Recovery Across Different Temporal Settings: How Lunchtime Activities Influence Evening Activities

Marjaana Sianoja, Christine Syrek, Jessica de Bloom, Kalevi Korpela, Ulla Kinnunen

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Recovery from work stress during workday breaks, free evenings, weekends, and vacations is known to benefit employee health and well-being. However, how recovery at different temporal settings is interconnected is not well understood. We hypothesized that on days when employees engage in recovery-enhancing lunchtime activities, they will experience higher resources when leaving home from work (i.e., low fatigue and high positive affect) and consequently spend more time on recovery-enhancing activities in the evening, thus creating a positive recovery cycle. In this study, 97 employees were randomized into lunchtime park walk and relaxation groups. As evening activities, we measured time spent on physical exercise, physical activity in natural surroundings, and social activities. Afternoon resources and time spent on evening activities were assessed twice a week before, during, and after the intervention, for five weeks. Our results based on multilevel analyses showed that on days when employees completed the lunchtime park walk, they spent more time on evening physical exercise and physical activity in natural surroundings compared to days when the lunch break was spent as usual. However, neither lunchtime relaxation exercises nor afternoon resources were associated with any of the evening activities. Our findings suggest that other factors than afternoon resources are more important in determining how much time employees spend on various evening activities. Fifteen-minute lunchtime park walks inspired employees to engage in similar health-benefitting activities during their free time.
Original languageEnglish
Article number129
Number of pages14
JournalScandinavian Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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