The impact of Covid-19 on research into work and health

Vaughan Parsons* (Corresponding Author), Elaine Wainwright, Maria Karanika-Murray, Gabriella Muiry, Evangelia Demou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The global coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic created a profound disruption to the delivery of planned scientific research with unknown immediate and potentially longer-term impacts.

Aim We explored researchers' experiences of the impact of the pandemic on the continued development and delivery of research into work and health, and on research infrastructure in this field.

Methods A cross-sectional study.

Results Thirty-three questionnaires were completed, representing a response rate of 15%. Sixty-one percent of respondents were female, the majority (78%) had over 11 years of research experience, and 76% worked mainly in academia. Most respondents (88%) were able to progress with research during the pandemic. A small proportion (4%) had studies paused or suspended due to the pandemic, while a larger proportion (19%) had research staff redeployed to assist with other studies or furloughed. Respondents described a range of emerging practical and logistical issues for research into work and health during the pandemic. Some benefited from increased opportunities to collaborate on new multidisciplinary studies, opportunities to engage participants in work and health research, and more flexible and inclusive work practices. Others experienced challenges that had an adverse impact, such as hampering research delivery (e.g. barriers to participant screening and intervention delivery), poor (home) working environments, reduced team cohesion, and isolation. A range of future priorities for research was highlighted.

Conclusions We describe lessons learned and opportunities that can be used to support or further research activities in the field of work and health research in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-14
Number of pages8
JournalOccupational Medicine
Issue number1
Early online date30 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgments: We thank our research partners and funders for agreeing to disseminate information about the study (including link to the online survey) to their network contacts. We would like to thank all the study participants for completing the survey.

Funding: No external funding was used to conduct of this study. ED acknowledges funding from the Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00022/2) and the Chief Scientist Office (SPHSU17).


  • work
  • research
  • occupational health
  • workplace intervention
  • workplace
  • occupational


Dive into the research topics of 'The impact of Covid-19 on research into work and health'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this