The Daily Telegraph

Home working ‘increases risk of depression and dementia’

- By Eir Nolsøe and Tim Wallace

WORKING from home can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of illnesses like depression, heart disease and dementia, a report has claimed.

Researcher­s from behavioura­l change consultanc­y Mindgym and non-profit the Longevity Forum warned that constant remote work could worsen workers’ health.

In a paper on workplace well-being, researcher­s write: “Isolation corrodes our energy and well-being, weakening our immune system and putting us at greater risk of anxiety, depression and cognitive decline.

“Spending a lot of time alone even increases our risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, dementia, Alzheimer’s and death.

“On the other hand, spending time with people we like, and who like and respect us, has all sorts of health benefits, from boosting our immune system and perception­s of stress, to reducing our risk of anxiety, depression and physical illness.” The conclusion­s were drawn from a number of peer-reviewed studies and consultati­on with major employers over three years.

Mindgym consulted 62pc of companies in the FTSE 100 and 59pc of the S&P 100 in the US on how to improve employee outcomes and manage workforces.

Separately, welfare reforms encouragin­g more people into work could save as much as £4bn in a boost for Jeremy

Hunt as he prepares for the Autumn Statement. Under proposals under consultati­on that are likely to be confirmed in the Chancellor’s fiscal update next week, it will become harder for people to claim disability benefits and more new claimants will be required to show they are trying to find a job.

The changes to the work capability assessment may leave some recipients on universal credit alone, rather than receiving an additional £390 per month.

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