Considerations for Supporting Employee Wellbeing in a Hybrid Working Model
The workplace is evolving, and the definition of “workplace” is continually evolving along with it. A model in which physical, psychological and virtual workplaces are increasingly intertwined and interdependent advocates for the creation of environments that support healthier and more meaningful lives, for individuals and communities at work, home, and play.
Employees operating within a hybrid working model tend to experience high levels of job satisfaction and organisational commitment, however, this isn’t a given if the work environment is not well-designed.
It's no longer just about getting your employees to turn up to their desks at 9am. Instead, it's about creating an environment where people can be happy and productive, wherever they are. While this may sound like a utopian dream, there are some simple steps employers can take to ensure their people feel supported in a hybrid working model.
Below are some of the wellbeing challenges of hybrid work models:
Isolation and Loneliness: Face-to-face social interaction declines with a hybrid work model, which can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, where employees can experience a sense of disconnection from colleagues and the organisation at large.
Blurred Boundaries and Burnout: Employees may feel overwhelmed by the constant need to communicate and collaborate online, to prove their value and engagement with their team or employer. They may not know what is expected of them in terms of availability, communication, or work outcomes, where boundaries are blurred between work and personal life. This can cause stress and anxiety and can eventually lead to digital fatigue and burnout.
Reduced Support: Without regular in-person interactions, employees may not receive the same level of support from colleagues or managers, which can lead to mistakes being made and/or employees feeling a lack of guidance.
Unequal Treatment: Those who work remotely may feel excluded from decision-making or that they are treated differently from their in-office colleagues.
The effects of a hybrid working model on employee wellbeing will vary depending on the individual. However, there are some factors to consider when constructing or managing your hybrid model, to ensure you create an environment conducive to wellbeing.
Considerations for constructing a hybrid work model that supports wellbeing:
Pause and Assess: Regularly assess the impact of your hybrid working model on employee wellbeing. Take time to evaluate how you're doing as an employer – what works well? What could be improved? Are employees feeling supported or unsupported? And if not, why not? If you don't know the answers to these questions, ask! You may be surprised by what you find out. You might even want to start by having an open conversation about any concerns your employees have raised so far (or indeed any concerns they have which may not have been voiced yet). Once you know what needs improving, take action towards rectifying those issues.
Set Clear Expectations: Establish guidelines for remote work, such as availability expectations and communication protocols. Providing clear expectations for remote work can help employees feel more in control of their work and significantly reduce stress levels.
Encourage Healthy Boundary Setting: Encourage employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. This may include setting healthy, respectful boundaries around working hours and projects. Simply encouraging your people to breaks and empowering them to make decisions about the way they work can go a long way to creating an environment where people feel supported, cared for and motivated.
Foster Social Connections: Your employees need to feel that they’re still part of the team and that they have access to the same resources as their colleagues. The reason is simple: people are happier when they have colleagues who can be relied upon for support and encouragement. Communication is key, along with providing sufficient opportunities for virtual and in-person social interactions, such as team building activities, workshops and and informal meetings.
Utilise a Wellness Program: A Wellness Program is an always-on solution to support employee’s wellbeing, no matter if they’re office or remote based. It can include a blend of team-based and individual initiatives and activities, such as challenges, interactive workshops, or virtual fitness classes, that create a sense of community and support employee wellbeing and engagement. Speak to us about how we can support your people with a Wellness Program: firstname.lastname@example.org
Regularly assessing the impact of your hybrid working model on employee wellbeing can help you to adjust your approach and environment as necessary, to ensure a positive work environment for all. By constructing work in a hybrid world that prioritises wellbeing, you’ll see a shift towards a more sustainable “workplace” that fosters engagement, job satisfaction and productivity.
Speak to our friendly Libratum team about how we can support the wellbeing of your people: email@example.com