It’s been nearly four years since many of us began regular flexible working, and a new study has found that it can lessen your risk of a heart attack.
Flexible working became more popular after the Covid pandemic began to spread in 2020, forcing many office workers to work from home and work more flexible hours.
Now, a study from Harvard and Penn State universities, has found that changing up office hours can lower your cardiovascular risk and result in your heart health being as if you were five to 10 years younger.
Those whose health has benefited most from flexible working hours are employees over the age of 45, and those with a higher risk of heart disease.
To find these results, researchers looked at the health data of 1,528 employees working in IT and a long-term care company, monitoring their blood pressure, BMI, smoking status and cholesterol over a period of 12 months.
This data was used to calculate their cardiometabolic risk score (CRS) where a higher number indicates a higher risk of heart disease.
It found that the CRS was lowered in employees who were working flexible hours.
"The study illustrates how working conditions are important social determinants of health," study author Professor Lisa Berkman said.
"When stressful workplace conditions and work-family conflict were mitigated, we saw a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease among more vulnerable employees, without any negative impact on their productivity.
"These findings could be particularly consequential for low- and middle-wage workers who traditionally have less control over their schedules and job demands and are subject to greater health inequities."
Heart health isn’t the only benefit of flexible working. A 2021 study found that changing your job hours decreased the likelihood of stress by 20% and increased the likelihood of job satisfaction by 62%.
Stress plays an essential role in both our mental and physical wellbeing, with the NHS stating it can cause everything from burnout, to headaches, hives and feeling sick. So, if flexible working decreases our stress levels, then sign us up.
Additional reporting by SWNS.
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