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Flexible hours could be key to a healthier workplace

Too much time in the office is putting Brits off the gym, even though more than one in four would like to exercise at least three times a week. According to a new study by the Smarter Working Initiative, two thirds of office workers believe they’d be more active and have a healthier lifestyle if they were able to work from home or have more control over their working hours.

With more than half of UK office workers not doing any exercise at all in the average working week, long hours and commuting times are major factors reducing motivation to hit the gym, with many feeling increased levels of lethargy and tiredness as a result. 48% thought that working from home, a shorter commute or less distance between work and a gym would encourage a healthier lifestyle, while one in three admitted that due to office snacking, they failed their summer diets.

76% confessed that they snack more than they’d like to at work, while 25% are eating out instead of preparing a healthier packed lunch. With more and more bosses addressing the need for workers to factor in their personal lives for greater productivity, especially as the younger generation is poised to change the working world, the Smarter Working Initiative is keen to urge employers to do more in order to boost office efficiency and productivity.

“Long travel times and work fatigue are not conducive to optimal working conditions,” said Jason Downes, founder of the Smarter Working Initiative. “A healthy diet and regular exercise are essential for employees to feel motivated to produce their best work – and business leaders should ensure that they provide an environment that supports this.”

Reintroducing the Smarter Working Initiative to workplaces on Monday, 24 July, the team is looking to oust less healthy habits and champion techniques such as flexible working to boost the nation’s health.

“Traditional working office hours simply aren’t sustainable for a healthy, balanced lifestyle,” continued Downes. “Companies must acknowledge that implementing flexible working will enable their staff to become healthier, and ultimately more productive.”