Workplace flexibility may support cardiovascular health

A stethoscope is shown in front of medical data.

Through the Work, Family and Health Network intervention, researchers found that introducing flexibility into the workplace supported the cardiovascular health of adults ages 45 and older and for those who had increased cardiovascular disease risks. 

Through a 12-month program, hundreds of adults from two industries – information technology and long-term care – participated in workplace wellness training. This included identifying ways organizations could support flexible scheduling and enabling supervisors and employees to eliminate or phase out low-value tasks. Before and after the intervention, employees participated in cardiovascular health screenings. Six metrics, including blood pressure, blood sugar, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, body weight, and tobacco use, were computed into one cardiovascular disease risk score. 

At the end of the study, adults in the program didn’t see significant cardiovascular health improvements. However, a subset of participants – older adults and those with increased cardiovascular risks – did. These benefits were comparable to taking five to 10 years off of their cardiovascular age. 

The study published in the American Journal of Public Health and was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health.