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Home Office, Health Behavior and Workplace Health Promotion of Employees in the Telecommunications Sector during the Pandemic

Authors:
  • Hungarian University of Sports Science
  • Hungarian University of Physical Education and Sports Science

Abstract and Figures

Our study aims to present the perception and experiences of employees at a large multinational telecommunications company in Hungary working in home offices, as well as their health behavior and the workplace health promotion during the SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19 outbreak. The sample consisted of the full sample of highly skilled employees at a large telecommunication multinational company (N = 46). Throughout the analysis, tests for homogeneity of variance were followed by a MANOVA test to compare the groups’ means by gender, age, and job classification. The results clearly show that in the short term, workers’ mental health did not deteriorate, they do not argue or fight more with their partners and are no more depressed or irritable than before. Workers are less likely to think of ways to be more effective at work than in a home office. Similarly, they do not think that employers have more expectations than before the pandemic. Our research shows the assumption about home workers being less efficient or less diligent in their daily work to be false. A supportive and flexible employer approach to health-conscious employees will be an essential aspect in the future.
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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 11424. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191811424 www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph
Article
Home Office, Health Behavior and Workplace Health
Promotion of Employees in the Telecommunications Sector
during the Pandemic
Zoltán Tánczos
1,
*, Borbála Bernadett Zala
2
, Zsolt Szakály
3
, László Tóth
4
and József Bognár
5
1
Department of Recreation, Hungarian University of Sports Science, H-1123 Budapest, Hungary
2
Doctoral School of Sports Sciences, Hungarian University of Sports Science, H-1123 Budapest, Hungary
3
Faculty of Health and Sports Sciences, Széchenyi István University, H-9024 Győr, Hungary
4
Department of Psychology and Sport Psychology, Hungarian University of Sports Science,
H-1123 Budapest, Hungary
5
Institute of Sport Science, Eszterházy Károly Catholic University, H-3300 Eger, Hungary
* Correspondence: tanczos.zoltan@tf.hu; Tel.: +36-20-476-2397
Abstract: Our study aims to present the perception and experiences of employees at a large multi-
national telecommunications company in Hungary working in home offices, as well as their health
behavior and the workplace health promotion during the SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19 outbreak. The
sample consisted of the full sample of highly skilled employees at a large telecommunication mul-
tinational company (N = 46). Throughout the analysis, tests for homogeneity of variance were fol-
lowed by a MANOVA test to compare the groups’ means by gender, age, and job classification. The
results clearly show that in the short term, workers’ mental health did not deteriorate, they do not
argue or fight more with their partners and are no more depressed or irritable than before. Workers
are less likely to think of ways to be more effective at work than in a home office. Similarly, they do
not think that employers have more expectations than before the pandemic. Our research shows the
assumption about home workers being less efficient or less diligent in their daily work to be false.
A supportive and flexible employer approach to health-conscious employees will be an essential
aspect in the future.
Keywords: work health promotion; fitness; mental health and wellness in home office; multina-
tional companies
1. Introduction
The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic has shaken the foundations of the global
economy, bringing along serious individual, social and economic consequences [1]. In this
situation, the labor market also had to react to the evolving environmental, societal, and
personal challenges [2]. In times of contagious illnesses, home quarantine can be the first
line of defense—for individuals and society alike [3].
It is well-known that quarantine has a rather negative impact on human relation-
ships, health behavior and well-being and can cause psychological and mental issues such
as irritability, insomnia, fear, and anxiety or concentration problems [4–6]. The COVID-
19 pandemic changed daily routine, quality of life and way of work completely and glob-
ally [7]. According to restrictions, home quarantine had been enforced and their impact
on adults’ health behavior, emotional and mental health, and well-being remain mainly
undefined [8,9].
Even if the rate of home office workers has been typically high during the outbreak,
there are significant differences among industrial sectors [10]. Experiences show that
highly educated white-collar workers with high income were more likely to shift to
Citation: Tánczos, Z.; Zala, B.B.;
Szakály, Z.; Tóth, L.; Bognár, J.
Home Office, Health Behavior and
Workplace Health Promotion of
Employees in the
Telecommunications Sector during
the Pandemic. Int. J. Environ. Res.
