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25 Jul 2022
by Carmelita Lubos

5 ways to support employee wellness when they are hybrid working

From stress to feelings of isolation, some employees have found that working from home has had a negative effect on their wellbeing. Here’s how employers can help

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In 2020, millions of workers suddenly faced new challenges due to the overnight shift to remote working. Today, hybrid working models have become more common as companies encourage employees to return to the office as least some of the time.

In fact, a survey found that nearly 60% of UK business leaders believe hybrid working increases profitability.

But what is the impact of this new working model on wellness? Hybrid working has been around for years, but never on such a global scale.

How is hybrid working affecting wellness?

According to a recent study of hybrid workers:

• 31 % reported difficulty switching off from work. Having to juggle your work and home lives can make it difficult to turn off your working brain. The living room or bedroom might be your workers’ workspace, making it hard to switch off.

• 24% reported increased stress levels. Many employees work excessive hours at home and engage in unhealthy working practices, such as leaveism.

• 7% felt isolated as a result. As a downside of hybrid working, employees will have fewer opportunities to interact, such as talking at the water cooler or sharing a coffee. This leaves workers feeling cut off from their colleagues and coworkers feeling isolated.
In light of these figures, now is the time to adjust your employee wellness programme to meet hybrid workers’ needs.

Taking care of hybrid employees

Every employee deserves equal attention for their wellbeing, regardless of where they work.

For a hybrid model, we recommend prioritising employee wellness as follows:

1. Give them the tools they need

Since a lot has changed during the last few years, you might want to review your employee wellbeing policies to include your hybrid teams. Providing everyone with the sequipment to do their work, wherever they want to work, might be one way to achieve this.

The right software and laptops are essential, but an environment that supports physical health is also necessary for your employees. This might include:

• A stand keeps the laptop at the right height for good posture
• An appropriate height desk
• Adjustable chairs with lumbar support
• Ergonomic keyboard and mouse to minimise the risk of RSI
• Attachable wrist supports
• A footrest

Additionally, keep track of and improve the wellbeing of your employees by providing them with resources. Learning materials can be personalised for your employees based on their personal data with a holistic wellbeing app such as HealthHero's Symbio.

2. Demonstrate trust

You must show employees that you trust them to work from home. The more you show empathy, the more they will know that you value their circumstances and see them as individuals.

It takes time to build trust but just a second to destroy it. HR leaders believe that employers can help build trust in a variety of ways, including:

• Establishing clear expectations

• Assessing employee performance based on output rather than hours

• Embracing vulnerability

3. Maintain open communication channels

Hybrid workers face many communication challenges, so employers need to provide them with the tools they need to communicate effectively.

One in five remote workers suffers from loneliness. Working in the office eases this a bit, but feelings of isolation persist.

Encourage positive social interactions by:

• Having regular virtual catch-ups and happy hours

• Giving employees a buddy to talk to

• Monthly in-person get-togethers to introduce office staff and remote workers.

• Setting up virtual quizzes and discussions.

4. Support a better work-life balance

Working long hours can lead to poor cardiovascular and mental health. Conversely, flexible hours and schedules are beneficial. Therefore, employers must support a healthy work-life balance for their hybrid employees.

In a survey, 42% of employees report healthier work-life balance due to hybrid work. Even so, employers can still find ways to reduce the amount of work that interferes with their employees’ free time. Here are a few ways to accomplish this:

• Working only during scheduled hours

• Breaking regularly throughout the day

• Setting up routines for remote work in a similar way to office work

• Promote healthy habits such as eating well, drinking more water and taking a lunchtime walk

5. Communicate with employees

Reach out to your employees physically or digitally if you feel they would benefit from extra help. To support their wellbeing, you may provide additional resources in-person such as a healthy eating programme, sleep advice, or access to healthcare to treat a specific condition.

Hybrid working is here to stay

Among those surveyed by Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, 53% say they have considered a transition to hybrid working in the next year. Keeping this in mind, you need to incorporate new ways of working into your employee wellness efforts.

Your employees will thrive if you respect their situations, including the stresses and strains they face.

In partnership with HealthHero

HealthHero's a digital health provider that brings together human expertise and digital convenience.

Contact us today