Another reason NOT to work from home? People who commute regularly have better mental and physical health, study shows
- University College London scientists questionned 3,100 people on travel
- They found those who went 15 miles from home regularly had better health
- Group was more likely to catch up with friends and family and visit new places
It may be tempting to log onto work from your bed every morning rather than traveling to the office if it’s an option.
But a study has suggested people who fall into this pattern are less likely to have good physical and mental health.
Those who regularly traveled more than 15 miles from home were less likely to suffer from loneliness or mobility issues than homebodies.
Scientists at University College London who did the study say commuters are more likely to catch up with friends and family and visit new places.
People who work from home are less likely to have good physical and mental health, a study has suggested
The researchers recruited 3,014 people aged between 18 and over 75 years old who lived in northern areas of England in January 2019.
Participants were surveyed about how often they traveled to work, how far they went, and how they got to the office.
They were also asked to rate their health from one to five, where five was very good and one was very bad.
This was self-reported, and scientists did not ask them to submit evidence of poor health or diagnoses they had.
Results showed people who traveled less were more likely to report their health as bad or very bad.
Not getting enough physical activity raises the risk of conditions including obesity, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This puts people at risk of a myriad of other illnesses including heart disease, stroke and an early death.
Lead author Dr Paulo Anciaes, from UCL, said: ‘We explored the links between constraints to travel more than 15 miles from home, demographics and location and social participation in how residents perceived their own health.
‘We found that the key variable is the number of different places people visit outside their local area. This links to more social participation and better health.’
Considering responses by age group, scientists found over-55s who rarely ventured out of their hometown were at the highest risk of negative health impacts.
They said the lack of regularly visiting new places left the age group at higher risk of less social participation and loneliness, linked to lower general health levels.
Dr Anciaes said: ‘In the north of England, rural and suburban areas with limited access options are more likely to experience population loss as young people move to the cities in search of work and good travel options.
‘Meanwhile, older generations are left behind in these areas with limited transport options. The range of places they can visit is low, leading to less social participation and lower levels of general health.
‘The results of this study emphasize the need for public policies that reduce constraints to travel in the region, by providing better options for private and public transport that allows for more frequent and longer trips.’
The study was published in the research journal Transport and Health. It was supported by funding from Transport for the North, a government transport body in the UK.
US authorities introduced WFH for federal agencies back in early 2020 when the virus was first taking off.
Many agencies are still yet to relax these rules, despite Covid vaccines and boosters now being readily available.
A report last month showed eight in ten workers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are still working from home.
A staffer warned that the current situation made it ‘almost impossible to get anything done’.
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A report published late last year also warned over the risks of working from home, saying two thirds of under-30s in Britain had been left suffering with ‘WFH back’ by the practice.
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Eight in 10 CDC workers are STILL working from home
Most employees at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are still working from home.
The federal health agency, responding to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, said 80 percent of staff were still partially or fully working from home.
Dr Stephen Cochi, who worked at the CDC for four decades before retiring this year, warned remote work was making it ‘almost impossible to get anything done’.
The CDC first moved to remote working in March 2020 to reduce social contacts and limit the spread of Covid.
In August this year, the agency reduced its quarantine advice for Covid cases from 10 to five days, saying the shorter time would help keep more people in offices.
Yet four months later, the CDC has yet to roll back its own teleworking plans.