Public Health 2022, 19, 11424. https://
doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191811424
Academic Editor: Paul B.
Tchounwou
Received: 18 July 2022
Accepted: 6 September 2022
Published: 10 September 2022
Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neu-
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Copyright: © 2022 by the authors. Li-
censee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
This article is an open access article
distributed under the terms and con-
ditions of the Creative Commons At-
tribution (CC BY) license (https://cre-
ativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 11424 2 of 12
working from home and maintain employment after the pandemic [11]. Working in home
offices can generally benefit work efficiency; however, if the current situation persists for
a longer period, it can unequivocally hinder private life, quality of life and relationships
[12].
Shortly after COVID-19 restrictions, worsening health status, well-being and quality
of life were observed, but focusing on healthy, active living on a daily basis had benefits
for those working from home [13]. Employees switching to remote work believe that it
will remain more common at their company even after the COVID-19 crisis [14]. In Hun-
gary, the rate of remote work was 27.75% during the first wave of the pandemic [15].
1.1. Theoretical Background
The hedonic viewpoint on well-being, focusing on subjective well-being, is fre-
quently equated with happiness and formally defined as having more positive effects and
leading to greater life satisfaction [16]. The eudemonic viewpoint, in contrast, emphasizes
psychological wellbeing, which is more broadly outlined in terms of a fully functioning
person, and is operationalized either as a set of six dimensions [17], happiness plus mean-
ingfulness [18], or as a set of wellness variables such as self-actualization and vitality [19].
Self-determination theory (STD) [19] is another perspective that has embraced the
concept of eudemonia, or self-realization, as a core aspect of well-being. It attempted to
specify what it meant to actualize the self and the way it can be best accomplished. Spe-
cifically, SDT suggests three basic psychological needs—autonomy, competence, and re-
latedness—and theorizes that the fulfilment of these needs is essential for psychological
growth (e.g., intrinsic motivation), integrity (e.g., internalization and assimilation of cul-
tural practices), and well-being (e.g., life satisfaction and psychological health), as well as
experiences of vitality [20] and self-congruence [21].
SDT provides the concepts that guide the creation of policies, practices, and environ-
ments that promote both wellness and high-quality performance [22]. SDT most often
considers seven aspirations that people may be pursuing as important over their lifetimes:
financial wealth, recognition or fame, attractive image, personal development, meaning-
ful relationships, community contributions, and physical fitness. Empirically, these aspi-
rations revolve around two factors referred to as extrinsic aspirations and intrinsic aspi-
rations. Research has also shown that when people place relatively strong importance on
the extrinsic aspirations, and when they attain the extrinsic aspirations they desire, they
tend to show signs of psychological ill-being, such as depression, anxiety, and low self-
esteem, whereas when they pursue and attain intrinsic aspirations, they tend to show in-
dications of psychological well-being, such as high self-actualization and self-esteem [23].
1.2. Health Behaviour and Workplace Health Promotion in Times of Pandemic
To respond to the pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has proposed
new guidelines on health and physical activity to avoid sedentary behavior and empha-
size the importance of regular physical activity as a means to maintain lifelong health and
overall well-being [24]. From the beginning of the millennium, changes in values, inactive
lifestyle and the lack of health awareness have had a negative impact in terms of health
and societal consequences for a large part of society [25].
Regular physical activity can be a useful means to preventing non-communicable
diseases [26], and also can lower the level of depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline.
Hence, the role of healthy active living is of high importance during pandemic situations
[27]. Quarantine caused major interruption in quality of life and health behavior, which
could result in increased intake of energy [28]. Altogether, these unhealthy behaviors neg-
atively affect body weight, wellbeing, and also employee’s psychological and mental state.
Increased office workload generally hinders employees from maintaining optimal
health behavior, so employers play a crucial role in developing and promoting overall
health [29]. Employees consider worksite wellness as a valuable employee benefit, but are
dissatisfied with the wellness offerings their employers provide [30]. Supports offered by
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 11424 3 of 12
employers should target the needs and interests of the specific type of work and workforce
[31].
