As we continue to navigate the post-COVID waters, one aspect is clear, hybrid work models are not going away.
Employers learned, that in many cases, working from home can be very cost effective for business.
Benefits to the employer include:
- Co-workers can work longer shifts
- Less absenteeism
- Not having to maintain brick and mortar overhead costs
Hybrid conditions offer perks to co-workers as well:
- Flexible schedule
- No commuting
- Cost savings due to elimination or reduction in childcare expenses and commuting costs
In theory this appeared to be a great transition from the traditional work model. However, research has shown that work from home business models can increase stress and burnout in the following ways:
- Hybrid environments have more distractions, making it challenging to focus
- Zoom fatigue makes it difficult to interpret body language and visual cues, making accountability challenging
- Longer work hours for employees
- Deterioration in workplace culture and community
Many employers are mandating that co-workers return to the office in an effort to rebuild community and strengthen corporate culture. Due to rising economic costs, this has been met with resistance from those who have sizable commutes and high childcare costs. Returning to the office also requires a costly wardrobe update. Those who return to the office find pre-COVID environments a thing of the past.
Teammates are no longer localized in particular cities, but spread out nationally and globally, which results in virtual meetings regardless if co-workers have returned to the office. As a result, employee retention is at an all-time low. Organizations are faced with high turnover and struggle to find qualified candidates that want to work.
What’s the solution?
Corporations must put strategies in place for team building, improving engagement, and productivity. People want to feel seen, heard, and valued. This can be accomplished through the following:
- Employers must set clear expectations upfront
- Employers must offer flexible work options when appropriate
- Work from home co-workers must have the ability to create a distraction free environment
- Management must provide weekly check-ins that offer support, utilizing a coaching versus supervising approach
- Corporations must offer growth opportunities at all levels
- Consistent employee recognition at all levels
- A reduction in the number of meetings and adherence to a weekly schedule. For example, team meetings are every Tuesday.
- Employers must educate staff on self-care and stress management best practices, and allow time for each.
If you’re working for an organization that provides minimal support and has unrealistic work expectations, it might be time to look elsewhere. If this environment is exclusive to your division within the organization, consider applying for other positions outside of your division.
It’s also time to assess if the company culture and mission is aligned with your core values.
If you’re experiencing a misalignment of values, that is causing chronic stress and burnout, it’s time to take positive action, before your body forces you to make a change that can have life altering impact. I’ve been there and it’s not worth it. You will end up sacrificing your mental and physical health, possibly your relationships, and potentially your financial wellbeing. If this is resonating, let’s chat.
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