Sometimes the best way to improve employees’ outlook on work is to give them the freedom on how to manage it.
When comparing burnout in employees working in fully remote, fully in-person or in hybrid settings, employees given the autonomy to choose between environments thrive, according to analytics platform Perceptyx. Hybrid employees are almost twice as likely to feel energized by their work than their counterparts who spend 100% of their time in either environment.
“We were hearing from a variety of different places that flexibility is what [employees] need — but what does that really mean?” says Emily Killham, director of research and insights at Perceptyx. “What we found is that when employees are told where to be — either fully remote or fully in-person — they had challenges in each of those cases. But in all cases, having the best of both worlds was what was winning out in terms of the mental health outcomes employees are facing.”
The past year has already seen heightened levels of burnout among employees — 79% of employees experienced work-related stress in 2021, according to APA’s 2021 Work and Well-being survey. Without proper interventions or management, nearly 33 million employees have quit their jobs since the beginning of the great resignation in April 2021.
Hybrid work offers employees the opportunity to better balance the stress of their life outside of work, and set healthier boundaries, leading to less burnout and higher productivity, Perceptyx found. Workers given the opportunity to work within a hybrid environment are 50% more likely to look forward to starting their workdays and feel like they make a meaningful contribution to their workplace, according to Perceptyx data.
“Employees are saying ‘I’m much more likely to be able to cook healthy meals than I was a year ago’ and ‘I’m making time for exercise in a way that I didn’t one year ago’ and ‘my relationships with my family are better than they were one year ago,’” Killham says. “They have now figured out how to best structure their work day to include the rest of their lives.”
Initially, a hybrid work model was introduced as a means for employees to return to work after more than a year of mandated WFH should they want to, but it also left the option for employees to choose to keep home offices, too. Now, hybrid has become an option that lets employees work in a way that works for them, not in the way they think others want them to work.
“Talent is really good at managing their own time,” Killham says. “They are able to now be purposeful about their time in the office and away from the office, structuring that time in a way that helps them accomplish the tasks that are on their plate in the best way for them.”
As more and more employees opt for a permanent hybrid work schedule, employers should be wary of proximity bias, and the threat it poses to employees’ personal and professional growth, Killham warns. To keep employees engaged moving forward means that employers need to adapt, instead of falling back on old habits.
“Employees have proved that they could be autonomous for two years and still have jobs and that business is still here,” she says. “So [employers] need to think about how to create a collaboration space that works for all people.”
This article was written by Paola Peralta from Employee Benefit News and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.