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Diversity of tasks and information technologies used by office workers at and away-from-work
Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University, Perth, Australia.
Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University, Perth, Australia.
University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Occupational and Public Health Sciences. University of Gävle, Centre for Musculoskeletal Research.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1443-6211
Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University, Perth, Australia.
2011 (English)In: Ergonomics, ISSN 0014-0139, E-ISSN 1366-5847, Vol. 54, no 11, 1017-1028 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Musculoskeletal disorders have been associated with computer use among office workers and lack of variation caused by too little exposure diversity between work tasks has been proposed as an important etiological factor. However there is little information on the diversity of occupations and information and communication technologies (ICT) used by office workers and none which extends beyond the traditional workday. Whilst direct observation is expected to provide the most accurate data, it is resource intensive and self report and sampling alternatives may be a viable alternative.

Method: This paper describes direct observation and self-report data on the occupations and ICT use of 24 Australian office workers in their natural environments at work and away-from-work, over 12 hours of a working day.

Results: Participants were observed for a mean [SD] for 642[40] minutes, 67% of which was at the workplace. Productive occupations (405[122] minutes) accounted for 63% of the observation period, compared to 17% for instrumental (106[57] minutes), 12% for self-care (75[46] minutes) and 8% for leisure occupations (54[39] minutes). Non ICT tasks occurred during 44% of the observation period (285[89] minutes); New ICT accounted for 36 % (234[118] minutes), Old ICT accounted for 15% (98[73] minutes), and Combined ICT tasks 4% (24[30] minutes). The proportions of occupations and ICT use differed between work and away-from-work. Computer-based New ICT was most used for work tasks. Observed and self-reported time on occupations and ICT were similar, though with some differences. Self-reported time on occupations and ICT was similar for the first day and the subsequent 4 days.

Conclusion: The first detailed description of occupations and ICT used by office workers at work and away-from-work shows that the variety of Old, New, Combined and Non-ICT used for performing typical work and non-work tasks offered a diversity of exposures for the workers. This information provides an important step for further investigations into exposure variation in this group, and possible musculoskeletal health risks.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 54, no 11, 1017-1028 p.
Keyword [en]
office ergonomics, ergonomics tools, musculoskeletal disorders
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-8557DOI: 10.1080/00140139.2011.609913ISI: 000299925900003PubMedID: 22026945Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84855476667OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-8557DiVA: diva2:403319
Available from: 2011-03-11 Created: 2011-03-11 Last updated: 2014-11-11Bibliographically approved

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Mathiassen, Svend Erik
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