A new study has revealed that hybrid working is leading to a healthier workforce, with more time being dedicated to exercise, sleep and healthy eating.
Research among more than 2,000 hybrid workers by flexible workspace operator IWG has revealed that the time saved by reduced commuting has led to multiple health and wellbeing benefits including weight loss, better cooking habits, improved mental health and a longer night’s sleep.
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.
They 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.
70% said hybrid working gives them the time to prepare a healthy breakfast every day since hybrid working, while more than half have more time to spend cooking nutritious meals during the week.
Workers are eating more fresh fruit and vegetables (46% and 44% respectively), and one fifth are eating more fish. A quarter have also cut their intake of sweets since pre-2020 as well.
More exercise, better sleep and healthier eating has, unsurprisingly, led to more than a quarter of workers saying they’ve lost weight since the start of the pandemic.
Two in five have lost between 5 and 9.9kgs, while a remarkable 23% have lost more than 10Kg). The biggest drivers of weight loss have been increased time for exercise (65%) and more time to cook healthy meals (54%).
IWG has partnered with Dr. Sara Kayat, a passionate advocate of the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle and believes hybrid working can free up time to give workers a helping hand.
“There is no doubt that hybrid working has facilitated some major health benefits,” Dr Kayat said.
“A balanced diet, physical activity and good quality sleep are the bedrocks of a healthy lifestyle, and this data suggests that each is more widespread due to the extra time afforded by a hybrid working model.”
“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”.
Hybrid working is also delivering productivity gains. Almost four in five say they have been more productive since pre-2020 as a result of less work-related stress and having more time to relax and unwind after work.
IWG CEO Mark Dixon said the study confirmed that hybrid working was building and maintaining a healthier and happier workforces by reducing the need for long daily commutes.