Hybrid Working & Employee Productivity
Following unprecedented global events, the working landscape has undergone a profound transformation — hybrid working, once seen as a temporary solution, has now become firmly entrenched in the fabric of modern employment.
As we stride forward into this new era, it’s abundantly clear that hybrid working is not merely a shift in where we work; it represents a fundamental reinvention of how we work. In this article, we explore the dynamic relationship between home working and employee performance, establishing the necessary strategies to optimize and sustain the productivity of hybrid workers.
The Productivity Benefits of Hybrid & Home Working
The business world was, and some would say to a certain extent still is, resistant to the idea of hybrid working patterns, and while there are certainly potential drawbacks to consider, this flexible working system has proven highly beneficial for employee productivity.
As evidence of the success of hybrid working, a large-scale Upwork study found that roughly 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely by 2025. This study also points out that 68% of managers feel that remote working is getting easier over time, and more so report that home working has enhanced employee productivity.
Such are the perceived benefits of home working that, for many, hybrid working models are no longer mere locational arrangements or a necessary pivot to navigate pandemic — they’re performance-enhancing tools in of themselves.
Let’s explore why home working productivity has the edge in modern professional contexts.
Offices and other similar professional environments are hives of activity — from keyboard noise to employee chatter, the potential for work disruption is endless.
While collaboration is sometimes necessary in this class of workspace, the vast majority of an individual’s duties are carried out alone and require a great deal of concentration, meaning employees are ever at odds with their environment.
Research has suggested that employees are far more focused when working in quieter, more controlled spaces, away from the buzz of office settings — making the home far more conducive to high-quality work.
Individuals working from home can choose their acoustic environment, tailor it to their concentration needs, and stay in the zone for longer periods, enabling them to tackle complex tasks with greater efficiency.
The ability to create a personalized workspace also plays a pivotal role in enhancing concentration. At home, employees can arrange their desk, lighting, and décor to create an environment that maximizes their productivity.
This level of customization is often impossible in a shared office space where workstations are standardized, stifling productivity not just in a practical sense, but on a deeper level.
When surrounded by familiar and personally chosen elements, individuals tend to feel more comfortable and focused, ultimately contributing to improved concentration levels.
In fact, as a safe, private space, the home itself provides a sense of comfort and familiarity that can reduce stress and anxiety, helping individuals to stay mentally focused on their tasks and operate at a higher level.
According to a survey carried out by Hubble, 79% of respondents reported that not having to commute was the best aspect of hybrid and home working, which has a wealth of implications for employee wellbeing and productivity.
The typical American commute may involve rushing to get ready on time, traffic jams, the smell of fumes, and long periods of unproductivity — this forms a stark contrast against the homeworker’s morning. There’s a good chance commuters feel, at least marginally, irritated, stressed, anxious, or potentially even exhausted before their day has really begun.
Peer reviewed research suggests that longer commutes correlate with reduced job satisfaction and mental health, and according to research carried out by Zippia, happy workers are 13% more productive than their less satisfied colleagues.
Furthermore, a recent study led by Chicago University found that hybrid workers were using roughly a third of the time saved by avoiding the commute to get a head start on their work, significantly enhancing their already bolstered productivity rates.
The Ergonomics Risk of Hybrid Working
Any new work environment, regardless of familiarity, poses a new set of ergonomics risk factors that can easily go unnoticed unless homeworkers are given sufficient ergonomics training.
Poor Workstation Setup
One of the primary home office ergonomics risks is poor workstation setup. Many remote workers do not have access to proper office furniture and equipment, leading to makeshift workstations that may lack ergonomic chairs, adjustable desks, or adequate monitor setups.
This can result in awkward postures, leading to discomfort and, over time, musculoskeletal issues like back and neck pain, as well as various repetitive strain injuries.
Hinge Health carried out a survey of over 900 full- and part-time workers in the US, finding that 45% of home workers were experiencing either back or joint pain and that 71% of these workers claimed the pain was entirely caused, or at least exacerbated, by operating remotely without home working ergonomics in place.
Another concern is the lack of movement and physical activity during remote work. Traditional office settings often encourage breaks and social interactions, but remote workers may find themselves sitting for prolonged periods without taking adequate breathers.
This sedentary lifestyle can contribute to health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular issues, and decreased productivity due to reduced circulation and concentration.
Additionally, the psychological aspect of remote work can take its toll. Feelings of isolation, increased stress, and blurred boundaries between work and personal life can negatively affect mental health, which, in turn, impacts physical wellbeing and employee productivity.
Employers and employees alike should be aware of these ergonomic risks and take proactive steps to mitigate them, and we’re here to help streamline the process.
Preparing Your Hybrid Workforce with Ergonomics Training
The solution to the potential pitfalls of home working is simply building awareness of associated ergonomics risk factors, among both employees and employers.
Although hybrid workers are permitted to customize their workspace whilst working from home, it remains the obligation of employers to ensure risk factors are identified and mitigated — this makes home working hazard avoidance a collaborative effort.
We provide a myriad of comprehensive global ergonomics risk solutions that can target those on hybrid working patterns, as well as line managers responsible for their wellbeing.
Using our virtual ergonomics assessments, hybrid workers can easily identify the risk factors present in their new work environment. Following this, employers can deliver essential e-learning ergonomics training to vulnerable parties via Healthy Working, our award-winning ergonomics risk management software trusted by thousands of organizations around the world.
Featuring an intuitive central management system, Healthy Working can be customized to any type of workstation or environment, allowing employers to distribute bespoke home working ergonomics training tailored to the individual needs of employees — ergonomics should never follow a one-size-fits-all approach.
We understand the gravity of your duty of care to your employees and that you want to make sure you’re partnered with the best to ensure their wellbeing. This is why we invite you to sample our software before you make your final decision. Explore how Healthy working can streamline your operations and protect your employees by singing up for our free trial.
Hybrid working presents a wealth of fresh challenges and potential benefits, and with our help, you can effectively and efficiently tackle the former in order to achieve the latter, namely, enhanced remote working productivity.
Our goal is to make the new normal for workers around the world as safe as possible, dramatically improving employee wellbeing and helping individuals to realize their full potential.
Working in partnership with Cardinus, businesses will benefit from increased operational efficiency, lower overheads and liabilities, and more robust organization-wide cultures of safety and support.