Working From Home During a Pandemic: Investigation of the Impact of COVID-19 on Employee Health and Productivity

J Occup Environ Med. 2021 Sep 1;63(9):731-741. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000002277.


Objective: To determine ergonomic problems when working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic with regard to musculoskeletal pain, sleep conditions, physical activity, resting, equipment, and productivity.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, office workers who switched to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic participated in an online survey (n = 194). The data were interpreted using descriptive and multivariate regression analysis.

Results: A significant increase in back pain was revealed (P < 0.001). Significant weight gain was observed (P < 0.001) connected to a decrease in physical activity and an increase in the consumption of junk food. Despite the negative health impact, participants self-reported an increase in productivity.

Conclusion: The self-reported productivity was higher during the working from home, but a declining trend in employee health can be observed including low back pain and weight gain.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Occupational Health*
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2