Recent studies have shown that only 15% of people want to return to the office full time, which means that hybrid working is not a choice for companies today, it is a must. Despite the drastic need to digitally transform (if not doing this already), the wellbeing of our employees is key to the success of the new workplace. In a challenging jobs market, we should take care of our employees, which in turn promotes low attrition.
The Covid-19 crisis has changed how we work forever. As we cautiously emerge from the safety of our homes and look to the future, it’s clear that the relationship between employer and employee has shifted, bringing with it a host of new challenges and opportunities. While many have been able to manage their mental and physical wellbeing better at home, it has also led to more sedimentary lifestyles for many others with the opposite effect.
Recent research conducted by Vitality and the RSA yielded 10 recommendations that address three key areas: culture, interventions and measurement:
- Create new mandates on health and wellbeing that are integrated into company risk registers and prioritised at board level
- Ensure senior leaders practise, reinforce and normalise healthy hybrid behaviours to lead by example
- Create ‘healthy hybrid’ feedback loops between employees and leaders with physical or digital forums for discussion
- Promote inclusive productivity gains by assessing performance based on outcomes, not hours.
- Introduce mandatory breaks and a ‘right to disconnect’ policy to protect hybrid employees from burnout.
- Ensure that new health and wellbeing policies include everyone no matter where they are working
- Schedule 30 minutes a day for all employees to protect musculoskeletal health. Promoting good posture and ensuring employees are working in a healthy workplace at home
- Ensure effective and consistent wellbeing measurement to sustain ‘healthy hybrid’ behaviours and culture.
- Make it clear who is accountable for new health and wellbeing mandates and single points of contact for support
- Remove any pay/promotion/career bias towards those choosing to work from home
Although these recommendations mostly relate to employee wellbeing, there are digital solutions which can help to remove 'working location' bias so no employee is excluded such as the creation of digital forums for feedback and creating digital workplace areas for easy access to policies and procedures related to wellbeing.
Now we are 'hoping to' going back to the office, take care of your most valuable resource, your employees!
As hybrid working becomes the norm for millions, there is an urgent need and a rare opportunity for businesses to reset their approach to employee health and wellbeing.