A new study by International Workplace Group points to a correlation between adopting hybrid working policies and improved employee well-being.

The research examined the impact of hybrid working on the mental and physical health of 1 000 hybrid workers.

Four in five (80%) said their overall well-being had significantly improved due to the greater flexibility of hybrid working.

The widespread uptake of hybrid working globally has seen increasing numbers of workers splitting their time between a local workspace, home and a city centre headquarters, which has reduced time spent commuting and enabled a greater focus on well-being among workers that were previously not able to prioritise their health in the same way.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents said their physical health has improved due to hybrid work, with benefits including doing more physical exercise (54%) and taking time for healthier meal preparation (58%).

Hybrid workers also felt better rested (80%), enjoying significantly better quality and more consistent sleep patterns (68%).

The study supports previous research by International Workplace Group that found the average hybrid worker is now getting 4,7 hours of exercise a week, compared to 3,4 hours before the pandemic, and an extra 71 hours of sleep per year, or almost six hours per month.

Many businesses are complementing the physical health benefits offered by hybrid working with benefits and schemes which promote increased exercise. Seventeen percent reported that their companies offered a discounted gym membership, while 28% have been given access to a cycle-to-work scheme.

With more flexibility over when, where and how they work, almost nine in 10 (86%) workers say hybrid working has led to a better work-life balance, while over three quarters (78%) felt an overall reduction in their stress levels.

These factors have contributed to a happier, healthier workforce, with four in five (81%) workers reporting improved mental health since moving to a hybrid model.

Not only are employees reporting the well-being benefits of hybrid working, but HR leaders are also optimistic about their impact.

International Workplace Group’s HR Leaders and Hybrid Working report published in May 2024 revealed that 86% of HR leaders said the model is one of their employees’ most in-demand wellness benefits.

Almost the same amount (85%) said hybrid work is an effective retention tool. HR leaders were equally positive about the more comprehensive well-being benefits of hybrid working, with 88% saying the model was beneficial to employees’ mental health.

Given the positive impact of hybrid working on workers’ mental and physical health, it is unsurprising that three-quarters (76%) said returning to a central office five days a week would negatively affect their well-being.

The study also suggests that this could impact business productivity. Three-quarters (74%) of workers said they were more productive when working in a hybrid model, while a similar number (76%) reported being more motivated. 85% of employees said that hybrid work had improved their job satisfaction.

HR leaders’ views support this, with four in five (86%) stating that hybrid work is now one of the most in-demand employee wellness benefits and reporting that it increases employee productivity (85%).

International Workplace Group CEO Mark Dixon says: “Hybrid working is a win-win for both employees and employers. The balance that hybrid working offers – between office and home and work and life – supports employee well-being and helps employers stay competitive when recruiting and retaining strong talent.

“This research highlights a whole host of employee health benefits, from better sleep to more time for exercise. More flexibility in working patterns and reduced commuting time have enabled workers to focus on improving their physical and mental health.”