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Flexible Workplaces Promote Better Health Behavior And Well-Being

By December 16, 2011

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A new study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior shows that working in a flexible workplace can improve employees' health behavior and well-being, including a rise in the amount and quality of sleep and better health management. The study used longitudinal data collected from over 600 employees of a white-collar organization before and after a flexible workplace initiative was implemented. The researchers then examined changes in health-promoting behaviors and health outcomes among the employees participating in the initiative compared to those who did not participate. The initiative - called the Results Only Work Environment - redirected the focus from spending time at the office towards emphasizing actual results. Employees were also allowed to routinely change when and where they worked based in their individual needs without seeking permission from a manager. The results, the researchers found, were that the employees who participated in the initiative reported getting more sleep and better quality sleep than those do did not participate. Those who participated were also less likely to feel obligated to work when sick and more likely to go to the doctor when necessary. The initiative increased employees sense of schedule control and reduced their work-family conflict, which in turn improved their sleep quality, energy levels, self-reported health, and a sense of personal mastery while decreasing their emotional exhaustion and psychological distress. Read more about the study and the policy implications of the findings.

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