Workplace flexibility not only boosts employees' morale, but as it turns out, it also lead to them having healthier lifestyle habits.
The finding is based on a new study that found that people who are provided workplace flexibility, and they perceive that it to real, tend to develop a healthier lifestyle.
The study, led by Joseph G. Grzywacz, Ph.D., of Wake Forest University School of Medicine, reinforces the idea that workplace flexibility is important to workplace health.
"People who believe they have flexibility in their work lives have healthier lifestyles. Individuals who perceive an increase in their flexibility are more likely to start some positive lifestyle behaviours," Grzywacz said.
"This study is important because it reinforces the idea that workplace flexibility is important to workplace health," he added.
Grzywacz said that the goal of the study is to improve 'understanding of the potential effect of workplace flexibility on worker lifestyle habits'.
In the study, the data came from Health Risk Appraisals (HRAs) completed by employees of a large multinational pharmaceutical company.
"These weren't all office workers - that's an important point. This isn't just about high-level office workers - these people perform a wide variety of tasks within the company," Grzywacz said.
The data was analysed to determine if lifestyle behaviours differ between employees with different levels of perceived flexibility and to identify if changes in flexibility over a one-year time period predicted changes in health behaviour.
The study laid emphasis on frequency of physical activity, engagement in stress management programs, and participation in health education activities, healthful sleep habits, and self-appraised overall lifestyle.
"Overall, the results showed that nearly all the health behaviours examined in this study were associated with perceived flexibility," Grzywacz said.
"Although further research is needed, these results suggest that flexibility programs that are situated within a broader organizational commitment to employee health may be useful for promoting positive lifestyle habits," he added.
The study, titled "The Effects of Workplace Flexibility on Health Behaviours: A Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Analysis," is published in The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.