Research team launches survey to understand changes in workforce wellbeing during lockdown

23 June 2020

Researchers from the University of Derby and University of Nottingham have launched the first research project focusing on those who have had to transition to home working, as a consequence of the lockdown measures in the UK.

The group are calling for all UK-based individuals who have had to start working or studying from home since the lockdown was imposed on 23 March, to take part in the research.

The longitudinal study aims to understand the consequences of adjusting to new work environments and conditions, with a particular focus on three aspects of wellbeing – diet, exercise, and mental health – and their effects on work productivity.

Since these areas of wellbeing have been associated with increased work satisfaction and productivity, there is a need to understand how these are affected when a major incidence, such as COVID-19, changes work practices and everyday behaviours.

Dr Maratos, Associate Professor and Reader in Emotion Science at the University of Derby, said: “Substantial changes in working conditions, as well as stringent social restrictions, are likely to impact upon all aspects of an individual’s life. As such, it is extremely important to understand what behaviours and indices of well-being have changed due to COVID-19, and how.

“Knowing this will not only allow for the screening of certain factors that predict productivity and behaviour change, but also potentially help inform the develop of interventions to aid individuals during this and future crises.”

The online survey asks questions regarding changes in eating habits, physical activity patterns, mental health status, and coping mechanisms while remote-working.

An added goal of the longitudinal project is to identify aspects of wellbeing that can predict better physical and psychosocial recovery and return to normalcy when the lockdown is lifted.

Abigail Tronco, a PhD candidate in the School of Health Sciences at University of Nottingham, added: “These unprecedented circumstances have led to a sudden, sharp increase in the number of people working from home. This has important implications both for employers who are trying to remotely manage a workforce, as well as for the employees whose wellbeing may be affected by the sudden change in work environment and by a potential lack of support.

“These people are a pillar of any economy, and yet very little research has so far focused on this demographic compared to, for example, essential workers. We need to understand how they are responding – physically, psychologically, emotionally – to the current circumstances in order to help them cope and recover.”

The main survey takes 15-20 min to complete and respondents are invited to register for a shorter follow-up survey once lockdown restrictions are eased. There is also an option to write a short text so that researchers can explore aspects of wellbeing and work productivity that might have been missed by the questionnaires.

Anyone over the age of 18 and based in the UK who is currently working from home is invited to take part. 

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