As a result of the last 18 months, employees and companies are changing how they view the workplace and what it means to them. Work-from-home mandates spurred by the pandemic have forced even the most traditional companies to reconsider the role of an office, leadership, how to build teams and manage performance. Like every unintended consequence, there are opportunities and challenges in making this brave new world work as good or even better than before.
In our last webinar, Dr. Gena Yvette Davis, CEO of True Synergy, Inc, and Viveka coach, shared that 52% of U.S. workers want to at least have a hybrid workplace model, if not continue working from home outright. This is part of what she cites as “The Great Resignation,” a movement away from jobs that make employees unhappy to better and more flexible opportunities. As workers look for autonomy over their time, actions and performance, flexibility may be added as compensation to keep talent on board. Providing remote work as an option is now becoming a critical element of HR recruitment and retention efforts.
However, while remote work may be more convenient for employees, it carries potential drawbacks for both companies and workers. Rahul Kulkarni, CEO of The Sukhi Project, sees what is for some a “complete deterioration of work-life balance.” He cites a study from Oracle that finds 85% of time working remotely can lead to mental health issues: “Deadlines that are giving you stress, conversations that are not exactly delightful with your colleagues.”
“That then goes to your partner five feet away from you, to your children, to your pets. Everything around you. As that boundary between your home life and your work life becomes thinner and thinner, employers are looking for the tools to re-imagine what work-life balance looks like in this modern era.”
Not surprisingly, workplace well-being has become the focus of this new work transformation, and it is still (maybe even more so) dependent on healthy relationships developed among coworkers and managers. It also leads directly to increased retention and overall business growth. Kulkarni says that “As HR professionals know, employees who are friends with each other are four times more likely to be engaged, and much more likely to stay at their job. It is one of the biggest indicators of whether or not someone is going to leave: Whether or not they have their work buddy.” A strong hybrid workplace that values employee well-being can enhance the benefits of working from home while also maintaining, or even improving, the productivity of a traditional office by instilling a sense of autonomy, trust, engagement and a new kind of leadership.
New work-from-home models have disrupted many of the mainstays of a traditional work environment, but it has forced all of us to consider how we collaborate rather than just simply transact. If done well and effectively, especially with the guidance of well-trained coaches and new technologies, it can really enhance overall workplace well-being and the productivity of employees.
For those looking to increase workplace well-being and leadership skills in the hybrid workplace, Viveka and The Sukhi Project offer customizable retreats and training programs designed to foster productivity, engagement, and retention through healthy workplaces.