On the surface, the hybrid work model promises to offer the best of both worlds: the safety, convenience, and freedom of working from home while having the option to take advantage of resources from onsite workspaces. Not surprisingly, over 80 per cent of workers in a recent survey indicated a hybrid model would be optimal.

However, the results have been mixed.

In a recent global study, over 80 per cent of leaders said the hybrid model was exhausting for employees. Tellingly, over 72 per cent of workers in the study reported exhaustion from working hybrid, a figure which was greater than for those still working fully onsite and nearly double the amount of those working fully remote. Clearly, we are still a long way from that expected Goldilocks balance.

Much of the challenge revolves around establishing a consistent workflow. Routines provide structure and consistency, which can reduce stress, particularly during a time of great upheaval such as we’ve experienced during this pandemic. Going back and forth between the office and home seems to be preventing workers from settling into a productive groove.

Considering 90 per cent of global work was done onsite before the pandemic, there is still work to be done trying to navigate the new normal. That being said, it is unreasonable to simply expect things to go back the way they were. Many employers and employees want to make the hybrid model work, it may just take some experimentation to get there.

What Can Employees Do?

Because the hybrid model is so new for many sectors, it’s going to take a lot of communication between managers and staff to figure out what works and what doesn’t. It’s important to establish which setting is optimal for different tasks—what can be done at home versus what can only be achieved onsite. Simply jumping back and forth between the two without any clear logic will only lead to frustrations.

Seven out of ten employees working remotely report missing onsite events like in-person meetings and after-hours celebrations. While these are obviously best leveraged with the onsite aspect of hybrid work, the challenge will be finding the sense of spontaneity that makes these moments feel special.

Communication is vital to combating feelings of isolation and loneliness that can come from being away from the office, but it’s also important to set boundaries as it can be difficult to “switch off” when working remotely from home. Having a decompression routine at the end of the day to disconnect from work can help.

When it comes to the remote aspect of the hybrid model, there’s a lot of concern regarding lack of physical movement. As frustrating as the daily commute can be for many, at least it gets us moving. Concerningly, nearly half of remote employees report walking only 1,000 steps a day, far less than recommended 8,000. An exercise regimen or even just a walk around the neighbourhood at the end of the day can help boost activity and provide that decompression routine.

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