Before we’d ever heard of Covid, many of us were always keen to move to a more flexible and hybrid working model. Hybrid working is a mixture of home and office working and is hanging around as the post-pandemic new normal. But now that it’s here for many, are we happy about it?
There is no doubt that the hybrid model brings benefits – for both employees and employers – but the additional stress it is bringing to individuals isn’t plain sailing and needs addressing.
What is hybrid burnout?
Hybrid burnout is the term being coined to describe the unique driver of stress that’s occurring as a result of workers living two distinctly different working patterns. For part of the time they work in the office with the associated stressors of things like a commute and social navigation. For the remaining time they work at home with stressors such as isolation, logistics and extended hours. The two blended together also fuel an ‘always on’ culture where boundaries have blurred.
Instead of adjusting to one working pattern and taking the downsides as a trade-off for the benefits, with hybrid working, many people are feeling that they are experiencing all the downsides and few of the benefits.
Add in all of the other stresses borne of the pandemic and the result is a form of work-based stress on a scale we’ve not really witnessed before.
The solution to the hybrid headache
The solution sounds so simple: hybrid habits need to form which demark personal time, create boundaries, and bring in balance for the individual. In reality, that’s proving hard to do.
It can help for individuals and employers to understand what healthy hybrid habits are.
We don’t grow out of needing routines. Hybrid burnout has happened because our routines were so disrupted by the pandemic’s sudden arrival and ongoing uncertainty that we struggled to put them back in place. It can help to have a set working pattern, with clearly defined days in and out of the office. Attempting a ‘do it all’ method of using each place for different purposes leads to over committing.
- Personal space
Many hybrid working models are seeing employees using hot desk set ups when they are in the office. WFH they may not have an ideal space either. The result is that there’s no workplace ‘home’. Nothing feels quite right, and always feels make-do. Try to ensure employees have good WFH arrangements and their own space in the office as much as possible.
- Boundaries and breaks
Breaks and boundaries must be built into the hybrid model. Employees should be encouraged to use their breaks, and keep to reasonable hours. Employers can lead by example here.
- Talk and share
We’re all new here! Employees and employers should be regularly checking in with how hybrid working models are actually panning out. Support should be put in place for any employees showing signs of stress.
If you’re struggling to adapt to the hybrid working model and are experiencing symptoms of fatigue, stress and worry, then it may be hybrid burnout. Try to put in place the hybrid habits above. But remember, now is a brilliant time for candidates. You can find the right working model for you if your current one isn’t working. Search jobs.