Flexible work life good for your health - study

NEW YORK Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:00pm IST

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - A flexible work life, including telecommuting and job shares, is good for your health, researchers said on Tuesday.

They found that if people have the ability to work from home and to compress work weeks, they are more likely to make healthier lifestyle choices, to exercise more and to sleep better.

"Perhaps it gives people the time to fit in healthier lifestyle into their everyday regimen or maybe it just enables people to better manage their time," Professor Joseph G. Grzywacz, of Wake Forest University School of Medicine, said in an interview.

While the primary driver behind the flexibility movement was to help people, especially women, combine work and family, evidence suggests this is clearly not only a women's issue, Grzywacz, who reported the findings in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, said.

The researchers looked at Health Risk Appraisals from employees in jobs ranging from warehouse and production workers to executives at a large multinational pharmaceutical company.

The firm used for the study is consistently recognized by Working Mother magazine as among the most family-friendly employers in the United States.

"This isn't just about high-level office workers, these people perform a wide variety of tasks within the company," Grzywacz explained.

He said the research shows public health departments and organizations that they could get something out of giving their employees more flexibility.

But, he added, further research was needed to assess the long-term benefits.

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