Does Hybrid Work Lead to a Healthier Workforce?
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A groundbreaking study by IWG reveals that hybrid workers are exercising more, sleeping longer, and eating better than ever before, resulting in a healthier workforce. This paradigm shift in work culture has profound implications for businesses aiming to promote employee wellbeing and productivity. When I do similar surveys in helping companies transition to hybrid and remote work, I find broadly similar results.
The Health Benefits of Hybrid Work: A Closer Look
The IWG study, conducted among over 2,000 hybrid workers, highlights the dramatic health improvements that have emerged from the hybrid working model. Key findings include:
- Hybrid workers are exercising for almost 90 minutes more per week than before the pandemic.
- Reduced commutes have led to an extra 71 hours of sleep per year.
- Almost a quarter of hybrid workers have lost 20 pounds or more.
These statistics paint a promising picture of the future of work and offer compelling reasons for organizations to adopt a hybrid working model.
Fitness Gains and the Hybrid Workforce
The average hybrid worker now enjoys 4.7 hours of exercise per week, compared to just 3.4 hours before the pandemic. The most common forms of exercise include walking, running, and strength training. The additional time saved by reduced commuting allows employees to prioritize their physical health, leading to increased energy levels and enhanced productivity at work.
The hybrid working model has also resulted in longer, more restful sleep for employees. With an additional 71 hours of sleep per year, workers are better equipped to tackle the challenges of the workday, leading to increased focus and creativity.
Healthy Eating Habits Fostered by Hybrid Work
The study also found that 70% of hybrid workers now have time to prepare a healthy breakfast every day, while 54% have more time to cook nutritious meals during the week. This shift in eating habits has led to an increase in the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as fish. A quarter of respondents have also reduced their intake of sweets since pre-2020.
The increased time for exercise (65%) and more time to cook healthy meals (54%) have been the primary drivers of weight loss, with 42% of hybrid workers losing between 11 and 21 pounds and an astonishing 23% losing more than 22 pounds.
Mental Health: The Hidden Advantage of Hybrid Work
An impressive 66% of hybrid workers report that their mental health has improved as a result of the shift to hybrid working. This is attributed to the 81% of respondents who say they have had additional personal time compared to pre-2020.
The majority spend this time with family and friends (55%), exercising (52%), or taking a short walk during the day (67%). All of these have a positive impact on mental health.
According to Dr. Sara Kayat, a medical doctor and advocate of the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle, “There is no doubt that hybrid working has facilitated some major health benefits. 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.” She adds that
“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”.
Mark Dixon, CEO of IWG said, “This study confirms what we have been seeing for a while now — how hybrid working is building and maintaining a healthier and happier workforce by reducing the need for long daily commutes.
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.”
The IWG study makes it clear: the benefits of hybrid work extend far beyond mere convenience. The ripple effects of this new work model on employee health are transforming the workforce for the better. Business leaders should embrace the hybrid work revolution and harness its potential to create a healthier, more productive, and more satisfied workforce.
Hybrid work improves health and productivity through exercise, sleep, and better eating. Businesses should embrace it… >Click to tweet
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Lauded as “Office Whisperer” and “Hybrid Expert” by The New York Times, Dr. Gleb Tsipursky helps leaders use hybrid work to improve retention and productivity while cutting costs. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. Dr. Gleb wrote the first book on returning to the office and leading hybrid teams after the pandemic, his best-seller Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). He authored seven books in total, and is best know for his global bestseller, Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019). His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 650 articles and 550 interviews in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, Time, Business Insider, Fortune, and elsewhere. His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, and other languages. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, with 8 years as a lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill and 7 years as a professor at Ohio State. A proud Ukrainian American, Dr. Gleb lives in Columbus, Ohio. In his free time, he makes sure to spend abundant quality time with his wife to avoid his personal life turning into a disaster. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on LinkedIn @dr-gleb-tsipursky, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Facebook @DrGlebTsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, YouTube, and RSS, and get a free copy of the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace by signing up for the free Wise Decision Maker Course at https://disasteravoidanceexperts.com/newsletter/.
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