What effect has hybrid working had on your teams’ mental wellbeing?

What effect has hybrid working had on your teams mental wellbeing?

Over the last few months, in conversation with wellbeing teams, I have noticed more HR managers and key personnel reporting emotional exhaustion. These HR professionals are often the most caring of professionals have been navigating the changes required by the pandemic over the last two years, as well as dealing with the increased problems and the effect on the mental wellbeing of their employees. This blog aims to outline the effect hybrid working has on your employees’ health and what you can do to avoid these problems. So that your organisation can avoid problems like lack of connectivity and instead increase your employees’ wellbeing which will mean that all key personnel – including HR professionals feel supported.

What are the problems of hybrid working?

Navigating the pandemic, with the worries and concerns over personal and family health have been in the back of everyone’s mind over the last few years. The human condition is not comfortable with uncertainty and the last few years have been filled with uncertainty. There were no best practices or models to fall back on, no precedent to learn from which creates more uncertainty.

As a result of this increased change employees, mental wellbeing has been affected and HR have been inundated with requests to create a stronger wellbeing programme. Organisations can improve wellbeing amongst their teams and increase their engagement at work with a few simple effective management practices.

How can your business support your team during this hybrid transition?

Read on and I will explore what I’ve learnt in conversation with clients and put it into practice whilst working with organisations during the pandemic. The best practices that have evolved from the last few years of disruption and as we move into a new way of working which is a hybrid working space. Hybrid reflects the fast-changing way of working which can be in the office, remotely or at home and has shifted quickly and created unprecedented change in the lives of the workforce.

The true problems and the cost of the pandemic is a concerns that organisations will not truly appreciate for some years to come. I have outlined some of the major concerns of mental issues in another blog. If you would like to read more about this, this article will help and provide some more detailed insights What is the true mental health cost of hybrid working for your employees?

Hybrid working: 2 phases

As we turn the corner on the pandemic, some commentators are referring to it as ‘Omigone’, we can begin to see the emergence of two mental health stages of the pandemic.

The first stage was met with shock and immediate action had to be taken by organisations so that they could quickly adapt to the ‘at home’ status of the pandemic.

1. Technological changes shift to remote hybrid working

The first stage was the technical aspects of hybrid working. The technological changes happened very quickly, as home working was forced upon the country and the world. The responding action was swift and technical obstacles were overcome very quickly. The change happened within months even days. This is interesting because it was previously felt that organisations would take years to make this ‘online’ working from home transition. In fact, the reactive task force had the new working model in place very quickly. This bodes well for longer-term problems which are beginning to emerge. If we can overcome technical obstacles quickly and adapt well, then the longer issues will be surmountable as well.

The second stage is the longer-term effect of having to work at this heightened level for months which has now turned into years. This second stage has affected personnel in terms of their morale, motivation and commitment. “What is all about?” is a phrase I’ve heard often in discussion with coaching clients and on wellbeing training.

2. Cultural changes in the shift to hybrid working

Whilst technology adaptations moved quickly, the disruptions to working practices and culture haven’t changed as quickly.

Management practices that were suitable for an office environment are not convenient or wanted in the new hybrid working space. Hybrid working whether that is working from home, remotely or in-office spaces – has also meant that traditional ways of working and management practices are no longer viable or working well.

The H&S executive found in 2019 that 54% time loss at work was stress and mental health

H&S Executive 2019

Employees’ attitudes have changed dramatically and what they expect from an office and their employers have changed. A different working culture is expected however these cultural changes are taking longer to embed and as a result employees’ mental wellbeing is suffering.

Creating a Wellbeing Strategy that will support and retain staff is essential – if you are looking for a simple Guide on how to create your organisations’ Wellbeing Strategy then this will be the perfect place to start click here and download your free Wellbeing Strategy Guide

Changing working cultures are taking time to embed than the technology changes and it is haven’t an increasing effect on your organisations’ employees’ wellbeing. Whilst this second wave of change is being implemented the workload and decision fatigue increase.

The 5 problems of hybrid working that effect your employees mental health

The longer-term issues around wellbeing are more important now than ever because of a few major changes to hybrid working namely:

  1. Hybrid workloads have changed and increased

Hybrid working has meant that new skills are required to work remotely. Decisions that were made quickly, advice that was asked for and given in those the ‘water cooler’ or the UK version ‘cup of tea and chat’ moment have gone.

Those employees who were used to working with a lot of support and advice from colleagues are no longer able to call on this support as easily. The ability to be more autonomous takes time to cultivate and requires a manager that not only gives support for this autonomy but also gives confidence to the employee. A new set of management and wellbeing skills for the manager and the recipient. If you are looking for further resources around this wellbeing issue in hybrid working this article will be of interest: What can your business do to reduce the stress of hybrid working?

The ‘Great Reshuffle’ was brought on by the emotional exhaustion of the pandemic.

2021 McKinsey management reports

2. Working roles have become more complicated

Hybrid working has meant that employees have had to adapt to a new working model. Working online requires more concentration, and in the short term has increased the number of emails.

And while some have benefited from greater control over the scheduling of work, others have been subject to high levels of surveillance and heavy workloads.

3. Increased working hours

Less time commuting has meant that workers are staying on at work longer, using the time saved from commuting in the ‘office’. The thinking is that they will be able to catch up on the workday that has been interrupted with more meetings and more emails. However, this ‘catch up’ time is in fact not only lengthen the workday but also speeds up more interactions resulting in a faster pace, more energy and resulting in exhaustion and burnout.

