Diversity of tasks and information technologies used by office workers at and away from work

Marina Louise Ciccarelli, Leon Straker, Svend Erik Mathiassen, Clare M. Pollock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Computer use is associated with musculoskeletal complaints among office workers. Insufficient exposure diversity between tasks is a proposed etiological factor, but little information exists on diversity of tasks and information and communication technologies (ICT) among office workers.
METHOD: Direct observation and self-report data were collected on tasks performed and ICT used among 24 office workers, over 12 h in work and non-work environments. Self-reports were repeated on four additional days.
RESULTS: Observations were for a mean [SD] 642[40] min. Productive tasks comprised 63% of observations, instrumental 17%, self-care 12% and leisure 8%. Non-ICT tasks comprised 44% of observations; New electronic-based ICT 36%; Old paper-based ICT 15%, and Combined ICT tasks 4%. Proportions of tasks and ICT use differed between environments and days.
CONCLUSION: Information about diversity in tasks and ICT provides the basis for future investigations into exposure variation in ICT-intensive environments and possible musculoskeletal health risks. STATEMENT OF RELEVANCE: Information and communication technologies (ICT) provide office workers access to perform work-related tasks after work hours and in away-from-work locations. Musculoskeletal disorder risk assessment for office workers should account for actual tasks performed over a work day, including away from work exposures. This study provides rich, detailed data on occurrence of tasks performed and ICT used by office workers throughout the day.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1017-1028
Number of pages12
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


  • Direct observation
  • ICT
  • Office workers
  • Tasks


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