By: Annie Morgan
A few years back, it seemed almost a badge of honor if a woman could work 40+ hours in the office… and take care of a family.
This woman was said to have figured out how to “do it all”…
… until all the health crises started to immerge like heart attacks, stress, depression, anxiety… and tragically sometimes even suicide.
Now, health experts are advising employers to provide more flexible work schedules – not only for the benefit of the women – but for the employer too.
It’s no longer considered smart for employers to work their employees to death – and many companies are making the switch from over-working their employees to providing attractive flexible work schedules.
And the good news is – with more health-conscious employers – the health benefits are trickling down the company.
Here are the top benefits of a flexible work schedule:
Helping Women Achieve Balance
Many women struggle with trying to balance raising a family and having a career.
Often times companies make it worse when they don’t allow for flexible work schedules – which all but push women out the door.
If a woman just gave birth, she’ll want to spend time with her baby. That’s just how women are wired.
Even after maternity leave is over, the natural mother instinct remains intact which causes some women to leave their career and stay home to raise their babies.
However, if employers allow for a “flexible schedule” – which can include anything from working at home, or even coming in only 1 or 2 days a week, a woman might be more inclined to stay on and work.
Healthier Eating Habits
Let’s face it – working in an office doesn’t always lead to the healthiest food choices.
While we all ideally want to “meal prep” – this often doesn’t happen – which means one is left to get lunch from the vending machine – or grab a quick unhealthy fast food meal.
That is if a lunch break is even possible.
In addition, the temptation to reach for sweets and slurp unhealthy sugar-filled sugar drinks is all too real – as sometimes office workers fall into bad habits.
On the other hand – working from home or having a flexible schedule gives women greater opportunities to eat healthy.
One can work from home and be “on” – and still have the ability to grill some chicken and make a healthy lunch.
Even having the freedom to go home for lunch and take a longer break vs the corporate “30 minutes only” can help employees stay healthy.
Get The Body Movin’
The research is out that sitting all day without movement isn’t just unhealthy – it can actually be deadly.
Our bodies were made to move, but often those who work in an office find themselves trapped behind a desk all day.
Yes, ideally everyone would get up every hour and take a stretch break and walk around the office, but realistically how often does that happen?
As a result, having a sedentary lifestyle and staying seated all day is increasing the mortality rate for adults.
Columbia University Irving Medical Center reported:
“The study, published online today in Annals of Internal Medicine, found that adults who sit for one to two hours at a time without moving have a higher mortality rate than adults who accrue the same amount of sedentary time in shorter bouts.
“We tend to think of sedentary behavior as just the sheer volume of how much we sit around each day,” said Keith Diaz, PhD, associate research scientist in the Department of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and lead investigator of the study. “But previous studies have suggested that sedentary patterns—whether an individual accrues sedentary time through several short stretches or fewer long stretches of time—may have an impact on health.”
And for those who spend 8-9 hours working behind a computer – the problems are even worse and can include everything from poor posture, hunched shoulders, and varicose veins.
On the contrast, having a flexible work schedule which includes either working from home or having an extra day off a week can help lesson this growing health crisis.
Better Mental Health
Let’s face it – having a flexible work schedule doesn’t only reap countless physical benefits, but it is good for one’s mental health too!
Having the freedom to make doctor’s appointments, run errands, go to the grocery store, and invest in relationships – while making money to pay the bills is ideal for most people.
Many employees who work around the clock in an office eventually get burned out – and then they start calling in sick and fall even more behind – which creates more stress for the employee and greater problems for the employer.
And often the mental burnout transitions to physical burnout, which can create even more health problems.
The Mayo Clinic described the following health consequences of burnout:
- Excessive stress
- Sadness, anger or irritability
- Alcohol or substance misuse
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Vulnerability to illnesses
But if an employee has some freedom in their schedule, they can learn how to balance work and life and have a more productive and stable life.
Employers should learn to consider flexible work schedules for their employees.
Not only will employees be happier and healthier, but this balance can even make one a better employee – as they won’t feel as stressed out or trapped behind a desk.
And the result will be a win/win for all parties involved.
Have you ever worked at a company that provided a flexible work schedule?
If so, how has this schedule improved your health?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to share this article with your friends and family to let them know the health benefits of having a flexible work schedule!