Working near home – not at home – is key to worker health and happiness

By Anita Jaynes on 18 October, 2016

Working near to where you live, as opposed to setting aside space to work at home, is recognised as delivering the greatest well-being benefits to workers according to a new study by Regus, the workspace provider with a centre on Windmill Hill Business Park, Swindon.

The findings are sure to provide business leaders with food for thought when planning future workplace strategies. Regus surveyed its customer-base to establish views on worker well-being and the advantages of flexible working patterns. The results outline the benefits to health and happiness of working locally, and the potential downfalls of a home-working existence.

70% of UK professionals believe that working closer to home improves health. Further analysis of the figures reveals some of the reasons why, with 69% of respondents believing working closer to home means more business people are likely to hit the gym. Similarly, 81% felt that working from home enables professionals to spend more time on outside interests and hobbies.

The temptation when offered the flexible work option may be to set-up at home. But feedback from UK professionals suggests this scenario is not as advantageous when it comes to personal wellbeing. 87% of respondents suggested that co-working helps to curb the loneliness of homeworkers.

Richard Morris, UK CEO, Regus, said: “People sometimes equate flexible working with working from home but the home environment can introduce many unforeseen challenges to the working day. The routine of home life can interrupt business tasks and, for many, a lack of suitable space may result in a compromise when it comes to ergonomics and positioning correctly to enable a productive day’s work. Our survey also highlights the issue of isolation and loneliness.

“Conversely, drop-in, flexible workspaces that are situated close to home are recognised as beneficial to worker health and happiness. These spaces are typically professionally designed to couple productive working areas with break-out zones and areas for sharing ideas and inspiration. Professionals using this space are able to remain motivated and productive whilst avoiding the expensive and draining commutes that continue to affect so many business people.

“Business decision makers are rapidly losing faith with the notion of the fixed-desk, fixed-hours approach that has dominated working life for decades. Now, the conversation is moving to how to provide the best environment for workers, so that they in turn might provide their best work for you.”