Exploring the telework-health relation in an active working population – a longitudinal prospective study

01 January 2023 → 31 December 2026
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Biostatistics
    • Epidemiology
    • Human movement and sports sciences not elsewhere classified
    • Rehabilitation
    • Other medical and health sciences not elsewhere classified
telework health causality
Project description

The number of regular teleworkers has increased significantly after the COVID-19 pandemic. Although telework could offer a greater work schedule flexibility for employees by avoiding travel time of the home-work commute, there is also a risk of increased sedentary behavior causing a harmful health impact. To date, there is a paucity of research on this complex telework-health relationship, whereby most research is either of low quality or based on a limited sample. In order to bridge the current knowledge gaps, we propose a well-established and rigorous methodology, whereby we aim to unravel the complex telework-health relation into direct effects, mediators and moderators. To this end, we have identified theoretical and evidence-based indicators at the individual (i.e. employee) and organizational (i.e. employer) level. We will apply a rigorous causal framework considering these important indicators, whereby we assess direct effects and indirect effects (e.g. through changes in physical activity or shifts in psychological states) of telework on health. Once these effects become clear, key mediators will be identified to inform on how to mitigate harmful effects and enhance beneficial effects of telework on health. Lastly, we will evaluate predictive patterns in the telework-health relationship, whereby we will predict the health of a teleworker based on previous behavior. Teleworkers at risk will then be offer evidence-based advice on how their risk can be mitigated.