Read about how we developed the eWork Radio browser application
Nearly 500 participants contributed to our research on remote working
In spring 2020, an unprecedented number of people suddenly moved to remote working, many of them with little to no previous experience of working from home. This happened as a result of the nationwide lockdown restrictions taking place in many countries, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
From the early days of these lockdowns, we studied that impact that the shift to home-working has had on people who previously worked in offices. So far, we have surveyed nearly 500 participants from the UK and beyond, and provided them with personalised work-life-balance recommendations. We also conducted follow-up interviews with 25 respondents.
This data collection exercise allowed us to achieve an in-depth understanding of the problems that new remote workers are faced with. Some of the most common included:
- A lack of distinction between work and personal time
- Back and neck pain and other physical problems due to increased sedentary time
- Loss of opportunity to relax, exercise and disconnect during the commute
- Working in long blocks of time, without the breaks that used to happen naturally while working in the office
- Loss of the many opportunities for physical activity during the workday, like going out to buy lunch or walking to a photocopier
In sum, we found that, rather than being more relaxed while working from home, many people worked longer hours, with few breaks. The situation was particularly challenging for those with caring responsibilities, who found themselves in an endless marathon of work tasks and home duties, with little to no rest.
Your responses helped us create eWork Remote Work Radio
Based on these findings, we set out to design an accessible online tool that could be widely used by home workers and help them take more breaks during their workdays. When working from home, away from one’s colleagues, it can be easy to forget to take breaks, or even to feel like we should always be online and available. However, taking breaks throughout the day is crucial not only for achieving a better work-life balance but also for physical health, as stepping away from the desk on a regular basis helps prevent excessive periods of sitting which can be associated with negative health outcomes.
This is why we created eWork Remote Work Radio – a browser app that uses music to help you balance periods of work and periods of rest. You can help us trial this app simply by creating an account and using the app when you work, for as long as you wish.
A team of researchers developed this project: Professor Anna Cox, Dr Sandy Gould, Dr Joseph Newbold, Dr Marta Cecchinato, Dr Anna Rudnicka and Dave Cook.