‘The less you sit, the better’

| Michaela Nesvarova

How much do we sit when working from home? Probably more than usual, but nobody knows for sure – yet. UT researchers from the department of Psychology, Health & Technology are starting a study among university employees to see how working from home impacts their ‘sitting time’ and what could be done to reduce it.

For this new study UT employees are asked to share their experiences about working from home due to the COVID-19 regulations. The primary question is how much and how people sit in their home offices.

‘We have a lot of information on occupational sitting behavior in normal offices, but we know almost nothing about working from home,’ says Master student Gerko Schaap, who is conducting the study together with researchers Christina Bode and Erik Taal, all from the department of Psychology, Health & Technology at the UT. ‘We assume that people sit more these days, because they can’t walk to colleagues’ or get a coffee, but we don’t have any data to confirm it yet.’

If we indeed do sit more nowadays, it is certainly not good for us, explains Schaap. ‘Prolonged sitting has been linked to detrimental health effects. The less you sit, the better. However, a lot of people don’t know of these risks and they don’t think of how much they sit. They might even think they are physically active enough, but exercising is not the same. You can be very physically active and still sit too much.’

The researchers are therefore aiming to get a good overview of how UT employees work from home, how they have set up their home offices and how much time they spend in their chairs. The next step is to identify possibilities to reduce worktime sitting. ‘The plan is to explore opportunities to sit less and eventually design interventions for that,’ says Schaap.

The study will be going on for the next three weeks. It addresses UT employees who are appointed for at least 32 hours per week and who now have to work from home. It is possible to fill in the questionnaire here. The results should be available in the end of August.

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