Long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health of the labor force

The COVID-19 pandemic led to changes in working patterns and conditions for many employees. The preventive measures introduced and the introduction or expansion of mobile and hybrid working models were a major challenge. Many studies have already examined the impact of these changes during the first wave of the pandemic. However, there is still a lack of knowledge about how they will affect health in the long term.

The DigiHero NRW research platform aims to close the research gap on the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting changes in the world of work on the health of employees. The results should identify starting points for targeted prevention work by the accident insurance institutions.

Study Design
DigiHero is a population-based cohort study on digital health research in Germany. DigiHero NRW will be part of the established and innovative DigiHero research platform of the Institute of Medical Epidemiology, Biometry and Informatics (IMEBI) in Halle / Saale. This platform covers a wide range of health topics and, thanks to its modular structure, can be easily extended with questionnaire modules.
As part of this project, DigiHero is being extended to include occupational health issues. To this end, the "Occupation" questionnaire module was developed under the leadership of the IPA in collaboration with the IMEBI. This module collects data on occupational activity and changes in working methods and conditions as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, as well as validated instruments for chronic work-related stress, loneliness at work, and psychological distress.
The IPA manages the data, including plausibility checks of all data and in particular the coding of occupations and sectors. The IPA will determine the workplace-specific SARS-CoV-2 infection risks based on the coded data in accordance with previous work and will perform the statistical analysis of the data.