Linking to our round table event on 10th August to talk about the challenges and solutions of Hybrid Working, guest blogger Marga Oakley looks at Understanding the Factors that Contribute to Employee Burnout in the Hybrid Workplace.
The discussion on hybrid working has become increasingly prevalent. While major companies are expecting their employees back at their desks as soon as possible, more than 66% of businesses still offer a remote working model, according to the British Chambers of Commerce. This initiative would complement a survey that showed 77% of UK employees would prefer a mix of office-based and remote working.
However, hybrid working is not a perfect solution. Rather than offering the best of both worlds, it can actually exacerbate the worst of both if not carefully planned. Maintaining a positive hybrid work model must first begin with identifying the factors that are working against their employees.
A break-averse mindset
The struggle to maintain workloads and manage working hours has been exacerbated by an “always on” mindset. This is in direct response to feeling monitored online and to dissuade ideas that they’re “taking it easy”. This overcompensation has even amounted to £24 billion worth of unpaid overtime among Britons. However this is counterproductive, with Verizon Connect detailing that our brains can normally only focus for a 90-minute period before drifting off. In hybrid working, it’s important to communicate the importance of taking a break. As an employer, you must clarify that your employees will not be judged or penalised for taking a breather. If you can, try scheduling a brain break within your company calendar.
As employees’ virtual touchpoints increase, they are at higher risk for distraction and cognitive strain. Ironically, a Gartner report finds that while 75% of HR leaders agree that excessive virtualisation is cause for burnout, 83% of these decision makers are also the prime supporters of virtual touchpoints. Though the intent is good (to encourage collaboration and communication), the digital interface can be exhausting. If anything, these will only allow for digital distractions to seep through. Rather than providing standardised virtual tools, look for customised learning solutions to help your company adapt sustainably. For instance, as employees begin to divide their time between home and the office, it may be helpful to take a Premier course on Building Resilience and Personal Stress Management. This allows you to develop a more specific approach that gives your employees more support with less online demand.
While the UK has some of the highest vaccination rates globally, that hasn’t dampened fears of COVID-19. In fact, 70% of Londoners have said they feel uncomfortable commuting to work via public transportation. On top of this, commuting is among the top three employee worries. While most in senior positions may be able to afford private vehicles, these will likely be too costly for the average worker. Before you begin to roll out hybrid work policies, see how your company can leverage a smart mobility ecosystem. This means your employees will have access to various modes of tech-empowered travel to suit their preferences without compromising safety, budget, or productivity. Ride-sharing programs fall into this category, as well as alternative modes of transportation such as cycling and autonomous vehicles. You’ll need to consider if your city has access to any of these — if not, your employees might be better off sticking to a fully-remote arrangement.
Lack of work/life balance
Just as more businesses were unprepared for rapid digitalisation, so were employees’ personal lives. As a matter of fact, Google data showed a 24% rise in searches for burnout symptoms. Many UK employees felt they were unable to separate their private and professional roles, and therefore had to overextend themselves. Many have expressed that their employers have not offered ways to improve this issue. This problem will only worsen come hybrid working, as the routines of 2020 will have to be adjusted again. Help your employees regain control over their lives by offering flexible hours and office days. By doing so, you are giving them the chance to prioritise their home life, while also getting assurance that you have their full attention on office days.
While hybrid working comes with many advantages, it’s important to involve your employees as you rebuild work models. Not only does this assure their compliance and comfort, but it also gains you insights on what will work and what will not.
A blog post by Marga Oakley
Exclusively for Premier Partnership
You can still book onto our round table event – Tuesday 10th August 2021 from 2pm – 3pm.
Book your free ticket HERE