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Hybrid office work in women and men: do directly measured physical behaviors differ between days working from home and days working at the office?

OBJECTIVE: We investigated and compared temporal sitting patterns among male and female hybrid office workers when working at the office (WAO), working from home (WFH), and for non-working days (NWD).

METHODS: We analyzed data collected in 2020 among 165 hybrid office workers, carrying thigh-worn accelerometers for 938 days in total. Day type (WAO, WFH, or NWD) and time in bed were identified using diaries. Time awake was exhaustively classified as non-sitting time and time sitting in short, moderate, and long bouts. Effects of day type and gender on the 24-h compositions of physical behaviors were analyzed using multilevel linear mixed models.

RESULTS: During workdays (both WAO and WFH), workers spent less time in bed and more time sitting, particularly in moderate and long bouts, than during NWD. Time in bed was longer when working from home than when working at the office, and more of the awake time was spent sitting. Differences between WAO and WFH in ratios between short, moderate, and long bouts of sitting were small and inconsistent. Men spent more time sitting than women, and more time in moderate and long sitting bouts relative to short bouts.

CONCLUSIONS: When working from home, hybrid office workers sat more during their hours awake compared to when working at the office. Sitting time was larger during working days than during non-working days and was higher in men than in women. These results may contribute to support organizational policies for hybrid work.

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