Flexible working hours can reduce your risk of a heart attack by up to ten years compared the 9-5 slog, according to a new study.
Changing up the office hours meant some participants lowered their cardiovascular risk as if they were five to 10 years younger.
Employees over 45 and staff members with a higher risk of heart disease were the ones to reap the benefits in the study, according to Harvard and Penn State universities.
The rest of the staff base had enjoyed a reduction in their chances of heart disease.
Supervisors were trained to show support for employees’ personal lives alongside their job performance.
Employees joined their seniors at training sessions on boosting staff’s control over their schedules and tasks.
An IT company with high-tech workers took part, alongside a caregiving company with low-wage carers.
Professor Lisa Berkman, from Harvard Chan School and director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, said: “The study illustrates how working conditions are important social determinants of health.
“When stressful workplace conditions and work-family conflict were mitigated, we saw a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease among more vulnerable employees, without any negative impact on their productivity.
“These findings could be particularly consequential for low- and middle-wage workers who traditionally have less control over their schedules and job demands and are subject to greater health inequities.”
The research published in the American Journal of Public Health is among the first to look at the relationship between professional life and heart disease.
The IT business got 555 high and moderately-salaried male and female technical workers involved in the study.
Meanwhile, 973 members of staff at the long-term care company joined – predominately female and low-wage caregivers.
Study leads picked random units from the two companies to take part. Business carried on as usual for the remaining groups, acting as a control.
The 1,528 employees involved had their systolic blood pressure, BMI, glycated hemoglobin, smoking status, and cholesterol recorded at the beginning of the study and 12 months later.
Their health information was used to calculate their cardiometabolic risk score (CRS), where a higher number indicates a higher risk of the disease.
The experts found workplace interventions had no “significant” overall impact on participants’ CRS.
However, they noted it reduced the CRS in those who had a higher baseline cardiovascular disease risk.
Participants who had a reduction lowered their CRS the equivalent of knocking 5.5 to 10.3 years off their age.
Staff over the age of 45 with a higher CRS were more likely to benefit.
Professor Orfeu Buxton, director of the Sleep, Health & Society Collaboratory at Penn State, said: “The intervention was designed to change the culture of the workplace over time with the intention of reducing conflict between employees’ work and personal lives and ultimately improving their health.
“Now we know such changes can improve employee health and should be more broadly implemented.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker