5 Reasons Hybrid Work Enables Employees To Live Healthier Lifestyle, New Study Shows

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The workplace has been marked by upheaval in the last few years, and the turbulence has caused many U.S. employees to suffer from “change fatigue” brought on by frequent shifting of priorities, policies and personnel. A recent report, for example, shows that remote worker’s careers may be on the chopping block. As these types of company threats and demands continue, the incidences of stress, anxiety and burnout are skyrocketing. Even after time off, a nationwide study found that, instead of feeling renewed, 41% of Americans experience post-time-off burnout.

As we eagerly anticipate the arrival of spring, one of the best medicines for job stress and burnout prevention is ongoing physical and mental fitness. Mordor Intelligence reveals that employees generally want work spaces that fit better with active personal lives after an era of long commutes that took them to offices that weren’t close to gyms or workout classes. The fitness sector is hot again after falling at the beginning of the pandemic, thanks to “rising health awareness” and popular lifestyle trends like yoga and emerging initiatives such as well-being appointed office spaces like Life Time, SoHo House and Equinox.

New research reports similar findings that the flexibility of hybrid work and employee well-being are intertwined. International Workplace Group reported the benefits of hybrid work allow employees to take better care of their personal health. The respondents cited five reasons the flexibility of hybrid work enables a healthy lifestyle:

1- 83% of hybrid workers find the flexibility of hybrid work allows them to prioritize their health and well-being.

2- 85% of hybrid workers believe when they regularly work out, they feel more productive or focused at work.

3- 90% of hybrid workers say the flexibility of the hybrid model has helped them work out more regularly, and 80% feel empowered to live a healthier lifestyle.

4- Hybrid work saves employees an average of 53 minutes per day and most (90%) use the time they save by working from home or close to home working out.

5- 80% said hybrid work allows them to live a healthier lifestyle, and nearly the same (79%) said the flexibility of hybrid work supports their fitness goals.

“This latest research further validates the vast benefits of hybrid working,” according to founder and CEO of IWG, Mark Dixon. “Countless studies have shown that it has the power to make employees happier and healthier, improve productivity as well as creating important cost savings,” Dixon states. “For many employers, supporting the health and well-being of their people continues to be a top priority. Empowering employees to enhance their quality of life through shortened daily commutes by using the time saved for more physical activity to prioritize fitness is a win-win situation.”

15-Minute Commutes Encourage Fitness

Dixon told me through email that the “15-minute city living” concept—based on the idea that any place you’d need to go will be within a 15-minute walk or bike ride of one’s home—is gaining popularity. “Organizations can adapt the ‘15-minute city’ concept by opening local offices or providing access to local coworking centers that allow their teams to have shorter commutes, giving time back to their employees to focus on their wellness and spend less time driving or on mass transit.” The ITW research found that hybrid workers take commutes into account for new job opportunities.

  • 72% of hybrid workers surveyed say they consider their ability to work out regularly when looking for a new job.
  • 61% of hybrid workers feel their commute negatively impacts their ability to workout. Of that group, approximately 69% said a 15-minute commute would likely increase their ability to work out or exercise regularly.
  • 59% of hybrid workers report that having to travel to a city center office or place of work with a long daily commute would negatively impact their physical fitness or exercise routine, and they would not consider a new role if it does not allow them to prioritize their fitness.
  • 46% of urban hybrid workers would bike to work if given the opportunity for a 15-minute commute.
  • 21% of hybrid workers aged 18-24 would consider running to work if given the opportunity for a 15-minute commute.
  • 45% of urban hybrid workers would consider walking to work if they had the opportunity for a 15-minute commute.

How Organizations Benefit From Hybrid Work

Dixon told me that by bringing offices and co-working spaces closer to where employees live and where they want to be, employers have the ability to help their teams overcome common challenges such as long, stressful commutes and limited time to dedicate to exercise. He went on to say, “Employers can also benefit from the ability to recruit from a diverse talent pool, while also reducing their costs by downsizing expensive office space in city centers, by instead providing their teams with access to co-working and flexible workspace locations in the heart of local communities, closer to where employees actually live.”

Dixon recommends that, across the board, employers should start by looking long and hard at the ways they are empowering their teams to unlock the benefits of flexibility, while also fostering collaboration and engagement. He says one of the most impactful ways employers can increase flexibility is by providing access to local offices for in-person teamwork and collaboration. “Our research shows employees save an average 53 minutes a day commuting when they work from or close to home, and nearly all have used that time to work out. By reducing commute time, employees can be empowered to reach their fitness goals and live healthier lives.”

Dixon is convinced that hybrid work is here to stay, and businesses who embrace it at its fullest will be best positioned for the future. He asserts that bringing offices and co-working spaces closer to where employees live and where they want to be, employers have the ability to help their teams overcome common challenges, such as long, stressful commutes and limited time to dedicate to exercise. As workers continue to prioritize flexibility and their own health when considering new job opportunities, hybrid work will continue to play an important role in talent retention and attraction,” he concludes. “Businesses that recognize and accommodate the needs of their people will win out on, and keep, key talent for the longer-term.”

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