Last week we celebrated Mental Health Awareness Week. The theme was loneliness and making more meaningful connections so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk more about this and explore the benefits of hybrid working and the impact this can have on employee wellbeing.
Loneliness in the workplace
Loneliness can affect us all at different times of our life, but when it comes to being lonely at work it is an employer’s duty to make sure that there are processes in place to ensure employees are looked after.
A recent study by Mental Health UK found that 1 in 5 workers feel lonely at work on a typical working day.
The workplace has changed a lot over the last couple of years and whilst many are adapting to home and hybrid working, it is evident that people still feel isolated and left out when not working in the office.
Hybrid working to improve workplace wellbeing
There are many positives that come from hybrid and flexible working, but the important thing is to remember that not every one of your employees will feel the same, and therefore making sure that you have a plan in place to continually update and improve workplace wellbeing is extremely important.
What is hybrid working?
Hybrid working is a type of flexible working that incorporates different working environments, for example the office or an employee’s home office.
It also includes remote workplaces that people can split their time between such as co-working spaces, homeworking, or other spaces where you can do your job such as hotels or café’s.
Through working with our clients and their employees we have found that the more options you can provide for your company, the more easily everyone can work and therefore you can support better mental health and inclusivity in the workplace.
How can I use hybrid working to improve workplace wellbeing?
Create a culture based on trust and flexibility
When your employees are not in the office with you, there is always an element of trust that needs to be considered.
It is no longer necessary to oversee everything that your team is doing and creating a company culture based on trust and flexibility is a great way to ensure that everyone has the best chance of a good work life balance.
When people can work in a way that suits their lifestyle the best, they are better able to focus on their work and prioritise what needs to be done first.
We have found that by focusing on outcomes instead of a time, place or process, employees are able to deliver their best work and feel like what they are doing is of value.
Provide flexible working patterns
Hybrid working means that employees can work to a schedule that allows them to fit other activities into their day other than just work. Remember when we all started going for walks or doing yoga in our lunch breaks during the first lock down of 2020? For many this was the first introduction to hybrid and flexible working and the benefits have made a big difference to employee wellbeing.
Your employees with children will be able to make daytime school events without worrying or can do the school run instead of thinking about wrap around care.
People who need to make GP appointments won’t have to worry about taking holiday or sick leave but can fit it in around their day instead.
Team members can switch shifts when they need to in order to accommodate appointments outside of work.
Flexible and hybrid working go hand in hand when it comes to improving your employee’s wellbeing, just be sure you have all the correct policies and procedures in place to ensure everyone knows what they can and can’t do.
Lower sickness and absence rates
Showing your employees that you trust them and offering them more working options means that they will be less likely to take time off due to stress, burnout, and poor mental health.
Whilst hybrid working means that employees may be less likely to take time off, it is also important to check in with everyone regularly to make sure that they are still taking breaks and time off when needed.
Communication is key
Hybrid working will only work successfully if you can communicate effectively with your team.
As discussed at the beginning of the blog, many people feel lonely at work, and it is likely that this is due to poor communication.
Effective communication needs to be seen as the responsibility of everyone in the team and exactly how a team needs to communicate will vary depending on its size and the type of hybrid working being undertaken.
Make sure that you have regular one to ones and team meetings to ensure that everyone has regular contact with their managers and colleagues and always ask for feedback.
For any advice on topics discussed in this blog please don’t hesitate to get in touch via our contact page or email email@example.com.