As someone who regularly takes a couple of hours out during a working day to get some miles in on my bike, I was delighted – but not surprised - to learn of some new research that has found taking time out of your working work week to do some exercise may lead to increased productivity - despite the reduction in work hours this entails.
A study published in the August Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine looked at a group of employees at a large Swedish public dental health organization who were assigned to a mandatory 2½ hour exercise program carried out during regular working hours.
A second group received the same reduction in work hours, but no exercise program, while a third worked regular hours with no exercise program.
The researchers, Dr Ulrica von Thiele Schwarz and Dr Henna Hasson, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, found that employees assigned to the exercise program showed significant increases in self-rated measures of productivity. They felt more productive while on the job and had a reduced rate of work absences due to illness.
The productivity gains seem to result from higher output during work hours and fewer missed work day. Drs. von Thiele Schwarz and Hasson conclude, "Work hours may be used for health promotion activities with sustained or improved production levels, since the same, or higher, production level can be achieved with lesser resources."