A team of 5 researchers from the Ergonomic Center in Houston, Texas, worked with a large energy company to monitor the ergonomics of 264 employees annually. During the study period, however, the company was forced to close its offices due to the arrival of Hurricane Harvey, and required employees to switch to remote work.
Researchers took advantage of the unexpected to compare employee technology data before, during and after the hurricane.
And do you know what they found?
During the hurricane, employee work behaviors did not change much, apart from a slight decline in computer use. In the seven months of remote work, employee productivity levels remained the same as before the hurricane. Which means, in a nutshell, that productivity for the same time is even higher.
This study, published in IOS Press (I'll put it here), offers important insights to different categories of workers, first of all those in the IT sector, increasingly interested in working remotely after the arrival of Covid and its social consequences between Yolo Economy e Great resignation.
"In the future, more and more tech workers will be doing their jobs remotely," he says Mark Benden, the director of the Ergonomics Center. "This study is a huge message to employers, and it needs to make them think a lot about whether employees want to work remotely or with hybrid scheduling."
Information Technology, otherwise wearing
This research is part of a larger project by the Center for Ergonomics to examine the health of IT workers. While computer work may seem less tiring than blue-collar work, it is just as dangerous. "Research says that if you work a certain way at a certain pace for a certain length of time, you're more likely to have big problems with remote work, too," says Benden. Carpal tunnel syndrome, for example: deadly.
Managing your time better is good for the mind and body: anyone who has been able to grasp the opportunity of remote work in a virtuous way knows this well. In this study, the researchers observed that breaks do not hinder the quality of employees' work.
People who have been able to take the right breaks have been more productive overall. They did more. We must make it clear to those in charge, and help more and more workers to do the same.
Remote work: It's not all plain sailing, of course
Virtuous remote work, it was said, improves life and work itself. And the "non-virtuous" one? The damage also ceases for remote workers, between depression and the risk of abuse (food and alcohol above all).
The Ergonomic Center also posed this question: "We could help workers. Instead of letting them get lost in bad postures or bad habits, we could give them a healthy nudge, to remind them that it's time for a walk or a break", Benden said. "As humans we tend to lose track of time when we are very focused. To keep ourselves from getting too worn we need to have pushes and reminders. They work, and people respond well."
Is there a further intent? Don't know, such as tracking actual remote work (which would make workers prisoners in their own homes)? I don't know, I can't know, I don't want to know. I'll think about it.