As businesses look to attract outside talent and boost their employer brand, hybrid working is becoming a top consideration. But what’s the impact on employee wellbeing?
There’s no hiding from it – employees want more freedom, choice and flexibility. And for good reason! The last few years have proved that flexible working can be successful in many cases, and many organisations are seeing the benefits of a more agile workforce.
It’s no surprise that more small businesses are embracing a hybrid approach. Hybrid working combines the benefits of remote work and in-person collaboration, but it brings a bunch of new opportunities and challenges for employers and employees.
Hybrid working is an excellent way to attract candidates, engage current staff and provide a flexible working setup that so many people crave. What’s more, your teams can enhance their work-life balance, have more control over work hours and be more productive.
Sounds amazing for employee wellbeing, right?
Well, it can be, but here’s the thing: the line between work and personal life is getting blurry. Plus, taking care of employee wellness can be difficult when they’re not in the office full-time.
So, a solid workplace wellness scheme is essential.
Why is employee wellness important for hybrid working?
Teams can face unique challenges like increased isolation, a lack of boundaries between work and personal life, and less social interaction when they work in a hybrid setup. So, taking care of health and wellbeing at work should be a top priority.
By prioritising wellness in a hybrid work environment, you’re helping employees tackle stress, stay healthy and avoid burnout. When staff feel their wellbeing is valued, they’re also more likely to be motivated and engaged.
Hybrid working and recruitment
Let’s not forget that investing in employee wellness can also positively impact recruitment and retention.
A hybrid working study from Access revealed that over half (59%) of people said they were mostly happy. And we all know happier teams are more engaged, productive and likelier to stick around. Offering flexible working and showing you care about employee wellbeing also goes down really well with potential candidates.
However, the same study found that 41% of hybrid workers were unhappy or feeling depressed, which highlights the importance of taking care of your employees’ wellbeing.
6 ways to manage your hybrid workforce’s wellbeing
Keep teams connected
We all want to feel included at work, whether we’re in the office or working from home. It’s super important to find the right balance and make sure communication stays open and transparent, no matter where your teams are located.
Make sure your employees have what they need to stay connected with collaboration tools like Slack or Teams. Also, encourage regular team meetings and video calls so remote members have the same access to company info, updates and chances to engage with coworkers.
By making everyone feel included and keeping them in the loop about company news, you can create a strong wellbeing culture at work.
Provide a positive and relaxed workspace
A well-designed workspace can make a huge difference in reducing stress and boosting productivity. Coworking spaces can be a great option as they provide the flexibility small businesses need for hybrid working.
Here are some typical coworking office elements that support employee wellness:
- Lots of natural light
- Communal areas to socialise
- Quiet spaces for focused work
- A kitchen with healthy drinks and snacks
- A pooch-friendly environment
- Mixed work areas to suit different work styles
- Cool décors like a splash of colour or plants; everyone loves a pot plant!
When they’re not in the office, provide staff with the resources and support to create a comfortable home office setup. You could even arrange wellness initiatives like virtual fitness challenges or mental health workshops.
Balance workloads and expectations
Managing workloads and setting realistic expectations are crucial to prevent burnout. This is particularly important for remote workers who may struggle to switch off from work and separate it from their home life.
Promote good health and wellbeing at work by setting clear expectations when it comes to what needs to be delivered, deadlines and priorities.
And remember to have regular check-ins with your team, whether in person or virtually, to discuss workload distribution, provide support and ensure everyone has a healthy work-life balance. Listen to your team members’ needs and encourage them to take breaks when necessary.
Offer training and support
Signs of poor mental health or wellbeing may be trickier to spot in a hybrid environment. So, equip leaders with the resources they need to understand the possible impact of hybrid working and manage workplace wellness.
Wellbeing training can also be extended to the rest of the team to help them take care of their work-life balance and wellbeing.
Providing opportunities for professional growth and career progression through training programmes is also a way to increase workplace satisfaction and wellbeing. Regularly check in with employees to understand their career aspirations and provide the necessary support to help them succeed.
Keep up engagement
As we’ve mentioned, open communication is important for boosting employee wellbeing. But it’s also crucial to keep your hybrid workforce engaged. After all, employee engagement and retention are closely linked; team members who feel connected to their job are more likely to stay with their organisation.
Ways to drum up engagement include:
- Nurturing a positive and inclusive work culture
- Encouraging team members to support one another
- Celebrating and rewarding achievements
- Arranging in-person and virtual social events
- Supporting autonomy and flexible working hours
- Creating a safe space for employees to share concerns
- Offering wellbeing classes like yoga or meditation.
Check adoption and engagement
Offering employee wellness initiatives is a fantastic way to ramp up engagement and productivity, all while taking care of your hybrid workforce’s wellbeing. But are they being used? And, if not, why?
Regularly ask your teams what’s working well and what’s not. What would they love to see as part of the programme? What initiatives would they actually value and use? This way, you can continuously monitor, adapt and update your employee wellbeing programme to ensure it’s right for your people.