Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic and its longitudinal association with physical activity and sedentary behavior

Objective Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many workers’ daily life and possibly their physical activity behavior. We studied the longitudinal association of working from home during the 
pandemic with physical activity and sedentary behavior.
Methods Longitudinal data from 17 questionnaire rounds of the Lifelines COVID-19 cohort (March 2020–
February 2021) were used. In total, 33 325 workers were included. In every round, participants reported their 
current work situation: location, home, or hybrid (working on location and from home). Physical activity levels 
and sedentary behavior before and during the pandemic were asked. Logistic generalized estimating equations 
adjusted for demographic/work/health covariates were used to study the association of work situation with physical activity and sedentary behavior.
Results Home workers were less likely to meet the recommended ≥150 minutes/week of moderate-to-vigorousintensity activity during the pandemic than location workers [odds ratio (OR) 0.93, 95% confidence interval (CI) 
0.90–0.96] and more likely to be less physically active than before the pandemic (OR 1.09, 95% CI 1.04–1.14). Furthermore, compared to location workers, home and hybrid workers were more likely to be more sedentary (sitting 
≥8 hours/day) on workdays during than before the pandemic (OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.39–1.64/1.36–1.68, respectively).
Conclusions Compared to location workers, home workers (and to a lesser extent hybrid workers) were more 
often physically inactive and sedentary during than before the COVID-19 pandemic. As a substantial part of the 
working population may continue to work (partly) from home after the pandemic, workers should be supported 
to increase activity and reduce sitting while working from home.
Key terms home worker; hybrid worker; location worker; longitudinal study; physical inactivity; sitting.

year of publication



  • Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health


  • Loef, B.
  • van Oostrom, S.H.
  • van der Noordt, M.
  • Lifelines Corona Research Initiative
  • Proper, K.I.

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