The Role of Off-Job Crafting in Burnout Prevention during COVID-19 Crisis: A Longitudinal Study

Pijpker, Roald; Kerksieck, Philipp; Tušl, Martin; Bloom, Jessica De; Brauchli, Rebecca; Bauer, Georg F.


The COVID-19 pandemic and remote working challenge employees’ possibilities to recover from work during their off-job time. We examined the relationship between off-job crafting and burnout across the COVID-19 crisis. We used a longitudinal research design, comprising one wave collected before the onset of the pandemic, in March 2019 (T1), and one wave collected during the first lockdown of the crisis in April 2020 (T2). We measured the six off-job crafting dimensions (Crafting for Detachment, Relaxation, Autonomy, Mastery, Meaning, and Affiliation) and burnout (fatigue/exhaustion) via a questionnaire among German and Swiss employees (N = 658; Age M = 47; 55% male). We found that both burnout levels and crafting for affiliation significantly decreased at T2 compared to T1. All off-job crafting dimensions and burnout correlated negatively cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Regression analyses showed that employees who crafted in their off-job time before and during the crisis experienced fewer burnout complaints during the crisis. Looking more closely at the subdimensions of off-job crafting, employees who crafted for detachment before and during, and for affiliation before the crisis, reported less burnout during the crisis. We conclude that off-job crafting may act as a buffer mechanism against burnout during the COVID-19 crisis.