To manage the risk of COVID-19s spread, the fact that many employees were re-
quired to stay at home triggered teleworking practices. Telework proved to be the best
solution to maintain the company’s operations while ensuring employees’ health and
safety during the pandemic and securing an income for those in quarantine [3]. However,
teleworking might result in employees working more because work–life boundaries are
still blurred [32–34]. It can furthermore have a negative impact on employees’ mental and
physical health [32–34], associated with a high risk of psychological distress and depres-
sion. Being away from both workplace and colleagues can make the employee feel isolated
[35].
1.3. Purpose of Study
Businesses in the communication and telecommunication sector are more likely to
support their employees’ health promotion with sports opportunities, improving fitness
and health status or team-building activities. Employers believe that investing in occupa-
tional health promotion pays off in the long term as well-organized programs improve
performance, boost morale and employee loyalty, which helps to retain a high-quality
workforce in the long time [36].
Working from home can enhance flexibility; however, it comes with various chal-
lenges that have been substantially exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The level
of these challenges is affected by gender, age, and job classification. As evident in health
and work efficiency and affected by gender, age, and job classification [37]. It is known
that sleeping disorders, work-related stress [38] and negative social practices has been
proved as a consequence of teleworking [39]. Indeed, it can also certainly contribute to
chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and hypertension [40].
However, as working from home for several months is unprecedented in our lives as em-
ployees, we can assume that this new situation might bring significant changes in work
quality of life [41]. There is little research available on how employees in the telecommu-
nication sector perceive their health status, quality of life quarantine and psychological
well-being in Hungarian companies. The citizens’ need for telecommunication services
generally strengthen during COVID and so the sector demonstrated different psycholog-
ical, behavioral and work-related characteristics as compared to other sectors [42]. So,
there is a need to further specify how the telecommunication sector copes with these chal-
lenges to behavior, psychological issues and working conditions. Consequently, the re-
search question of the study is: what did the health-related characteristics of the employ-
ees of a telecommunication company demonstrate during the pandemic?
Hence, the purpose of this study was to demonstrate the perception and experience
of employees at a large telecommunications company on health behavior and occupa-
tional health promotion while working from home during the SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19
pandemic. Major emphasis was placed on assessing the differences in attitudes to health,
fitness and mental condition by gender, age, and job classification.
1.4. Hypotheses
It was assumed that employees of telecommunication sector working from home
would demonstrate:
1. mainly positive health status and behavior,
2. a relatively positive emotional and mental state,
3. a clear expectation in workplace health promotion;
4. background variables (gender, age, and job classification) demonstrate meaningful
differences in the results.
2. Materials and Methods
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 11424 4 of 12
2.1. Sampling
Our sample was provided by a domestic affiliate of one of the largest international
telecommunication companies in Hungary with 100 full-time employees, who regularly
do office work but could also choose flexible work schedules even before the pandemic.
The company provided a maximum of 4 days per month to the workers in the home office.
Employees had the opportunity to work from home one day a week at their discretion.
This opportunity was used by only 20% of the employees regularly, while 40% chose to
work from home occasionally. Thus, long-term remote work, which was introduced dur-
ing the pandemic, was unprecedented for the majority of the employees.
During the pandemic, all employees were working from home. The aim was to in-
clude every employee of the company but out of the total of 100, 46 workers answered all
our questions voluntarily, and so were included in this study. The willingness of partici-
pation showed a similar tendency as in other international research, which remained close
to 50% [43]. All of them had long-term contracts, were full-time workers and Hungarian
citizens. The age range was between 20 and 57 years (M = 40.26 ± 10.52). For comparative
analyses, the sample was divided by age (employees under and above 35 years), gender
(19 female and 27 male) and job classification (38 employees or trainees, and 8 middle or
top managers).
2.2. Measures
For the research, the cross-sectional research design was selected. This design enables
us to analyze both the outcome and the exposures at the same time, and the small sample
sizes have little effect on the results. The study was conducted as a pilot study for large-
sample research. Data were collected through a questionnaire focusing on the level of
agreement with attitude-related statements, using a 4-point Likert scale, where 1 denoted
the lowest and 4 the highest level of agreement with the statements. We used the validated
WHO Quality of Life (WHOQOL-BREF) questionnaire as a framework, which measures
the quality of life. The questionnaire was modified to measure the workers’ quality of life
in a quarantine situation and how the workplace can support its employees during the
time of a pandemic. The data was collected during April 2020. The 36 questions encom-
passed home office (n = 23), workplace health promotion (n = 3) and health behavior (n =
10), with value 1 representing total disagreement and value 4 meaning total agreement.
