Your employees are your greatest assets, and as so, minding their mental well-being should be the top agenda, especially in this era where stress and anxiety are at the highest. Ultimately, when your employees are healthy mentally, they are in the best shape to work and collaborate with colleagues. They are also highly engaged, which improves work motivation and satisfaction as well as reduces absenteeism. This translates to improved productivity and better work results.
As an employer, there is so much that you can do to care for the mental health of your workers. But, could hybrid working be the way to go to improve mental health at work? Read on to find out.
How does hybrid work contribute to better mental health?
Ideally, hybrid working involves employees working at home on some days and at the office for the rest of the workdays in a workweek. This kind of arrangement comes with some advantages that contribute positively to their mental health. They include:
- Increased flexibility – Employees have more control of their schedules when working from home. Without the confinement of a 9-5 schedule and commute time eliminated, they are in a better position to maintain personal connections with friends and family, do what they love such as painting, get out in nature, and even exercise.
- Improved work satisfaction – Hybrid working gives employees independence when working at home and the choice to decide when to check into the office or work from home. These two are key drivers for improved morale and job satisfaction.
- Increased productivity – Most people find it easier to concentrate and focus on their work when working from home without the distractions from colleagues, impromptu meetings, and the like. Additionally, not having to commute to the office means less time wasted and more time working on solo projects. Employees feel positive and accomplished when they get things done.
Limitations of hybrid work on mental health
On the other hand, hybrid working also poses some disadvantages to an employee’s mental wellbeing. For starters, working from home can get lonely at times. Without the ability to connect with colleagues, feelings of isolation can lead to stress. Additionally, working from home can lead to longer working hours and difficulties to switch off from work.
Employees might find it best to use the time they would have otherwise used for commuting to catch up on work or reply to emails. The downside of this is that it makes them work longer and reduces the time for relaxation. This can be a recipe for exhaustion and burnout, which can increase stress.
Another disadvantage of hybrid working is that most employers tend to micromanage people working remotely. Moreover, employees are less efficient when they feel like they are being watched. And, they are likely to feel stressed when they have underperformed.
How to improve mental health in a hybrid work setup
Hybrid working comes with pros and cons as shown above. However, you have an opportunity to improve hybrid working and ensure that your employees’ mental wellbeing is taken care of.
Create a supportive workplace – Rather than imposing the rule on which days employees should work from home or office, it is important to listen to the employees. Give dialogue a chance and allow them to air their opinions on the schedule that fits them the most.
Outsource some functions – Outsourcing reduces your employees’ workloads, allowing more time to be productive on tasks that matter the most. Additionally, payroll outsourcing can help ensure timely and accurate salaries regardless of whether the employee is working from home or from the office. Delayed and inaccurate salaries can be stressful to employees, and outsourcing helps mitigate this.
Encourage connections – Create opportunities where employees meet physically or virtually for water cooler conversations, or to just collaborate on projects. In addition, ensure that you check in with those working remotely to reduce isolation and loneliness. You can have virtual social platforms where different conversations can be going on for all workers throughout the day.
Employees’ mental health is paramount for the growth of any organization. Moreover, hybrid working presents an opportunity to improve mental health at work. By allowing freedom, flexibility, and independence, employees can be highly productive and satisfied. However, you have a task to promote connectedness to reduce feelings of loneliness. Opening dialogue lines also go a long way in enhancing mental health in hybrid working.