Hybrid And Remote Worker Wellbeing Requires A Different Approach

Posted: 9th May 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work, and remote and hybrid work has become the new norm. This shift in work style has forced companies to re-imagine their workplaces and adapt to the changing work landscape. Having helped 22 organizations transition to hybrid and remote work, in my experience one of the biggest challenges involves providing various wellbeing benefits for employees. To learn more, I spoke to Kayla Lebovitz, the CEO and founder of Bundle Benefits, which provides a variety of virtual wellbeing and professional development benefits for organizations, about the changes she is seeing in her clients regarding hybrid and remote work.

Adapting to the Changing Work Environment of Hybrid and Remote Worker Wellbeing

Lebovitz noted that companies are adjusting their workplace reimagined plans to adapt to the changing work environment. She noted that companies are becoming more flexible in terms of work schedules, and people are working the schedules that work for them. The focus is now on results-driven productivity and collaboration, rather than on facetime. Companies are now giving employees the flexibility to take care of personal and well-being issues during the day. This change in approach is seen as a way to improve employee happiness and ultimately, their performance.

Lebovitz also noted that the role of the CHRO (Chief Human Resources Officer) is becoming more vital to the success of a company. Companies are realizing that without a CHRO with the experience, skills, and strategies needed to think about the people part of the equation, they will lose to their competitors. CHROs are now seen as the visionary leaders pushing the whole organization forward. This is a marked difference from the pre-pandemic times when CHROs were not typically in a visionary position.

Lebovitz spoke about the importance of supporting employee well-being, particularly for remote workers. There is a lot of discussion about burnout and hybrid work, and it is often thought that remote workers are more likely to burn out than in-office workers. However, research shows that in-office workers doing the same tasks are more likely to burn out compared to workers who work some or full time remotely. Leaders have misconceptions that remote workers are more likely to burn out, perhaps because they are expected to be on all the time. This is likely due to the fact that remote workers do not have to suffer through long commutes or facetime at the office, and are therefore more able to focus on their work. However, it is still crucial for companies to support the wellbeing of their remote workers. Indeed, Lebovitz noted that both remote and in-office work have different stressors, which lead to burnout.

A Customized Approach to Hybrid and Remote Worker Wellbeing

Companies are finding that offering a cookie-cutter approach to wellbeing is not effective, and instead need to offer a range of benefits that promote total wellbeing. These benefits can include things like gym memberships, meditation classes, and professional development opportunities. However, companies need to be careful not to just implement these benefits and then walk away. Instead, they need to continually evaluate the impact of these benefits and listen to employee feedback to make necessary adjustments. Lebovits reports that her company has found that remote workers tend to take more professional development sessions, while in-office workers tend to participate in team sessions. Privacy is also a significant factor in determining the types of sessions that employees take.

One of the challenges in offering wellbeing support to remote workers is measuring the ROI of these offerings. While it is clear that investing in employee wellbeing is important, it can be difficult to quantify the impact of these investments. Lebovits notes that companies can ask deep questions about the value and impact of their wellbeing offerings, and can look at whether employees are talking about these offerings positively. If employees are expressing that they feel less burnout, less anxious, and less stressed, and are developing professionally as a result of these offerings, this can be a good indicator of the success of these initiatives. However, it is important to keep in mind that it can be difficult to measure the ROI of these initiatives with hard numbers.

Source: Hybrid And Remote Worker Wellbeing Requires A Different Approach (forbes.com)

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