4. Less relaxation and downtime

With the loss of the commute time, employees have less time to switch off. The commute was traditionally seen as a time to switch off from work to family time. However, this natural break in the working time and its equivalent downtime has disappeared. Spending time listening to a relaxing podcast, catching up with friends has now disappeared. Most people’s social network has been reduced to their local area who are not as interested in working through work issues.

As many HR commentators have explained:

It is harder to solve work issues remotely.

HR Professional

Less commuting has meant more working hours, as working from home has not improved work-life balance or leisure time benefits for everyone. Some have encountered more intense patterns of work with reductions in the commuting time simply swapped for more time working.

Hybrid working and your teams’ mental wellbeing

5. Hybrid working wellbeing issues

Evidence also points to difficulties including loneliness, a lack of emotional connection to others, and increases in stress. These effects have greatly affected employee wellbeing perspective, organisations are working hard to find suitable solutions.

I’ve been working with organisations to train managers through hybrid working so that they can support their teams to feel more resilient. If you would like to find out more send me a message so that we can find strategies that will ensure that resilient wellbeing is part of your hybrid working model. If you are looking for more ideas on how to engage more with teams remotely then connect with me via LinkedIn or drop me a message here on my website

How can your organisation solve these wellbeing problems?

A wellbeing strategy that is proactive creates a sustainable approach and creates a culture of autonomy and respect that is required in the hybrid model. Creating a Wellbeing Strategy that will support and retain staff is essential – if you are looking for a simple Guide on how to create your organisations’ Wellbeing Strategy then this will be the perfect place to start click here and download your free Wellbeing Strategy Guide

How to reduce hybrid working wellbeing issues

What is a resilient wellbeing strategy?

A wellbeing strategy that asks the employees what they want is a good starting point to develop a structured wellbeing strategy.

Over the last two years, piecemeal initiatives have been offered – yoga, mindfulness and wellbeing days. These initiatives now need to be brought together in an overriding wellbeing strategy where wellbeing policies, wellbeing communication and support is put in place and all staff members are aware of their collective responsibilities to themselves and each other.

Wellbeing strategy that simply reduces stigma around wellbeing is a reactive approach. A Resilient Wellbeing Strategy is proactive”

Download Whitepaper: A Coaching Approach To Management In The Financial Profession

A wellbeing strategy that is proactive creates a sustainable approach and creates a culture of autonomy and respect that is required in the hybrid model. Creating a Wellbeing Strategy that will support and retain staff is essential – if you are looking for a simple Guide on how to create your organisations’ Wellbeing Strategy then this will be the perfect place to start click here and download your free Wellbeing Strategy Guide

The change in leadership style is required to ensure mental wellbeing. Changing leadership styles are having to adapt to this long chain of connection and this adaptation takes time.

Wellbeing strategy that simply reduces stigma around wellbeing is a reactive approach.

Download Whitepaper A Coaching Approach To Management In The Financial Profession

Workplace Coaching creates resilient managers

Pre-pandemic coaching was mainly for the executive team, whilst this is still true. There is also a recognised need for a workplace coaching culture to be evident in all workplace conversations.

Employees are recognising the value of being coached in workplace situations rather than being directed to do what has been done in the past. Workplace coaching works throughout the organisation, at every level.

Wellbeing and coaching work together, wellbeing coaching training is about developing the skills of teams and individuals to improve the teams’ future performance.  Bringing the team together so that all team members are recognised for the value that they bring to the success of both the team and the organisation. Recognition works well in creating empowerment and creates workable solutions for the individual.

For example, an accredited coach will stimulate feelings of empowerment within the team so that they are able to find solutions to difficult work problems, customer service interactions, delivery issues, or technical problems. The team will have the resources and be equipped with tools to find positive solutions to these difficult problems.

If you are looking for a simple Guide on how to create your organisations’ Wellbeing Strategy then this will be the perfect place to start click here and download your free Wellbeing Strategy Guide

Next steps

To support organisations with hybrid performance issues and boost productivity contact Adele for wellbeing training and coaching sessions for team leaders and employees. Coaching that use a structured approach towards clear objectives, personal growth and moving forward.

Adele’s coaching was very valuable and well-timed during COVID lockdown, working from home.”

Lee Jennings Pension Planning at Openworks

If your organisation is looking to incorporate a Wellbeing Strategy that has a coaching programme at the heart and you would like to investigate the opportunities that Wellbeing coaching can offer please email me to discuss your organisational requirements or book an appointment straight in my diary

W: www.adelestickland.com

E: adele.stickland1@btinternet.com

L: LinkedIn

#corporatewellbeing #resilientleadership #resiliencecoach

Adele Stickland

Adele Stickland

With over 20 years of experience in the wellbeing industry, Adele has a unique insight into stress awareness and resilience within organisations. With a powerful combination of personal experience and industry background Adele is ideally placed to understand the needs of organisations looking to improve corporate Resilience Programmes and specifically tailor them to their requirements. As a former leader in the marketing world, Adele was employed in a variety of corporate roles spanning advertising, retail, and marketing together with over 20 years of running her own wellness business. After becoming a victim of ambition-burnout herself, through personal development, training and learning. Adele recognises that resilience is a skill that can be learned and developed using a crafted framework bespoke to each organisation.

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The outmoded managerial style of ‘command and control’ where line managers talk at staff and tell them what to do, fails to motivate. Instead inviting a considered coaching approach and a managerial style that engages staff to find out their needs works best

When employees lack agency or purpose, when they are offered little value or understanding of their role, they are unmotivated which adds to feelings of being out of control and increases their levels of stress.

When employees feel that they are not in control of their jobs their stress levels soar.

When employees feel empowered and valued in their roles they thrive.