Hybrid working models are changing the nature of employee burnout and disengagement. Working from home, if not adequately supported, can exacerbate isolation and presenteeism among employees working from home.
Hybrid working requires a complete shift in workplace policy, tools and culture. As the pandemic has shown, a rigid work culture and pressure to work long hours can push even those working from home to reduce their hours or leave their jobs.
Blurred Boundaries Between Home and Work Hours
When you’ve just got stuck into responding to emails and putting those final touches on a big project, it can be so tempting to keep working well after work hours. Easy access to work laptops and work emails on your smartphone can quite easily lead to an ‘always on’ mindset. And for working parents and mums who spend their workday fielding requests from children, the pressure to work into the night and on weekends can be overwhelming.
The Solution: Regularly remind (and demonstrate to) staff that flexible working doesn’t mean work all the time by mandating a hybrid working policy that discourages emails and phone calls outside of work hours. Many employers have started to offer subsidised childcare to working parents, for whom there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to both parent and work full time.
Lack of Division between Home and Work Space
We’re all guilty of treating various parts of the house like extended workspaces. But when your dining table becomes your desk and your bedroom turns into your call room, the lines between leisure and work understandably begin to blur. The areas of your house meant to be designated zones of calm and comfort instead trigger feelings of work and increased anxiety.
The Solution: Encourage your employees to set up a desk or workstation in a designated area that is less often associated with leisure. Many employers now offer home office equipment reimbursements to hybrid workers in consideration of the savings associated with reduced overhead and employee burnout costs.
A Culture of Endless Meetings
It’s no secret that many managers have an unconscious bias that employees racing to get back into the office are more dedicated and productive than their peers. Such thinking can lead to the setting up of excessive virtual meetings for remote and hybrid workers. Such a work environment can take a toll on employee morale and engagement, having an opposite effect on productivity. That said, it is understandable that not being able to physically watch over employees as they work from home can be anxiety-inducing for some managers.
The Solution: Hybrid working models require trusting in employees to get things done. Team-based collaboration and task management tools like Asana and Trello encourage a results-oriented work culture while enabling managers to indirectly keep track of team performance. To combat meeting overload, many employers are mandating a hybrid working policy of meeting-free days.
As teams transition back into the office, the potential for reduced employee turnover and heightened performance is stronger than ever with hybrid working. Employers who set unrealistic deadlines and workloads will continue to struggle with retaining high-performing employees. While those who invest in the right employee support structures, which encourage a flexible balance of work with family obligations and life responsibilities, stand to gain their pick of the best talent and outperform their peers.