According to our recent Attitudes on Hybrid Working report, 7 in 10 employees agreed that hybrid working shows their company cares about their emotional and mental well-being. This rises to 76% among those who are hybrid working already.
Why do people make the link between hybrid work and positive mental health? And what are factors that could make hybrid working the ideal way to raise the overall level of positivity and productivity in your business?
How flexible working supports mental health
Let’s face it — most of us have very busy lives. Work, family, and leisure all compete for our time and attention. Since work pays for the other two, it often gets first priority and can quickly start to dominate our waking hours, even when it comes at the expense of our mental health and well-being.
Before the rapid expansion of work-from-home policies, when most of us spent every day in an office, many of us lost a good chunk of the time in our day to commuting. While there have always been the lucky few who enjoyed an easy 15-minute walk or bus ride to the office, for many daily commutes could mean as many as four hours per day spent in the car, battling gridlock. Climbing gas prices, delays on public transit, and bad weather can all add to the negative experience. It was a recipe for stress, burnout, and bad sleep after late dinners followed by early alarms.
Workplace flexibility can mitigate some of these stressors and get us off that never-ending treadmill. By balancing days in the office with days working from home, we can still enjoy getting time back that we otherwise would have spent commuting, and channel it into being more productive and focused on our work. In fact, we might even start embracing the hours we spend traveling as a window to think through issues and plan our day ahead. It could also be a time to read a good book or listen to an engaging podcast that feeds the brain and soul.
Where working from home falls short
Why do we go into the office at all if it can cause stress? Our home tends to be the place where we feel safest and our most relaxed. But as a place to work, it actually may not be the best choice for our mental health.
Without a regular change of scenery, we start thinking in confined spaces — we can get caught up in our own heads and struggle to cope with stress, getting weighed down by challenges big and small. Home can also be isolating, particularly for those who live alone or in small spaces. Regular human interaction is important to emotional well-being — whether that’s having a colleague nearby to offer an opinion or advice on work challenges, or just being able to catch up with them and chat about the day’s news. Home can also be a place where children demand our attention or dogs need walking. Add this to the stresses of work and it no longer feels like a place of refuge.
And of course, we’re likely all familiar with the tech-related challenges that arise from working from home. With everyone dialing in from their home networks, there’s always the risk that someone’s connection will be lagging. Frustration from being a step behind colleagues when it comes to technology can lead to mounting stress. It’s even worse when the Wi-Fi goes down and you’re suddenly cut off from everyone.
Where hybrid can help
Extremes can cause mental health problems. Five days in the office or five days at home can quickly become a grind. Hybrid working is not without its pros and cons, but it can deliver the best of both worlds and allow people to set up shop wherever they feel the most productive.
Need to get your head down and focus on your job without distractions? A quiet home can be the ideal choice. Need to come up with ideas and share views with colleagues? While online video calls can work in a pinch, it’s hard to beat the value of face-to-face meetings where people can bounce ideas off one another and come up with solutions together.
Hybrid helps everyone
When people enjoy their work, have the choice to work where they feel most productive, and don’t feel like they’re working alone, their mental health is bound to improve. The flexibility of hybrid working is designed to offer that choice, and it’s no surprise that so many are embracing it as a way of obtaining the work-life balance we all crave.
For employers who want to put their employees’ mental health first and increase retention rates, hybrid working must be on the table. With our workspace booking technology, Condeco can help you overcome the challenges and enable hybrid working to be a major part of your drive for a happier and more productive workplace.