduced PA), during home confinement. Other studies found these changes to depend on the proportion of days that individuals WFH (vs. work from office; WFO). Here, we examined the effects of WFH on sleep and activity patterns in the transition to normality during the later stages of the Covid-19 pandemic (Aug 2021-Jan 2022). Methods: Two-hundred and twenty-five working adults enrolled in a public health study were followed for 22 weeks. Sleep and activity data were collected with a consumer fitness tracker (Fitbit Versa 2). Over three 2-week periods (Phase 1/week 1-2: August 16-29, 2021; Phase 2/week 11-12: October 25-November 7, 2021; Phase 3/week 21-22: January 3-16, 2022), participants provided daily Fitbit sleep and activity records. Additionally, they completed daily phone-based ecological momentary assessment (EMA), providing ratings of sleep quality, wellbeing (mood, stress, motivation), and information on daily work arrangements (WFH, WFO, no work). Work arrangement data were used to examine the effects of WFH vs. WFO on sleep, activity, and wellbeing. Results: The proportion of WFH vs. WFO days fluctuated over the three measurement periods, mirroring evolving Covid restrictions. Across all three measurement periods WFH days were robustly associated with later bedtimes (+14.7 min), later wake times (+42.3 min), and longer Total Sleep Time (+20.2 min), compared to WFO days. Sleep efficiency was not affected. WFH was further associated with lower daily step count than WFO (-2,471 steps/day). WFH was associated with higher wellbeing ratings compared to WFO for those participants who had no children. However, for participants with children, these differences were not present. Conclusion: Pandemic-initiated changes in sleep and physical activity were sustained during the later stage of the pandemic. These changes could have longer term effects, and conscious effort is encouraged to harness the benefits (i.e., longer sleep), and mitigate the pitfalls (i.e., less physical activity). These
Ethics statement This study involving human participants was reviewed and approved by The National Healthcare Group Domain Specific Review Board. The participants provided their written informed consent to participate in this study. Author contributions SM and JO have written the manuscript and have analysed the data. TL has analyzed the data. BN, LC, DK, and KC have coordinated the study. MC has provided supervision and has reviewed the manuscript. All authors contributed to the article and approved the submitted version. Conflict of interest The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. Publisher's note All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher. Supplementary material The Supplementary material for this article can be found online at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1145893/ full#supplementary-material
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