The questionnaire was filled voluntarily by 46 employees out of the total 100 workers of
the examined unit.
2.3. Data Analysis
Data analysis was carried out with the IBM SPSS Statistics 22.0 software. Each item
of the questionnaire was explored by descriptive statistics, presented in mean (M) and
standard deviation (SD). For analyzing subscales, items were set in the identical direction,
so that a higher score meant a healthier behavior. Responses of items in each subscale
were summed. Effects of background factors (age groups, gender, and job classification)
were analyzed using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), regarding only the
main effect. The significance level was set at p = 0.05, but tendencies were also considered
at p < 0.1.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 11424 5 of 12
3. Results
3.1. Sample Characteristics
We aimed to target the particularities under quarantine (nutrition and stimulants un-
der quarantine and work, emotional and mental effects, fitness, and health) (Tables 1–4),
general health behaviors (Table 5), workplace health promotion (Table 6), and differences
by gender, age, and positions (Tables 7–9). The overall internal consistency of the 36-item
questionnaire was acceptable (Cronbach’s Alpha = 0.623).
From the statements on nutrition and substance abuse (Table 1), most respondents
ranked “In home office, I eat healthier than before” highly (M = 2.80 ± 0.91), in the 1st
place. Also, coffee and alcohol consumption, as well as smoking, have not increased much
during quarantine.
Table 1. Nutrition and substance use during quarantine (N = 46).
Statement Ranking Min Max Mean SD
In home office, I eat healthier than before 1 1 4 2.80 0.91
In quarantine, I consume more coffee and/or stimulants than before 2 1 4 1.66 0.82
In quarantine, I consume more alcohol than before 3 1 3 1.54 0.64
In quarantine, I smoke more than before 4 1 2 1.17 0.38
From the responses on home office during quarantine (Table 2), “Working in home
office is suitable for me” (M = 3.13 ± 0.65) and “Quarantine is easy for me and is not a
major problem” (M = 3.04 ± 0.76) were highly ranked. Employees do not think they would
work more efficiently at the workplace than from home (M = 2.00 ± 0.87); similarly, they
do not believe that expectations towards them would be higher than before the pandemic
(M = 1.98 ± 0.80).
Table 2. Working in quarantine (N = 46).
Statement Ranking Min Max Mean SD
Working in home office is suitable for me 1 2 4 3.13 0.65
Quarantine is easy for me and is not a major problem 2 1 4 3.04 0.76
I think quarantine is tolerable in the long term 3 1 4 2.67 1.03
More weekly overtime and longer working hours in quarantine 4 1 4 2.50 0.89
I think I work more efficiently at my workplace than in home office 5 1 4 2.00 0.87
More/greater expectations in quarantine than before 6 1 4 1.98 0.80
On the emotional impact side, it should be highlighted that employees are missing
their life from before the pandemic (M = 2.41 ± 0.91). In addition, they are not bored, their
mental health does not deteriorate, they do not argue or fight more with their partners,
and they are not more depressed or irritable than before.
Table 3. Emotional and mental characteristics in quarantine (N = 46).
Statement Ranking Min Max Mean SD
I miss my old life 1 1 4 2.41 0.91
I feel duller and lazier in quarantine 2 1 4 1.72 0.81
I am more irritable and stressed in quarantine than before 3 1 4 1.65 0.82
I feel more depressed in quarantine than before 4 1 3 1.61 0.71
In quarantine, my partner and I argue more easily and more of-
ten, and we may even fight 5 1 3 1.57 0.65
In quarantine, I think my mental state is deteriorating 6 1 3 1.48 0.66
I often get bored in quarantine; I find it hard to tie myself down 7 1 3 1.48 0.69
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 11424 6 of 12
Among answers related to fitness and health in quarantine, the highest-ranked is “I
can keep my life organized even in quarantine” (M = 3.07 ± 0.74). It can be stated that
respondents do not suffer from joint pain, do not think they will gain weight, do not par-
ticipate in less sport than before and their fitness is not deteriorating.
