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

Rudnicka, Anna; Cook, Dave; Cecchinato, Marta; Gould, Sandy; Newbold, Joseph; Cox, Anna; (2022) The end of the active work break? Remote work, sedentariness and the role of technology in creating active break-taking norms. In: Proceedings of the CHIWORK 2022: 2022 Symposium on Human-Computer Interaction for Work. ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Green open access

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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.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: The end of the active work break? Remote work, sedentariness and the role of technology in creating active break-taking norms
Event: CHIWORK 2022: 2022 Symposium on Human-Computer Interaction for Work
Location: Durham, NH, USA
Dates: 8th-9th June 2022
ISBN-13: 9781450396554
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1145/3533406.3533409
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1145/3533406.3533409
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Keywords: Sedentariness, active breaks, break-taking, remote work, working from home, Covid-19, pandemic
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > UCL Interaction Centre
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10158756
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