For businesses, employee morale plays a major part in optimizing productivity, creating a positive company culture, and ensuring the best staff are retained. Flexible work schedules have been directly linked to boosted employee morale, with hybrid work offering the most impact as workers benefit from the best of two systems.
Keep reading to learn more about the hybrid approach and how it can improve employee morale and overall job satisfaction, or visit the ViewSonic workplace solutions page for more valuable insights into the modern workplace.
The importance of employee morale is difficult to overstate as unhappy workers are less likely to be productive, more likely to want to leave, and more likely to be absent from work. Therefore, it makes sense that employers would explore ways in which to boost employee morale, with hybrid work model being one such way that is already delivering positive results in numerous organizations and sectors.
What is Hybrid Work?
Hybrid workplaces are those which combine the use of cloud-based platforms and a remote-first approach to communications to remove the importance of location, providing employees with greater autonomy over where they work. This will typically mean that a single workplace may have some remote workers, some office-based workers, and some workers who have the flexibility to switch between the office and remote work depending on objectives and preferences. As the name suggests, hybrid work combines the best of two systems, offering all the benefits of remote work while still providing the structure, stability, and social advantages of a centralized office.
We previously covered the benefits of hybrid work and flexible work schedules, so for this article, we’ll focus on how these benefits can boost employee morale and job satisfaction.
Employee Morale and Work/Life Balance
The connection between a good work/life balance and employee morale needs little explanation. According to an article by CompareCamp, companies that offer better work-life balance have a 25% lower employee turnover, and 24% of employees who enjoy some form of work-life balance program, such as working from home at least once a month, are significantly happier and more productive.
What should be of note to businesses is that hybrid work offers these improvements without additional costs or reducing the total number of employee work hours, it simply gives workers more flexibility to balance personal responsibilities with professional obligations. The ability to choose between working in the office or working remotely provides the necessary flexibility for workers to fit in other responsibilities, such as caring for loved ones, picking children up from school, or attending evening classes. Reducing the time spent commuting also reduces stress and provides more hours in the day for leisure activities and recuperation.
Apple, who has always favored in-person collaboration, recently announced that they would run a one-year hybrid work experiment in which employees will be able to work remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays, while also being able to work remotely for two weeks of the year “to be closer to family and loved ones, to find [a] change of scenery, manage unexpected travel, or [for] a different reason all your own.”
Employee Morale and the Value of Control
Linked closely to a healthy work/life balance is the level of control that employees have over their professional lives, as those with greater control over when and how they work tend to be more engaged, more productive, and more fulfilled.
One study, carried out by a psychology professor at Saint Mary’s University, highlighted control as a fundamental ingredient for happier workplaces. Notably, the study also found that employee burnout could be greatly reduced by giving staff some level of control over their work hours.
Hybrid work puts employees in control over when and where they are able to get their best work done, providing a centralized office for trainings, in-person meetings, and presentations, while also allowing employees to complete individual tasks remotely if they choose. According to a poll by Personnel Today, of the 1000 employees that were polled, 40% admitted noise at work made them feel stressed, while 65% said it affected their ability to complete work in an accurate and timely manner.
While there will likely be an adjustment period as management learns the best practices for managing remote teams, the successful implementation of the hybrid work model, and the control it gives employees over their professional lives, can help create a far happier workforce that can potentially lead to greater productivity, improved company culture, and better staff retention.
Hybrid Work and Mental Health
Mental health within the workplace is seldomly addressed, despite some reports that estimate that as much as 12.7% of all sick days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions, costing UK businesses up to £8 billion per year.
There is, however, growing evidence to show that flexible work schedules, such as hybrid work, may help alleviate those affected and work towards improving employee morale within the workforce. According to this report, a study by Durham University found that flexible working arrangements that “increase worker control and choice” have the potential to improve sleep quality, tiredness and alertness, blood pressure, and mental health, while also creating a better sense of community and social support within the workplace. The same report also cites a separate study by Kingston University that found that workers on flexible contracts tended to be more emotionally engaged, more satisfied with their work, more likely to speak positively about their organization, and less likely to quit.
Mental health is an incredibly difficult issue for employers to tackle but providing employees with greater flexibility is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. As recommended by the Durham University study, the hybrid work model provides a greater level of control and choice by giving employees the ability to decide whether to work at home or within a shared workplace, preventing the social isolation experienced by some full-time remote while also providing the freedom to work from home if needed. This can be particularly useful for those experiencing depression and anxiety disorders, who may, at times, find the thought of going into a busy office challenging.
Final Thoughts on Employee Morale
Employee morale has the potential to impact every facet of an organization, from productivity and output to company culture and staff retention. Now, with a growing amount of evidence to support that hybrid work and other flexible work arrangements can increase employee morale through choice, control, a better work/life balance, and improved mental health, businesses who can accommodate a hybrid work model would be well-advised to start making the transition sooner rather than later to capitalize on a workforce that is happier, more productive, engaged, and committed.
If you are interested in exploring other flexible work arrangements, check out 8 Types of Flexible Work Arrangements Explained, or visit the ViewSonic workplace solutions page for more ways to improve the way you work.