Table 4. Fitness and health in quarantine (N = 46).
Statement Ranking Min Max Mean SD
I can keep my life organized even in quarantine 1 1 4 3.07 0.74
I spend more time sleeping in quarantine 2 1 4 2.20 1.07
The quarantine will certainly reduce my fitness level 3 1 4 1.93 0.98
I do less sport in quarantine than before 4 1 4 1.91 0.91
In quarantine, I will most probably gain weight, I am going
to be fatter 5 1 4 1.67 0.84
My joints (spine, back, waist, hips, and other orthopedic
complaints) hurt more in quarantine 6 1 4 1.59 0.75
The everyday health behavior of workers is characterized by avoidance of harmful
addictions (M = 3.35 ± 0.95), they generally feel well (M = 3.30 ± 0.70), take care of their
health (M = 3.15 ± 0.67), are motivated to do sports (M = 3.11 ± 0.8) and enjoy their work
in general (M = 3.02 ± 0.58). However, buying food based on price is ranked low (M = 2.09
± 0.69).
Table 5. Health behavior in everyday life (N = 46).
Statement Ranking Min Max Mean SD
I usually avoid harmful addictions 1 1 4 3.35 0.95
I usually feel well 2 1 4 3.30 0.70
I usually take care of my health 3 1 4 3.15 0.67
I am usually motivated to do sports 4 1 4 3.11 0.88
I usually enjoy my work 5 1 4 3.02 0.58
I usually lead a physically active and sporty lifestyle 6 1 4 2.93 0.83
I usually pick groceries based on their ingredients 7 1 4 2.89 0.88
I usually have enough free time 8 1 4 2.61 0.88
There are sports facilities in my home (gym, garden, large ter-
race, sports court, swimming pool) 9 1 4 2.39 1.20
I usually pick groceries based on their price 10 1 3 2.09 0.69
Respondents think their workplace is open to health promotion (M = 3.26 ± 0.61).
However, employee workload is at the medium level (M = 2.65 ± 0.77) and so is the moti-
vation in participating in fitness assessments (M = 2.54 ± 0.91).
Table 6. Workplace health promotion (N = 46).
Statement Ranking Min Max Mean SD
I think the management of my workplace is open to setting
up and running an internal health promotion team 1 1 4 3.26 0.61
At my workplace workload management (e.g., deadlines,
pace of work, workload) helps optimize the workload of em-
ployees
2 1 4 2.65 0.77
I would happily participate in a repeated, extended fitness as-
sessment 3 1 4 2.54 0.91
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 11424 7 of 12
3.2. Differences by Background Factors
Descriptive statistics of the subscales are presented in Table 7.
Table 7. Descriptive statistics of the subscales regarding background factors (mean ± SD).
Sample
(n = 46) Gender Age Position
Sub-Scale
Female
(n = 19)
Male
(n = 27)
<35
(n = 14)
35+
(n = 32)
Employee
(n = 38)
Manager
(n = 8)
Nutrition and substance use
during quarantine 9.49 ± 3.44 9.60 ± 3.33 9.42 ± 3.57 8.17 ± 2.29 10.07 ± 3.73 8.97 ± 3.49 11.86 ± 2.04
Working in quarantine 17.39 ± 2.98 18.27 ± 2.37 16.83 ± 3.23 16.42 ± 2.97 17.82 ± 2.94 17.53 ± 2.94 16.71 ± 3.30
Emotional and mental impacts in
quarantine 22.87 ± 3.71 23.80 ± 2.98 22.29 ± 4.05 21.75 ± 4.05 23.37 ± 3.51 22.97 ± 3.63 22.43 ± 4.32
Fitness and health in quarantine 18.05 ± 2.72 18 ± 2.95 18.08 ± 2.64 18.25 ± 2.38 17.96 ± 2.90 18.13 ± 2.74 17.71 ± 2.81
Health behavior in everyday life 29.56 ± 2.76 29.60 ± 2.67 29.54 ± 2.87 30.42 ± 2.97 29.19 ± 2.63 30.06 ± 2.63 27.29 ± 2.29
Workplace health promotion 8.64 ± 1.37 8.80 ± 1.08 8.54 ± 1.53 8.92 ± 1.51 8.52 ± 1.31 8.50 ± 1.30 9.29 ± 1.60
As the main effect, MANOVA did not show any significant impact of gender and
age; however, these sample groups seems to influence health behavior on a tendency level
(Table 8).
