In 2020, the pandemic disrupted long-established office working routines, forcing many companies to navigate their way through the challenges of remote working such as measuring employee engagement. Many industries discovered the positives of remote working and have subsequently introduced some form of flexible working into their workplace culture, after realising that a hybrid working model can benefit both employees and their business.
Why Is Hybrid Working a Benefit for Employees?
It is not possible for all employers to offer hybrid working. However, for those with roles that an employee can carry out from home, at least some of the time, then hybrid working can be a great option for a variety of reasons. Employees can concentrate better in a less distracting environment (when the kids are at school!) and can also save money on travel costs and gain time and energy that would otherwise be spent commuting. This has, in many cases, improved their work-life balance and overall productivity, and has been great for employee health and wellbeing.
Prioritising Employee Health and Wellbeing Encourages Productivity
An organisation is only as good as the people it employs. By prioritising employee health and wellbeing, your employees feel valued, meaning they are more likely to work as efficiently as possible. Companies can boost employee happiness and morale by engaging with staff to promote healthier lifestyles both at work and at home.
Happy employees are less likely to make mistakes, take sick days or leave their jobs entirely. Given the number of companies that now encourage flexible working and apply a greater emphasis to employee wellbeing in their benefits package, it’s important to update your own company’s position to remain a competitive and attractive employer.
How Does Hybrid Working Affect Employee Engagement?
If implemented well, a hybrid work model can increase employee engagement. Hybrid working provides flexibility and empowers people to work in ways that suit them best. Teams can meet in the office to work more effectively for collaborative projects and individuals can work from home on tasks that require concentration. Engaged employees typically take greater pride in their performance, receive more positive feedback, and will speak well of their employers, so getting these things right can be beneficial for employers too.
Agreed days in the office and at home each week are recommended for optimal employee engagement as colleagues can plan their hybrid working patterns to engage with each other as effectively as possible. Ultimately, employees are more likely to experience burnout if they feel like their personal lives are suffering, so taking steps to avoid a toxic workplace, or asking too much of employees is vital to the success of hybrid working.
What Can Companies Do to Promote Health and Wellbeing When Staff Are Working From Home?
Companies need to ensure that remote workers have all the equipment and software they need to work at full capacity. Employers should also encourage staff to conduct a robust working from home self-assessment to minimise any health and safety issues, such as ensuring monitors are at the correct height and that there is sufficient lighting and space.
Scheduling regular virtual catchups for those in the office and those at home ensures team bonding and reduces feelings of isolation. Encouraging employees to take regular breaks is a great way to reduce the chances of remote-working fatigue (staff often feel they can’t be ‘away’ from their desk). Staff will also appreciate a workload that is manageable; unrealistic targets and time pressures can result in employees becoming frustrated and prone to making mistakes, reducing productivity and morale.
Promoting a healthy work-life balance is an effective way to prevent workforce burnout. It is vital to ensure a culture of overworking isn’t ignored or encouraged. Remote workers often have a tendency to work longer hours and take shorter breaks than their in-office colleagues. They may worry about a perception of them ‘slacking off’ because they are out of sight, so they have a tendency to overcompensate by staying late or making themselves available outside conventional working hours.
Employee Surveys Can Provide Vital Real-Time Information
Given that hybrid working reduces valuable gossip and grumbles by the water cooler, employers can greatly benefit from obtaining honest employee feedback via employee surveys. Companies like WorkBuzz can help employers understand and manage employee health and wellbeing by providing a tailored and intuitive employee engagement platform. This is particularly valuable when it comes to implementing hybrid working models. Employers can seek real-time feedback from their employees regarding how they feel about their work, hybrid-working preferences, and how they feel about their employer.
Organisations who have already implemented, or are considering introducing a hybrid working model, need to make sure their employees are happy with the idea of working remotely and feel involved in any decisions. These insights can guide management decisions and make it easier to get the best out of your employees.