By Wilhelm Crous
October 20, 2023
Sound research on the advantages and disadvantages of new work patterns (hybrid/remote/in-office) remains limited. In many cases, the research points to contradictory findings.
Findings from the 2023 Gallup State of the Workplace Report(1), conducted by Gallup across more than 140 countries, are highly insightful. Employees working remotely and in hybrid setups reported experiencing more stress than those working onsite full-time. Only 27% of the CHROs at Fortune 500 companies offering maximum flexibility (requiring no days in the office) observed a positive impact on mental health. People working on a hybrid basis (one to two days at the office) reported a 29% positive impact on mental health. This contrasts with 47% of employees required to be in the office four to five days a week. Interestingly, remote and hybrid employees worldwide are more engaged than onsite employees, and productivity levels reflect this trend. Thus, we encounter a paradox: while the well-being of remote and hybrid workers may be compromised, their engagement and productivity levels are superior.
What can organisations do to promote both well-being and productivity, irrespective of working arrangements?
1. Help employees achieve work-life balance.
Gallup outlines two primary job structures:
- A job where you work from 9 AM to 5 PM, addressing other life activities either before or after work. These employees are termed “Splitters”.
- A job where you alternate between work and other life activities throughout the day, termed “Blenders”.
The Gallup survey revealed that HR leaders often underestimate the number of workers who wish to be “Splitters”. This distinction is crucial. When employees don’t work in their preferred mode – for instance, if they’re inclined towards being a splitter but their role demands blending – they feel less engaged. Such individuals are also more likely to report burnout and consider switching jobs. Thus, leaders should discern their employees’ preferences before devising solutions.
2.Ensure your employees feel valued.
When Gallup surveyed large company CHROs about their organisations’ commitment to employee well-being, 65% strongly agreed. However, fewer than 25% of employees felt the same. Managers play a pivotal role here. They should not only be aware of available well-being programmes but also be adept at discussing well-being with their teams. While 72% of CHROs said their managers received training on well-being programmes, fewer than half claimed that these managers were trained to converse about well-being with their teams.
3. Equip managers to lead remote and hybrid teams effectively.
A striking 91% of HR leaders claimed they had offered training on managing remote and hybrid teams. Conversely, 57% of managers disclosed to Gallup that they had not received any formal or informal training in this domain. It’s hardly surprising then that managers overseeing hybrid teams report greater burnout than those leading solely remote or onsite teams. It’s evident that managers, particularly those leading hybrid teams, require comprehensive training, both in management and in identifying well-being issues.
Organisations that assist employees in finding their ideal work-life balance, prioritise their employees’ sense of being valued, and ensure managers are genuinely prepared to lead remote and hybrid teams stand a strong chance of enhancing both well-being and productivity in the evolving work landscape.
In light of these interesting findings in the realm of hybrid and remote work, it’s more crucial than ever to stay informed and adaptable. We invite you to join us at the upcoming Hybrid/Remote Workplaces Seminar on 31 October for a deep dive into hybrid work. At this seminar, you’ll gain access to the most current findings on hybrid and remote working models. Delve into successful strategies, uncover the reasons behind their efficacy, and equip yourself with the knowledge to navigate the future of work with confidence. Find out more about the topics and speakers HERE.
- Brecheisen, J., 2023. Research: Flexible Work Is Having a Mixed Impact on Employee Well-Being and Productivity. Harvard Business Review. [online] Available at: https://hbr.org/2023/10/research-flexible-work-is-having-a-mixed-impact-on-employee-well-being-and-productivity?autocomplete=true