Table 8. Results of the main effect of MANOVA.
MANOVA
Factors df Approx. F Trace Pillai df1 df2 p
Gender 1 0.458 0.084 6 30 0.833
Age 1 0.994 0.166 6 30 0.447
Position 1 2.398 0.324 6 30 0.052
Residuals 35
A tendency was considered, and a univariate analysis of variance was conducted to
reveal the subscales affected by job position (Table 9). Scores for the subscales “Nutrition
and substance use during quarantine” and “Health behavior in everyday life” differed
between the two job positions. Managers scored better in the former, while employees
had higher scores in the latter subscale.
Table 9. Results of analysis of variance.
ANOVA
Sub-Scale df1 df2 F p
Nutrition and substance use during quarantine 1 37 4.412 0.043 1
Working in quarantine 1 37 0.425 0.518
Emotional and mental impacts in quarantine 1 37 0.119 0.732
Fitness and health in quarantine 1 37 0.128 0.723
Health behavior in everyday life 1 37 6.680 0.014 1
Workplace health promotion 1 37 1.946 0.171
1 p < 0.05.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 11424 8 of 12
4. Discussion
Our study found that employees’ perception of the quarantine is less negative than
in some previous research [44]. Respondents typically coped well with working under
quarantine, did not typically experience increased difficulties in health behavior and their
daily routines and lives did not deteriorate significantly. Studies proved that teleworking
has positive aspects, for instance better work–life balance [45], quality of life [46] and also
increased productivity [47].
The health problems associated with quarantine can be characterized by physical and
psychosocial areas [48]. Earlier studies found that there were major negative changes in
nutritional behavior and so body weight during COVID-19 [49]. It is known that sectors
demonstrated differences on how they manage with health and work-related issues dur-
ing the pandemic [50]. According to our findings, employees in this telecommunication
company have not perceived major health problems and harmful addictions were typi-
cally rejected during the pandemic. The company’s employees are mostly forming a pos-
itive, motivated, and passionate community with members mostly free of addictions. This
finding seems to underpin our first hypothesis stating that employees working from home
demonstrate mainly positive health behavior in terms of both nutrition and substance use.
Consistent with self-determination theory, our results support the prevalence of au-
tonomy and competence in our sample during the pandemic. Both personal health behav-
ior and working conditions were perceived positively. Also, negative signs including ill-
being, depression and anxiety were less apparent. Workers demonstrated aspirations
mostly towards personal development and physical fitness.
It can be emphasized that there were no adverse changes in employees’ emotional
and mental state because they seem to be satisfied, motivated and attentive to maintaining
a health-conscious lifestyle. This is further reinforced by the fact that they considered
themselves to be generally attentive to their well-being and health status. The results show
that our second hypothesis about the relatively high level of emotional and mental state
is also justified.
The employees clearly demonstrated trust in the company’s management in the field
of workplace health promotion, which indicates competence and relatedness. It can also
be of importance in this area that the occupational physician regularly checks the health
status of the employees. However, most respondents indicated that they would not be
happy to participate in a health behavior and fitness assessment. That probably means
that employees feel autonomy in setting up and maintaining their health behavior pro-
gram and do not need outside measures. This result supports the third hypothesis, which
stated that employees working from home have a clear expectation of workplace health
promotion programs.
It is important that the workers surveyed in this study generally feel well, take care
of their health, and enjoy their work. Results show that typically positive health behaviors
did not significantly decline during the epidemic. This proves that working from home
can be as good an alternative as working in a traditional workplace. Men, young people,
and employees tend to have more negative experiences and preferences of the epidemic,
which is consistent with previous experience [8,14], as well as with our third hypothesis.
