An intervention to promote positive homeworker health and wellbeing through effective home-working practices: a feasibility and acceptability study

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Abstract

Background
In the wake of Covid-19, the prevalence of working from home (‘home-working’) is expected to rise. Yet, working from home can have negative health and wellbeing impacts. Interventions are needed to promote effective ways of working that also protect workers’ health and wellbeing. This study explored the feasibility and acceptability of an intervention intended to promote home-working practices that would protect and promote health behaviour and wellbeing.

Methods
An uncontrolled, single-arm mixed-methods trial design was employed. Forty-two normally-office-based UK workers, working from home between January–February 2021 (during the Covid pandemic), consented to receive the intervention. The intervention: a digital document offering evidence-based recommendations for home-working in ways conducive to health behaviour and wellbeing. Feasibility and acceptability were quantitatively indexed by: expressions of interest within 1 week (target threshold ≥ 35); attrition across the one-week study period (threshold ≤ 20%); and the absence of any apparent detriments in self-reported physical activity, sedentary behaviour, snacking, and work-related wellbeing prior to and one week after receiving the intervention. Qualitative think-aloud data, obtained while participants read through the intervention, and analysed using reflexive thematic analysis, explored acceptability. Semi-structured interviews conducted one week after intervention exposure were content-analysed to identify whether and which behaviour changes were adopted.

Results
Two feasibility criteria were met: 85 expressions of interest indicated satisfactory intervention demand, and no detriments were observed in health behaviours or wellbeing. Forty-two participants (i.e., maximum capacity for the study; 26 females, 16 males, aged 22–63) consented to take part. 31% dropped out over the one-week study period leaving a final sample of 29 (18 females, 11 males, aged 22–63), exceeding identified attrition thresholds. Think-aloud data showed that participants concurred with intervention guidance, but felt it lacked novelty and practicality. Follow-up interviews produced 18 (62%) participant reports of intervention adherence, where nine recommendations reportedly prompted behaviour change in at least one participant.

Conclusions
Mixed evidence was found for intervention feasibility and acceptability. Whilst the information was deemed relevant and of value, further development is required to increase its novelty. It may also be more fruitful to provide this information via employers, to encourage and emphasise employer endorsement.
Original languageEnglish
Article number614
Pages (from-to)614
Number of pages1
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2023

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