Hybrid working is here to stay, and maybe it's not such a bad thing.
As it turns out, hybrid working is really beneficial to both employees and employers. Not only are employees happier, healthier and fitter, they are also more productive and produce higher quality work than their office-going colleagues.
Below we will discuss the effect hybrid working has had on employees and their wellbeing, whether hybrid workers really are happier, and what leaders can do to manage hybrid worker wellbeing.
What is a Hybrid Worker?
A hybrid worker is someone who splits their time between working in an office and working outside the office.
By definition, hybrid workers can work wherever they like when they are not in the office, but most work from home.
To become a hybrid worker, one must work outside the office at least one day a week. The exact days an employee can work from home differ depending on the organisation and job role. But the majority of hybrid workers find themselves working two days at home and three in the office.
What is the Purpose of Hybrid Working?
Hybrid working offers employees a flexible working approach that supports employees' work schedules. The flexibility allows employees to choose where and when to work, providing a better and more attractive work-life balance.
The flexible working model isn't just great for employees. Adopting hybrid working helps to ignite employee engagement and drives employee productivity. Helping the organisation's culture and bottom line.
How Does Hybrid Working Affect Employees?
As hybrid working has become a widespread working model, researchers around the world have studied the impact working from home has on employees. And as you might expect, working from home can be extremely beneficial. From reduced commuting costs to getting a better night's sleep, there are many benefits for those working from home offices.
In fact, one of the most recent studies looked at the impact working from home (WFH) has on a hybrid worker's wellbeing. The global study suggested that hybrid workers are not only happier than their office-going colleagues, but they are fitter and healthier too.
Is Hybrid Working Improving Employee Wellbeing?
Employee wellbeing has been a top priority for employers and HR leaders for some time now. With over 70% of employees experiencing high levels of stress and around 15% of employees developing mental health problems, employee wellbeing is too important to ignore.
Most employers have now taken the next step in supporting their people by offering wellbeing benefits. Introducing wellbeing programs and even allowing employees to take mental health days are steps in the right direction. But as working conditions and behaviours change, is hybrid working the next step in improving employee wellbeing?
A study of over 2000 employees conducted by IWG gave exciting insights into the wellbeing benefits of the average hybrid worker. On top of working from the comforts of your own home, hybrid employees are also benefiting from saving time on their daily commute.
The biggest benefits experienced by hybrid workers are:
A healthier and fitter lifestyle
On average, the hybrid worker has 1.3 more hours of exercise a week than their colleagues.
A better night's sleep
As well as more time to exercise, the average hybrid worker is sleeping for longer. Now this one is obvious, everyone likes a lie-in, but did you know the additional time in bed adds up to an additional three days of sleep a year?
Healthier eating habits
IWG also revealed that those working from home eat healthier. In fact, over 70% of hybrid workers have the time to prepare a healthy breakfast each day, and over 50% of candidates
cook a nutritious meal each week.
As it turns out, these aren't the only benefits of hybrid working. In fact, most recent studies suggest that hybrid and remote workers aren't just healthier; they're happier too.
Why are Hybrid Workers Happier?
There are many benefits when it comes to hybrid working, but below are some of the most recognisable and familiar benefits experienced by hybrid workers.
Maintaining a good work-life balance can be difficult when you spend the majority of your time in the office. Making the switch to hybrid working helps to improve the work-life balance. Being closer to home, spending more time with family and having the flexibility to work where you please greatly benefit employees.
The flexibility of hybrid working profoundly affects employees' mental wellbeing. Over 50% of employees working from home claim to be less stressed than they were previously. Workplace stress is one of the biggest problems regarding workers' mental health. Reducing stress and, therefore, chances of burnout is a win-win for both employees and employers.
Lack of commute
One of the biggest benefits of working from home is less time spent travelling to work. As we know, hybrid employees are getting fit and healthier by reducing their commute, but they're happier too. The average employee saves 72 minutes a day when they work from home. This gives employees more time to pursue hobbies and other interests, which improves their overall wellbeing.
What are the Downsides to Hybrid Working
The benefits brought on by working from home are undeniably great and it is a strong advertisement for flexible working. But what about other elements of working from home? Are there any drawbacks to working away from the office?
In truth, there are few drawbacks to working from home, but there are some reasons why you still might want to go into the office.
Although online collaboration tools like Teams, Google Workplace and Zoom are great, many employers have suggested that employees that WFH miss in-person conversations and collaboration. To resolve issues surrounding hybrid and remote employee loneliness, employers must make more of an effort to bring teams together. Social events, celebrations, and employee benefits are all ways to reduce employee loneliness.
Despite being a benefit to hybrid working, working from home can also have its drawbacks. When you work where you are meant to relax, it can be difficult to shut off for some people. This can lead to employees working late hours, increased stress and eventually burnout.
How to Manage and Support Hybrid Workers' Wellbeing
Managing hybrid employees' wellbeing is somewhat of a challenge compared to those working in the office each day. It is easier for hybrid workers to slip under the radar and go unchecked. But there are many things employers can implement to ensure this doesn't happen.
Employee wellbeing benefits
There are a number of ways to support employee wellbeing, regardless of their working schedule. Wellbeing benefits such as employee assistance programs are incredible tools that help to support employee's mental, financial and physical wellbeing. Employees utilising the benefit have access to 24/7 professional counselling, which is vital for employees in need.
When managing employee wellbeing remotely, communication is key. Whether it is daily, weekly or every month, getting on a one-to-one call with hybrid and remote workers is crucial. This allows employers to identify how an employee is doing and is there to resolve any issues they may have.
Listening to employees is also essential when it comes to wellbeing. Surveys are great tools to identify any issues, problems or advice employees may have. Wellbeing surveys can give employers a clear view of how each employee is feeling, and they can therefore take action if needed.