How to manage stress when hybrid working

Flexible working is one of the largest cultural shifts to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic. What was once a rare appearance on job postings is now desired by 9 out of 10 employees with more than half thinking it’s worth leaving a job over. Such is the change that the British government is considering giving people the right to request flexible working from day 1 at a new employer.

However, as with any major change in life, this can leave us susceptible to added stress. Managing this stress will be crucial as we all get used to our “new normal”. By focusing on communication and planning we can give ourselves the best opportunity to enjoy the transition.

Communication is key

Hybrid working is new for many of us and can be implemented in a number of different ways. The guidelines we put in place today may well change over time as we learn what works best. This is why it’s really important to have open communication between teams and managers. How do people interpret “hybrid working”? Do ways of working need to be adapted to accommodate different working patterns?

Often problems (and excess stress) come from misalignment and the unknown. By taking the time to talk and understand the situation, the transition will be easier.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that it’s a learning curve for everyone. People working in hybrid roles, managers managing hybrid teams, it probably won’t be perfect from day one – set expectations and support people accordingly.

Be honest about your day

Much of our working lives has been rather black and white, with full-time office followed by a period of fully remote by necessity. You knew (for the most part) whatever you were doing, most of your colleagues were doing the same.

Hybrid working adds another layer to this, not only are we balancing our time between locations, but so are our colleagues. Sometimes on the same days, sometimes on different days.

All of this means that our days are going to differ from one to the next, and with this our ability to perform certain tasks. If you’re working from home there’s a good chance you’ll get more “deep work” done than a day in the office with colleagues where collaboration and catch-ups might be on the agenda (and rightly so, social connections are a key pillar of wellbeing after all). By keeping this in mind we can go into each day with a realistic list of things to do. 

The outcome? Less guilt for chatting over coffee, more manageable days, and less unnecessary stress.

Get the best of both worlds

As our days begin to take 2 different forms, it gives us the chance to compare them and take stock of the good and bad habits we have during both. From here we can begin to combine the best of both worlds to create a list of super-habits (not a scientific term) for every day.

Let’s say, for example, that I have a tendency to eat lunch at my desk when I’m working from home. However, when I’m in the office with colleagues we all go out to buy lunch and I find that the change of scenery and stretching my legs does wonders for my mindset and energy levels in the afternoon. Needless to say, I’ll start going for a quick walk before lunch when working from home.

Now, as with the above example, not everything will be 100% replicable but we can certainly get closer to keeping consistent good wellbeing habits. 

Keep in touch

Kitchen chats, water-cooler moments, dropping by someone’s desk. All ways to describe moments in the working day that you’d interact with colleagues about non-work “stuff”. When we went into lockdown, these had to become a lot more intentional as we were no longer bumping into people in our spare moments.

As we begin to live in a hybrid world, these in-person unplanned interactions will return but in varying amounts for people. With this in mind, remaining intentional about virtual interactions with colleagues will be important. Not only to continue to build meaningful relationships with those colleagues who are in the office less, but also for personal stress management – sometimes you just need to vent when you’re working from home!

It’s about intentionality, for now

When it comes down to it, our working life has changed and with this comes a need to build new habits. Whether that’s about how and when we now chat to people, or learning how to best perform in different working locations. 

As with any new habits, they will require a conscious effort in the short term. However, down the line, they will become second nature.

ABOUT BETTERSPACE

BetterSpace is the employee wellbeing platform putting control where it belongs: in the hands of the individual employee. Our groundbreaking solution has been developed with medical and domain expertise and is aligned to our Six Pillars of Wellbeing. BetterSpace empowers your workforce to understand and fulfill their mental health needs. 

This approach has achieved engagement rates of 94%, compared to the average usage rate of 2-18% for Employee Assistance Programmes and 10-40% for points solutions.

Want to know more? Schedule a product demonstration with us today.

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