Can hybrid working impact staff wellbeing?
Policies focused on staff working locations have changed so much in recent years that some employees have been doing a logistical Hokey Cokey as they switched between working from home and on-site. As companies settle into what they hope will be a more long-term pattern, we’ve seen the rise of hybrid working.
What is hybrid working?
The term covers arrangements where staff are located on-site for some of their working hours, completing the remainder at home. For some businesses, there will be complete flexibility in terms of the proportion of hours worked in each location, whereas other managers will define a set pattern for their teams. It’s estimated around 25% of working days will be completed remotely as a result – compared to just 5% pre-Covid.
In theory, the arrangement gives employees the best of both worlds – the ability to stay at home, reduce commuting time and get work done without distractions, while still being able to integrate into their team, work collaboratively with colleagues and attend meetings face to face rather than relying on video calls every time.
It’s important to ensure that any digital wellbeing policies and practices you’ve got in place are actually effective for those adopting a hybrid working model. There’s little use being focused solely on in-house or at-home strategies for better relationships with technology if this doesn’t mesh with how staff are actually working.
More than half of remote workers report working longer hours, with a quarter saying they work at least 10 extra hours a week. As an employer, how can you ensure hybrid staff feel able to stop and walk away from their work at the end of the day?
The phrase ‘Zoom fatigue’ rose to prominence during the pandemic, describing some employees’ unhappiness at having to log in to multiple video calls per day. Hybrid teams need to decide whether meetings will be held virtually, in-person, or a mix of the two, depending on where and when staff are working.
How do you retain a positive working culture, which promotes healthy tech relationships, if you’re not in the same place for the entire week? Digital wellbeing should ideally be on the agenda for both team and one-to-one meetings to ensure problems are flagged up at the earliest opportunity.
Hybrid working can see team members logging on and off at different times, depending on their commute (or lack of), and whether they’ve been given the flexibility to choose their own working hours. In this case, it’s essential that employees don’t feel the need to answer emails or pick up calls immediately (unless it’s an emergency) and that both internal and external contacts understand working patterns and respect them.
Specifying people within your company who will focus on digital wellbeing helps ensure it’s given the time and thought needed – and that’s why at techtimeout we provide specialist training focused around exactly that. If digital wellbeing is a fairly new concept for you, and you’d like to find out more about why it’s so important, and the impact of technology upon your employees (and business as a whole), then do download our free guide.