In our fourth hypothesis, it was stated that the background variables (gender, age,
and job classification) would demonstrate meaningful differences. According to our re-
sults, gender and age did not produce significant differences in the results; however, job
position had a slight difference, which might be explained by the unbalanced participa-
tion of managers and employees.
Although working from home can enhance flexibility, it comes with various social
and psychological challenges such as cognitive overload and social isolation [32–34] that
may negatively impact work productivity and well-being [51]. Thus, managers must find
the balance between the work patterns. The sample of this study demonstrated self-reali-
zation to be a key aspect of well-being and quality of life. Autonomy, competence, and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 11424 9 of 12
relatedness [19] were all apparent in the results with a high level of emotional and health-
related stability, integrity, and well-being.
Limitations
It is clear, however, that the workers’ health behavior was generally maintained and
positive and did not significantly deteriorate during the epidemic. When assessing the
results, it should not be overlooked that one telecommunication organization was in-
cluded in this study, with the sample size being relatively low, and the standard devia-
tions being typically high. Hence, our results cannot be generalized to different settings
and a larger population; however, this research can open directions and points of view for
further empirical studies.
5. Conclusions
From the perspective of the limitations and implications of this research, it would
also be worth looking at the long-term risks of introducing home office in the future. Em-
ployees generally believe that telecommunications will play a more important role in the
future as a secure source of income than traditional jobs [52]. Working from home used to
be seen by employers and employees as a privilege that could be given as a reward, which
before the quarantine, was available once a week at the examined telecommunications
company [53]. Although, the changing working environment may lead to long-term
health, mental, emotional, and social challenges.
Our research reveals that the assumption about home workers in this sector demon-
strate mainly positive health status and behavior is acceptable. The workers also demon-
strated an exceptionally positive emotional and mental state. However, it is suggested that
monitoring of health behavior and the psychological and mental state is carried out dur-
ing home office [54]. Our research also revealed that the employees had clear expectations
regarding workplace health promotion. This result can be attributed to the preceding pre-
sent work health promotion and recreational programs at the examined telecommunica-
tions company. It had been proved that a supportive work environment also helps to en-
sure employee’s performance and well-being [55]. The present research also identified
further demands related to the work health promotion programs, such as nutrition, fitness
and time management.
The background variables regarding to gender, age and job classification showed
tendency level differences. Men, workers under 35 and employees seem to be more vul-
nerable to the drastic changes in the working environment. Based on our results, it is rec-
ommended that future work health promotion programs focus on these vulnerable
groups. Larger scale and longitudinal studies could help us better understand the com-
plexity and effects of different aspects and opportunities in employee’s health behavior
and also worksite health promotion programs.
Author Contributions: Conceptualization, J.B. and Z.T.; methodology, L.T., B.B.Z. and Z.T.; formal
analysis, Z.S.; investigation, Z.T. writing—original draft, Z.T.; writing—review and editing, Z.T. and
J.B.; visualization, Z.S.; supervision, J.B. and L.T.; project administration, Z.T. All authors have read
and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.
Funding: The Article Processing Charges (APCs) were covered by the Hungarian University of
Sports Science from the University Research Fund.
Institutional Review Board Statement: Ethical review and approval were waived for this study due
to that the questionnaire was conducted anonymously, online and did not include sensitive infor-
mation.
Informed Consent Statement: Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the
study.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 11424 10 of 12
Data Availability Statement: The data that support the findings of this study are available on re-
quest from the corresponding author, [ZT]. The data are not publicly available due to restrictions;
they are containing information that could compromise the privacy of research participants.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the
design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manu-
script; or in the decision to publish the results.
