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As awareness of mental health grows, here are five ways hybrid companies can improve work-life balance and happiness among employees
According to a recent survey of 300 chief executives and senior managers in the UK by global recruitment firm Robert Half, almost 50% of employers were concerned that burnout will become widespread among staff in 2022.
Given that October is the month for #worldmentalhealthday, this is a good time to think about how to boost psychological wellbeing among staff, and set up new ways of doing business to protect people in the future.
In August Nike announced that it was giving head office employees a week off – on full pay – to “power down”, destress and spend time with loved ones. In a post on LinkedIn, Nike’s Senior Manager of global marketing science, Matt Marrazzo, wrote: “In a year (or two) unlike any other, taking time for rest and recovery is key to performing well and staying sane.”
Nike isn’t the only company to recognise the value of enabling people to take time for themselves, suggesting it will become a new corporate wellbeing trend in the hybrid world – and a compelling perk for staff.
Citigroup gave all employees a company-wide paid vacation, calling it a ‘Citi reset day’. Meanwhile, Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder of dating app Bumble, gave all her 700 employees an additional week of paid leave to help them unwind.
Although a bit of time off can be helpful in the short-term, hybrid working is proving a great way to accommodate the psychological needs of 21st-century professionals in the long-term. This is because it empowers them to make choices about their personal and professional lives that work for them and with far less compromise.
1. Reduced commutes
For many people, commuting to and from a city centre office during morning and evening rush hours can be the most stressful parts of the day. When there is nowhere to sit on the train or bus or there are public transport delays and bad weather to contend with, by the time people reach the office their adrenaline and cortisol levels can be extremely elevated.
With the hybrid model, employees have the option of working from home or travelling to a local coworking space or company HQ at a time that suits them better. As a consequence, they will be much calmer throughout the day.
2. Employee check-ins
Sometimes the most beneficial thing for employees is to feel ‘heard’ and cared for. Managers of hybrid teams can arrange one-on-one check-ins with members of staff, either in person or via video call, to discuss what personal responsibilities they are juggling, any pressing financial and work worries they may have, and goals they are striving for. Hopefully, some solutions will be identified in the process as well.
3. Flexspace focus
Working from home all day every day isn’t always good for people’s mental health. According to a poll in February from the Royal Society for Public Health, 67% of people who switched to working from home during the pandemic felt less connected to colleagues, for example.
At the same time, 58% of women felt more isolated (compared to 39% of men). Overall, 56% of people said they found it harder to switch off at the end of the working day.
By using a shared flexspace several days a week, staff have the chance to be around other people, get a change of scene, and create more of a distinction between work-life and downtime. In fact, recent IWG research revealed that 60% of office workers said hybrid working had improved their mental health.
4. Tactical meet-ups
Bringing people together at a central office or a coworking space once or twice a month is a great way to re-energise teams. After an extended period of 100% remote working, some members of staff may never even have met each other. For this reason, it’s a good idea for hybrid companies to invest in real-life meet-ups on a regular basis to help build relationships among colleagues, boost morale and foster creativity.
5. Personalised schedules
As increasing numbers of companies adopt hybrid working – from Apple to JP Morgan – flexibility in terms of where and when people work will become the norm. For employers, it’s important to let staff know that this is not just a short-term phenomenon, but something that is going to define the way business is done for years to come.
For working parents, in particular, who have to struggle harder than most to fit work around their personal life, this will be particularly reassuring. In some cases, it will mean saying farewell to nine-to-five culture altogether, instead committing to a working pattern that works for individuals.
With locations in thousands of neighbourhoods all over the world, find out how Regus can help your business thrive in the new, hybrid world of work