Hybrid work – is it burning out your employees too?

Cisco Webex | Hybrid Workplace | Work From Home

Every coin has two sides to it. The coin of hybrid work is no different. It’s been two years since the inception of the work from home era, which continues to go strong today as well. While some people see it as the future of work, some may disagree and root for the back-to-office routine in coming times. But, whatever the future holds, the present scenario has its pros and cons for organisations and employees alike.

Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, many office spaces have been vacated in order to make work from home a permanent solution. As the situation settled, many organisations opted for the Hybrid Work model in which employees are allowed to work from home on some days and from the office on other days. Many multinationals have even allowed their employees full-time work from home. But is hybrid working or working from home taking a toll on employees? Are they able to work up to their full capacity? Do they not want to go to the office full time and see the familiar faces they used to greet on a daily basis? How are they coping with the exhaustion that comes with a hybrid workplace system?

Putting health first for employees and their families, 80% firms in the United States have adopted the hybrid work model, a survey suggests. Though the hybrid work model has presented innumerable benefits for organisations and employees, it has also given rise to many concerns. One of the leading concerns - which most organisations have reported is – employee burnout. According to a survey by Lloyd’s Register, 69% employees suffer from higher levels of work-related stress while working from home, attributed to increased workload. A study by the Families and Work Institute conducted in May 2021 suggested that more than half of Americans have experienced workplace burnout. Is remote work the reason behind employee burnout? Are companies making people work for longer hours in the name of hybrid work? Why are more and more people suffering from burnout? Will this burnout take a bad turn and pave a new road for anxiety, uncertainty and stress? A survey by McKinsey and Company found that an organization’s lack of vision for hybrid work plan led to anxiety among employees? Will your organization be the next in line? Will your employees suffer from anxiety due to burnout? Do you have plans to manage such a scenario?

Employee burnout is an issue that every organization must take seriously. After all it is the employees that run an organization. They are the ones who execute the vision of the top management and take the organization to newer heights. An organization can go only as far as its employees are ready to take it. There may be many reasons for burnout, both personal and professional, but at the end of the day it is the organization’s responsibility to ensure that it does not happen to any of its employees. While working from home seems pragmatic under the current scenario, it may not be as beneficial for some employees as it looks. How will a single mother manage her work and child together? How does a person who has kids running around his lap be able to concentrate on work? Maybe things are not as hunky dory as they look when it comes to working from home.

So, how do we manage burnout?

The first and foremost thing is not to overburden any employee just because she or he is working from home. Even when people don’t go to the office and work from home they have limitations, both physical and mental. Secondly, staying away from the people you worked with for many years is not easy. So, a small meeting a day can come handy. Even if there’s no work related thing to discuss, just chat over a video call and ask how everyone is doing. This will keep their sense of belongingness intact. The third idea is to give them regular breaks. Give a few days off to them after every 2-3 months so they can have some ‘me time.’ Just because they work from home does not mean that they are not entitled to take leaves and enjoy some time off. An organization must initiative this process from its end rather than expecting employees to come to them. The fourth and one of the most important points is senior-junior relationship. Even for a hybrid work situation, the relationship between the employee and his boss plays a vital role. The more they connect with each other, the better things between them will be. The fifth and last point (for now) is taking feedback from the employees. Ask them if everything is ok, if they are happy, if they are overburdened, if there’s anything they want to discuss or change – keep options open for a transparent dialogue. So they feel the mutual trust and open up to the management.

Hybrid work is here to stay. So every organization and employee has to play a vital role to ensure that plans go the way they were determined to go. Employee burnout will always be a concern and the points mentioned above will help organizations do their best and mitigate any losses. Every employee is vital to the success of an organization and must be treated with equal value and respect. Be it working from the office or working from home, an employee is an employee that brings so much to the table every day that goes a long way to make an organization successful.

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