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Rugalmasság, produktivitás vagy elszigeteltség? Avagy a COVID–19 hatása a felsőoktatásban oktatók munkavégzésére Flexibility, Productivity or Isolation? The Impact of COVID 19 on the Work of Lecturers in Higher Education Jarjabka Ákos PhD, habil. egyetemi docens, Pécsi Tudományegyetem Közgazdaságtudományi Kar jarjabka.akos@ktk.pte.hu Kuráth Gabriella PhD, adjunktus, Pécsi Tudományegyetem Közgazdaságtudományi Kar kurath.gabriella@ktk.pte.hu Sipos Norbert PhD, adjunktus, Pécsi Tudományegyetem Közgazdaságtudományi Kar sipos.norbert@ktk.pte.hu Venczel-Szakó Tímea tanársegéd, Pécsi Tudományegyetem Közgazdaságtudományi Kar szakot@ktk.pte.hu Szabó-Bálint Brigitta tanársegéd, Pécsi Tudományegyetem Közgazdaságtudományi Kar balintb@ktk.pte.hu Balogh Gábor adjunktus, Pécsi Tudományegyetem Közgazdaságtudományi Kar baloghg@ktk.pte.hu Uhrin Anett PhD-hallgató, Pécsi Tudományegyetem Közgazdaságtudományi Kar uhrin.anett@ktk.pte.hu Összefoglalás A felsőoktatás tavaszi átállása kapcsán a digitális/nem jelenléti oktatási formák, valamint a távmunka jelenlegi helyzetét és jövőbeli elképzeléseit vizsgáltuk. Az volt a célunk, hogy kutatásunkkal segítsük a felsőoktatás szereplőit, hiszen a megváltozott körülmények, a digitális oktatás, a home office munkavégzés eddig nem látott nehézségeket, problémákat szülhetnek, amelyek kihívást jelentenek mind az oktatók, mind a munkaadók számára. A fenti célok érdekében több ütemben bonyolítjuk le a kutatási programot, a tanulmányban a Pécsi Tudományegyetem oktatói körében lebonyolított online felmérést mutatjuk be, a kérdőívet 322 fő töltötte ki. Az egyetem oktatói, kutatói pozitívan értékelték az otthoni munkavégzést. Ugyanakkor a digitális oktatás nem helyettesítheti a személyes találkozást, valamint mentálisan is nagyobb kihívást jelent, nőtt a munkaterhelés, hiszen a munkában és otthon is helyt kellett állni egy időben és egy helyszínen akár szimultán jelleggel vagy feladatmenedzselő eszközökkel. A felmérés alapján megállapítható, hogy az oktatók többsége elkötelezett a digitális oktatás fejlesztése iránt, ezért javaslatokat fogalmaztunk meg az oktatásfejlesztési területre, az oktatók által igénybe vehető speciális szolgáltatások kialakítására vonatkozóan, valamint a bevált digitális kommunikációs eszköztár további alkalmazására a szervezeti kommunikációban. Abstract We examined the current situation and future ideas of digital/non-attendance forms of education and teleworking in connection with the spring transition of higher education. Our goal was to help higher education actors with our research as the changed circumstances, digital education, home office work can create unprecedented difficulties and problems which are a challenge for both educators and employers. In order to achieve the above goals, we carry out the research program in several stages. In the study we present an online survey conducted among the lecturers of the University of Pécs, the questionnaire was filled in by 322 people. The lecturers and researchers of the university evaluated working at home positively. At the same time, digital education is no substitute for face-to-face encounters and it is also a greater challenge mentally. The workload has increased as tasks had to be performed both at work and home at the same time and place, either simultaneously or with task management tools. The survey shows that the majority of lecturers are committed to developing digital education. Therefore, we formulated proposals in the field of educational development, the establishment of special services available to educators, and the further application of the proven digital communication toolkit in organizational communication. Kulcsszavak: felsőoktatás, home office, COVID–19 Keywords: higher education, home office, COVID-19
Article
For most people, telework during the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates the increased use of digital tools. Although working from home can enhance flexibility, it comes with various psychological challenges, all of which can be substantially exacerbated for people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The increased need to use digital tools can create cognitive overload that may negatively impact work productivity and well-being. The idea of digital detox has received increasing attention in the last few years as a means for recovering from stress caused by the use of digital media. This paper presents an analysis of the relationships between the use of digital work tools, the feeling of cognitive overload, digital detox measures, perceived work performance, and well-being. Results from an online survey (N = 403) conducted during the period of strict lockdown measures in Germany in April and May 2020 indicate that the relationship between the use of text-based tools and well-being, but not perceived job performance, is mediated by cognitive overload. These relationships were not found for the use of videoconferencing tools. However, for users of these tools, the number of digital detox measures moderates the relationship between cognitive overload and the perception of work demands.