During the COVID-19 pandemic, many have been those who have tried, for the first time, the experience of telecommuting or work from home. There were doubts about whether the productivity of the workers or the resilience of the company would be affected by the lack of attendance. The answer is no, and both of these factors can be improved by working remotely, especially during a disaster like the coronavirus pandemic or other types of events that cause workplace displacement.
This is the conclusion of a study led by a research team from the Texas A&M University School of Public Health (USA) that found that the resilience of employees and the company can be improved through remote work.
Less productivity when teleworking? Do not
The researchers evaluated the productivity of employees during Hurricane Harvey -whose floods forced remote work-, but it is something that can be extrapolated to any situation that forces the workspace to be moved to another place. Thus, the study evaluated the technological data of employees before, during and after Hurricane Harvey (of 2017), considered to be the strongest hurricane and with the most material damage in Texas. It was the first storm of such intensity to hit the United States since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
The study found that employee and company resilience “can be enhanced” through remote work during natural disasters and other events that trigger such displacement.
“In the future, there will be a higher percentage of the workforce that will be involved in some form of office-style technology work activities,” said Marx Benden, director of the school’s Center for Ergonomics and co-author of the paper published in Work magazine. . “ Almost all of the studio employees went back to the same level of production they had before Hurricane Harvey. This is a great message right now for employers because we’re having national discussions about whether or not employees should be able to work remotely or on a hybrid schedule.”
This study is important as it delves into the world of information workers, who make up nearly two-thirds of a company’s workforce and are becoming more accustomed to working remotely due to the pandemic.
The study went beyond evaluating productivity to examine the causes of workplace injuries. They found that it was important for employees to take regular breaks to avoid getting injured on the job.
“Research shows that if you work a little less or a little less often, split up the duration, and change your posture, you’re less likely to develop a problem doing your office work,” Benden says. “People who took the recommended breaks were more productive overall. They did more things .”
Reference: Sarnosky, Kamrie | Benden, Mark | Sansom, Garetta | Cizmas, Leslie Regan, Annette K.; Impact of workplace displacement during a natural disaster on computer performance metrics: A 2-year interrupted time series analysis. Work, vol. 71, no. 2, p. 465-470, 2022 DOI: 10.3233/WOR-210707