What are effective ways to recover from a working day in these corona times? How can someone minimize any ill-effects on their private life while working from home?

And how can individuals be encouraged to use strategies such as self-recognition (learn how to recognize physical and emotional indicators) or job-crafting (adjusting work tasks and conditions) when working from home?

TU/e professor Evangelia Demerouti has developed and tested a new online training program to help individuals learn about and use strategies in the home office. “Put simply, I want to help people during this trying time, and the online training is designed to help people learn how to help themselves,” explains Demerouti. “We are in unprecedented times. This requires unprecedented action, and my hope is that this tool helps many people when they need it – right now!”

Encouraging results

As part of an NWO-funded project, Demerouti developed a 4-week training program that consists of short videos, exercises, daily self-set goals, and other documentation in relation to strategies for staying healthy and motivated when working at home.

Demerouti also tested the effectiveness of the training program: “For the study, we recruited people for an intervention group and a control group, and results show that the online approach is effective. It works!”

Between June 2020 and December 2020, 39 people followed the training program, coming from a number of sectors including education, health, and the financial sector.

“After the training, participants indicated that they performed better at work and were more motivated and happier with their life, just as I thought would be the case before the study,” says Demerouti.

In addition, participants reported a decrease in work-family conflict, better recovery, higher ability to recognize how they feel, and were more likely to ask their colleagues for help. A control group of 75 people displayed none of these improvements.

A tool to help everyone

And Demerouti, who is based in the department of Industrial Engineering and Innovation Sciences at TU/e, hopes that people will continue to put the tool to good use, particularly in these trying times: “We are working from home longer than any of us could have imagined. It looks like this will continue over the coming months too. I want this training program to be available to help people recognize the right ‘button to press’ to assist with working from home. The training only requires a small time investment each day, but the benefits can be invaluable. So, if you’re working from home and encountering problems, please sign up.”

If you want to access the tool and follow the 4-week training program, you can access it at this link: https://duwtje.com/jobcrafting. The course is in Dutch.

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