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Remote work as dangerous as smoking to health of UK workers

Working from home is as dangerous to the health of UK workers as smoking, according to new research from private healthcare company Bupa.

Almost a fifth (19%) of people working from home are exercising less as a result sitting down more, increasing the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and blood clots.

Just under a third (31%) of workers are eating more at home, and 15% admitted to drinking more alcohol since the start of the pandemic.

Remote working affecting health:

Continued home working risks physical health

WFH is increasing incidence of employee burnout

Employee health already decreasing due to remote working

As almost half (48%) of people said they haven't visited a GP in the past year and 60% said they haven't had a dental check, Robin Clark, medical director for Bupa Global & UK, shared concerns about the public's health.

Speaking to HR magazine, Clark said: "For those still putting their health on the back burner or delaying medical appointments, it’s time to act and pick up the phone.

"Though it may be daunting, getting back on the road to improved health and wellbeing can only be a good thing."

The research showed that weight (33%) was more of a concern for those surveyed than mental health (24%). 

The pandemic played its part in more people living a more sedentary lifestyle and the report showed that people are still struggling to get active. 

Of the adults surveyed, 31% said their fitness was poor. Those aged between 35 and 44 were the most likely to claim they were unfit.

Clark added: "Instead of criticising yourself for indulging in unhealthy food or not getting out for some exercise, set your mind to a small, achievable goal that will make you feel good. 

"Positive thinking strategies can be a great starting point for those looking to make lifestyle changes. All too often, people have a negative inner voice and hold themselves to unachievably high standards."

Bupa's Wellbeing Index surveyed 8,185 UK adults during March 2022.