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Organisations urged to deliver a healthier hybrid workplace

Britain’s homeworkers may have been shielded from some of the frontline impacts of the virus, but the impact upon their health and wellbeing has still been high, claims a new report Healthy Hybrid: a Blueprint for Business, published by the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) and Vitality.

As they draw up their post-lockdown plans, the report urges organisational leaders to explore the potential for a ‘healthy hybrid’ model that can deliver inclusive productivity gains for their business alongside a healthier, happier workforce.

According to the research, while more than half of all homeworkers (55 percent) said working from home meant they found it easier to get more work done on average homeworkers have been working three hours extra per week. Seven in ten homeworkers report experiencing more aches and musculoskeletal pain, whilst levels of mental health distress have soared, particularly during the most recent lockdown.

As a result of this decline in mental and physical health, 85 per cent of homeworkers say taking employee health and wellbeing seriously will be important when thinking about their future career prospects. However, 50 per cent of all homeworkers and 58 per cent of female homeworkers feel anxious about the return.

Commented Alan Lockey, Head of the RSA Future Work Centre and Associate Director:

“Healthy Hybrid’ working gives organisations the opportunity to explore a ‘best of both’ approach in two crucial senses. First, it can allow workers more flexibility to produce their work in environments that are most conducive to being productive – no need to carry out ‘deep’ contemplative work in office environments built for distraction.

“Second, and more importantly, the shift in values it represents can help create a movement for good work ground in the insight that wellbeing and productivity – health and economic competitiveness – are two sides of the same coin: you need both in order to flourish.”

Said Neville Koopowitz, Chief Executive, Vitality UK:

“Now is the time for businesses to reset their approach to health and wellbeing and set themselves up for a ‘Healthy Hybrid’ future. Our report shows that wellbeing and productivity – health and economic competitiveness – are two sides of the same coin. Corporate Britain needs both in order to recover and flourish.”

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