MB Walker
HM Long


Megan B. Walker, Henry M. Lang. University of Mary, Bismarck, ND.

Background: Recent advances in technology and the unprecedented conditions introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic have left many employees working remotely from home. Changes in environment and social or professional interaction often introduces new stressors for an employee to overcome, which may lead to reductions in work-related productivity. Many studies indicate that exercise can increase performance, productivity at work, and cognitive function, but to our knowledge, there are no studies focusing on the effects of exercise on productivity in individuals working from home. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if frequent exercise bouts throughout the day could improve work-related productivity in individuals working from home. Methods: All participants (n=10) received a verbal explanation via Zoom of the research study including procedures, risks, and benefits of participation. For the first full work week, all participants tracked their independent exercise minutes in a provided Excel spreadsheet and completed a self-assessed productivity questionnaire for each workday (Monday-Friday) through Microsoft Forms. For the second week, participants were asked to maintain their normal exercise routine while implementing the exercise program provided. The program consisted of 6 5-minute bouts of exercise spaced throughout the workday. Participants continued to complete the self-assessed productivity questionnaire for each workday. The completed exercise spreadsheet was collected from each participant following the two-week study. Results: The change in exercise minutes from the first week (M = 197.50, SD = 72.78) to the second week (M = 304.50, SD = 68.46) was found to be statistically significant (t(9) = -3.978, p = .003). A paired samples t-test conducted between productivity at baseline (M = 0.53, SD = 0.17) and the during the intervention (M= 0.63, SD = 0.14) approached significance (t(9) = -2.085, p = .067, d = 0.62) Conclusion: Frequent bouts of exercise throughout the day may have an impact on work-related productivity. Incorporating five-minute bouts of exercise throughout the day has a significant effect on total exercise minutes and is beneficial for increasing physical activity for those working from home. More research is needed on the effects of exercise on work-related productivity levels. Future studies should be completed using larger samples sizes to increase power. Increasing study duration would allow researchers to determine the long-term effects exercise bouts have on work-related productivity when working from home.

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