Cognitive crafting and work engagement: A study among remote and frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic

Indy Wijngaards, FR Pronk, Arnold Bakker, Martijn Burger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to a profound change in the organization of work in the health care sector. As frontline health care workers are essential in battling the pandemic and their work is appreciated in society, we argue that health care workers who are forced to work from home are likely to perceive their jobs as less meaningful, which in turn may negatively affect their engagement at work. Cognitive crafting, or the altering of the perceptions one has about their tasks and relationships with the aim to enhance the meaningfulness of work, may be a fruitful cognitive strategy to counter the problems remote health care workers face. PURPOSE: The primary purpose was to study the relationship between cognitive crafting, working from home (WFH), and work engagement. METHODOLOGY: We collected cross-sectional survey data between May 7 and June 2, 2020, from a single hospital in the Netherlands (n = 278). The central hypothesis was tested using multiple regression analysis. RESULTS: The relationship between cognitive crafting and work engagement was moderated by WFH, such that the relationship is more positive for health care workers who work from home permanently since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic than for frontline workers and workers who work partially from home. CONCLUSION: Our findings are consistent with previous research on cognitive crafting. We conclude that cognitive crafting is an interesting cognitive strategy to stay engaged for health care workers who are mandated into WFH. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: We advise organizations to provide remote workers virtual group trainings that promote cognitive crafting and expose them to testimonies of people who are positively affected by their work. More generally, we recommend organizations to engage in effective top-down work design and foster a climate for cognitive as well as behavioral job crafting strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-235
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Care Management Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2021

Research programs

  • ESE - AE


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