Hybrid working environments making workers healthier
Hybrid working environments making workers healthier – Source: Pexels
  • Hybrid working has led to a healthier workforce, with more time dedicated to exercise, sleep and healthy eating, resulting in weight loss and better mental health
  • Hybrid workers are now exercising for almost 90 minutes per week longer compared to before the pandemic, sleeping longer, and eating healthier
  • Offering hybrid working can lead to a healthier and happier workforce, reduce work-related stress and improve productivity

A new study has found that hybrid working is leading to a healthier workforce, with more time now being dedicated to exercise, sleep and healthy eating.

The research from IWG, revealed that the average hybrid worker is now getting 4.7 hours of exercise a week, compared to 3.4 hours before the pandemic, with the most common forms of exercise being walking, running and strength training.

Hybrid workers are also sleeping longer, with the additional time in bed each morning equating to 71 extra hours – or three days – of sleep a year. Eating habits have also dramatically improved, with 70% saying hybrid working gives them the time to prepare a healthy breakfast every day, while more than half (54%) have more time to spend cooking nutritious meals during the week.

Health benefits of hybrid working

Dr Sara Kayat, who partnered with IWG to conduct the study said, “Stress management and social connections are also incredibly important to mental wellbeing. A healthy work/life balance is essential to achieving these, allowing people to work closer to home and make more time for family, friends and stress-busting hobbies.”

The increase in hybrid working over the past few years has seen increasing numbers of office workers splitting their time between home, a local workspace and city centre HQ, dramatically reducing their commutes and saving several hours a day.

More time for exercise, sleep and healthy eating

With increased productivity at work and more free time outside of work, the report found that two-thirds (66%) feel that their mental health is good as a result of the shift to hybrid working.

The study also found that hybrid working has delivered productivity gains, with almost four in five (79%) workers saying they have been more productive since pre-2020, as a result of less work-related stress (47%) and having more time to relax and unwind after work (46%).

IWG CEO, Mark Dixon said “Offering hybrid working is such an important and easy way for businesses to put their employees first by freeing up their time and giving them greater control over their schedules. Organizations that have adopted hybrid working are not only seeing healthier and happier workforces but more engaged and productive teams.”

“Hybrid working is building and maintaining a healthier and happier workforce by reducing the need for long daily commutes.”

Hybrid working for a happier workforce

The report also found that reduced commuting time has led to multiple health and wellbeing benefits, including weight loss, improved cooking habits, and better mental health. Eating habits have also improved, with workers eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, and one-fifth are eating more fish.

The biggest drivers of weight loss have been increased time for exercise (65%) and more time to cook healthy meals (54%). More exercise, better sleep and healthier eating have, unsurprisingly, led to more than a quarter (27%) of workers saying they’ve lost weight since the start of the pandemic.

Dr Kayat said hybrid working is clearly facilitating major health benefits for workers.

“This data suggests that a balanced diet, physical activity and good quality sleep are the bedrocks of a healthy lifestyle and each is more widespread due to the extra time afforded by a hybrid working model.”

IWG’s study of 2,000 hybrid workers also found that the majority spent personal time promoting their health and wellbeing by spending time with family and friends (55%) and exercising (52%) or taking a short walk during the day (67%), two-thirds (66%) feel that their mental health is good as a result of the shift to hybrid working.

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