Sarnosky, Kamrie (2019-11). The Transition to a Home Workforce: An Analysis of Disaster Recovery, Sedentary Behavior, and Air Quality. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon

abstract

  • Across business sectors and industries, modern technology has allowed for the shift of employees from the traditional, commercial building office space to a workforce that can support business continuity from virtually anywhere. Employees are increasingly choosing to work from home, foregoing the traditional office space in exchange for less traffic, more flexibility, and autonomy. Less overhead cost for real estate is a strong business case for companies, however, the health implications of this shift is largely unknown. This research aimed to assess the potential public health implications of remote working to help companies form remote working policies that are the best fit for the health and productivity of their employees. The ability to remote work helps business continuity following disasters. Computer use metrics collected by an ergonomic software were used as a measurement of productivity in employees displaced after Hurricane Harvey. An interrupted time series analysis was conducted to determine if there was a significant impact on computer use while the employees were displaced. This study found that while there was a significant impact on computer use metrics immediately following the disaster, employees were able to return to their baseline productivity within 45 working days despite not having access to a traditional meeting space. Remote working changes the environment that the employee spends most of their time in. Office work has previously been associated with sedentary behavior. Accelerometers were used to assess the differences in behaviors between individuals in a traditional office and those that work from home. Despite the difference in built environment between the two spaces, this study found that there was not a statistically significant difference in sedentary behaviors between the two cohorts. The General Duty Clause requires employers to provide a work environment free of hazards, therefore, they regularly maintain their air conditioning systems and often attain certificate programs to optimize their air quality. This study assessed the differences in pollutant levels of total volatile organic compounds, carbon dioxide, and particulate matter in home office spaces and in traditional office buildings. All pollutant levels were significantly higher in the home than in the traditional office space. This suggests that home office employees could be exposed to more pollutants while working from home than they would in a traditional office space. Our research suggests that remote working policies can support company resiliency in the event of a disaster. However, health implications of sedentary behavior and increased pollutants should be kept in mind while designing policies.

publication date

  • December 2019
  • December 2019
  • December 2019
  • December 2019
  • November 2019
  • December 2019
  • December 2019