Wellbeing at work in the era of hybrid working

As it is Mental Health Awareness Week, we wanted to talk about wellbeing at work in the era of hybrid working. More often than not, mental health and wellbeing support in the workplace gets overlooked. The impact of this means a lack of productivity, low job satisfaction and over 80 million work days lost a year in the UK alone. If you’ve made the shift to hybrid working, adapting your mental health and wellbeing support for employees is imperative to ensure you’re providing the support your workforce needs while they’re remote and distributed.

What can employers do to support their staff and increase wellbeing at work?

Reduce the stigma and encourage open communication

In a survey by The Priory, 80% of self-employed respondents would worry about an employer’s response if they disclosed a mental health condition. This highlights the stigma that exists around mental health. Reducing the stigma around mental health in the workplace should be a priority, to ensure employees feel they have a safe space to be open and honest and to get the support they need. Encouraging open and honest communication in a safe non-judgemental environment is especially key for hybrid working employees to ensure that even when they’re not on-site, that they can access the support they need.

Encourage connectivity

A hybrid workplace has many benefits, with the flexibility and choice on where to work offers a better work life balance. That being said, with many employees working remotely several days a week, it’s important to encourage connectivity among a distributed workforce to ensure people don’t feel isolated and lonely. A workplace experience app is a great tool hybrid working as it creates a more cohesive workplace acting as a digital layer for hybrid teams with services, events and perks accessible all from an app. Whether employees are on or off-site on any given day, a workplace app is the cohesive layer, where they can tap into and feel part of the workplace community.

Provide a safe space on and off-site

Offering quiet rooms on-site, such as a room with comfy sofas that are a digital-free zone sends a message to employees that you understand they may need a few moments to relax, and that you encourage them to do so. The pressures of work can get too much for people at times, and providing a quiet, safe space is a great way to alleviate some of those pressures. A quiet room can also be utilised by employees for spiritual or religious needs. Providing a quiet room in the workplace is a great way to support employees, allowing them to take a few minutes to unwind and relax. For hybrid working you need to extend this to support those that might be working remotely. You could offer free access to the Calm app for employees and encourage them to take a short time-out break during the day to de-stress, meditate and relax via the app or offer virtual wellness sessions via your own branded workplace experience app. Yoga, for example, reduces stress and improves energy levels, overall helping employees to be their best selves at work. 

Introduce mental health champions

Mental health champions are employees that take on the voluntary role to help fellow employees in a peer-to-peer environment with mental health concerns. They also help to raise awareness of mental health in the workplace and act as an advocate. Mental health champions are not professionally trained therapists but are there to point people to the necessary contacts when needed. Ultimately, the champions are a point of call for employees, so they know there is someone there they can speak to when they are struggling, without fear of judgement. This is a great way to encourage peer-to-peer support and to ensure no one goes under the radar while working remotely. This is a great way to keep support networks strong in hybrid teams.

Internal communications

Paying particular attention to your internal communication is key to fostering a strong wellbeing culture. Keeping employees in the loop about company activity and relevant news increases engagement and reduces the sense of isolation employees can feel, particularly when your teams are hybrid and distributed. A report by Bambu found that 4 in 5 people felt that an effective communication strategy improves their productivity, and 80% want their employers to keep them updated about company news. Clear, consistent and relevant communication lay the foundation for an engaging workplace experience and increase overall wellbeing.

Utilise technology

Adopting technology will be key to improving wellbeing at work if your company has switched to hybrid working. You will need technology to keep distributed and hybrid teams connected and engaged. A workplace experience app like District Technologies can be used as a digital layer to the workplace where you can offer wellness events, provide services, amenities and perks as well as news and resources. It can also help to improve your company culture, by reinforcing your brand values and keeping employees in the know about things happening in the company. This will help to keep hybrid employees more productive and satisfied as they will feel more connection to the company.

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Making reasonable adjustments for a member of staff that is struggling with mental health issues

Once aware of health or disability information about an employee, the employer has a legal duty to consider making reasonable adjustments. They also have a general duty of care to make adjustments to help all staff cope and recover, whether or not they have a formal diagnosis. Treating someone with a mental health condition unfavourably because of their condition is discrimination and employees have a legal right to challenge it. 

So, what type of reasonable adjustments should you consider? Below is a list of some of the elements we’ve identified, but this list is not exhaustive – you should sit down with the employee to identify any other measures that they might need.

  • Adapting the workspace (to be quieter, etc.)
  • Flexible start/finish times
  • Ability to work remotely
  • Provision of self-help materials
  • Increased supervision from manager
  • Introducing a buddy or mentor
  • Extra support with managing workload
  • Additional training or mentoring

District Technologies is a workplace experience platform that can be used to engage your employees and increase wellness through communication, events and smart building technology. Check out our Workplace Wellness E-guide which to find out more about how our platform can be utilised to increase workplace wellness.

Simply book a demo to find out more about our workplace experience solution.

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