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Hybrid work is emotionally exhausting
Working from home, hybrid work, flexible working – whatever you call it, the shift to working from home is now seen as the future of work for many companies.
But why is it leaving many employees emotionally exhausted?
Surely the work life balance it provides gives more flexibility and autonomy, leading to a more rested and relaxed workforce.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everyone.
Recent data from a global study by employee engagement platform, Tinypulse, found more than 80% of leaders reported that a hybrid set-up was exhausting for employees. Workers themselves reported hybrid working was more emotionally taxing than fully remote arrangements or full-time office-based work.
This doesn’t bode well for the future of hybrid working, a model that many are still embracing.
So, why is hybrid working emotionally draining and what can be done to mitigate this?
Why is hybrid work exhausting?
It seems disruption to routine is the main issue.
Elora Voyles, an industrial organisational psychologist and people scientist at Tinypulse, explains:
“A predictable, consistent routine can help people cope with feelings of stress and uncertainty – especially during a pandemic. Hybrid, however, requires frequent changes to those daily habits: workers have to constantly switch things up, so it’s hard to find a routine when your schedule is always in-and-out the office.”
The constant change can impact cognitive resources, adding to further mental strain. As hybrid ways of working are still relatively new to most people, greater energy, organisation and planning is needed to make them work. New strategies have to be created to deal with challenges, such as hot desking and commutes, that wouldn’t be the case if you were fully remote or in-person.
Home-life / work-life balance
The boundaries between home and work have also become more blurred meaning many employees find it more difficult to switch off from work when it is in their home environment.
Also, there can be more pressure to prove you are working and not taking advantage of being at home. This can lead to presenteeism where employees do more work, even overtime, to show they are busy and completing tasks.
Loneliness can also add another layer of mental strain. It is no surprise this has been chosen as the main topic for Mental Health Awareness Week 2022.
We’re social beings, and the fundamental shift to working from home for many has meant social isolation has become a real challenge.
Recent studies certainly seem to confirm this, with data from Buffer showing that loneliness was the biggest challenge facing many people now working from home.
Making hybrid work, work
To stem exhaustion and stop loneliness, it is imperative, if employers are going to offer hybrid work, that it works.
That is why we created our eLearning course Making Hybrid Work, Work! In the course we cover:
- Understanding hybrid
We dig deeper into specific terminology as well as the pros and cons of hybrid working.
- Improving the hybrid experience
We explore how to improve the hybrid experience, with tips and ideas on how to maximise hybrid working, the best hybrid etiquette, creating hybrid connections and encouraging collaboration.
- Learning from others
By using notable case studies, we create a collection of valuable resources for you to use in establishing a better hybrid way of working.
From our experience, hybrid work can be incredibly positive, as long as the right boundaries and set up are put in place that works for individual companies.
It will stop being exhausting for both employee and employer once choice and control are established and the right mindset is determined.