It’s always been said that a company’s best asset is its people. And when COVID-19 shone a spotlight on well-being, more employees began prioritising a better work-and-home balance. Now, with the reality of hybrid work, companies need to do the same if they want to retain talent.
This is particularly critical in the UAE, where stress in the workforce ranks among the highest. A Poly survey found that 67.6 per cent of employees in the UAE believe they are more productive working from home, with 78 per cent believing that the traditional 9-to-5 is outdated. This is not surprising given that employees are able to better balance time for their family and health around their work commitments.
But there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for making this happen as a business. Here’s how different employer types can ensure well-being remains a priority while successfully adapting to the new hybrid way of working.
Returners or choice-givers
In the journey to a hybrid workplace, there are two major types of employers we identified in the 12 Considerations report: Returners and Choice-givers.
Not all industries can fully adopt a hybrid workplace. For example, healthcare, retail, and other front-line service-oriented industries are considered ‘hardly hybrid’ due to the nature of their work. These are also known as the ‘Returners’ who are required to be in contact with people on a face-to-face basis, but also extends to workers who need to return to office-based jobs full-time.
On the other hand, there are ‘hyper-hybrid’ industries that can have most of their workforce out of the office on a regular basis, for example, technology, finance, and sales. These companies are identified as ‘Choice-givers’, who give their employees the flexibility to work in or away from the office. It’s their choice.
Of course, it’s possible to have Returners with fully hybrid departments or Choice-givers with fully office-based teams. No matter where you are in the spectrum, companies still need to ensure that employee well-being remains a priority.
This means not just providing the right devices for your teams, but also setting up programs that promote mental, physical, and emotional well-being. These could be in the form of additional benefits, on-site and virtual engagement activities, proper workload management, and more.
Well-being is more than just benefits however, it’s making sure you have strong, empowering leaders and a healthy work culture that isn’t toxic or damaging at any seniority level.
In-person vs. digital
Whether you’re a Returner or a Choice-giver, companies must ensure equal opportunities to communicate, collaborate and build relationships. Particularly in the virtual environment. While Returners tend to go back to a familiar environment: sharing physical spaces with many, if not most, of their colleagues, remote or hyper-hybrid companies can’t offer the same collaboration style.
In the UAE 48 per cent of employees are worried that remote working means missing out on learning from peers. That’s why having the best-in-class audio and video equipment, infrastructure, and productivity platforms can level the playing field.
When remote workers feel as if they aren’t disadvantaged, are still being heard, and are able to have meaningful development and communication, it allows businesses to pave the way to a collaborative culture that works from anywhere. And this has a direct positive impact on employee well-being.
Ultimately, being able to build healthy work relationships and successful teams with personal career progression will increase work satisfaction and better work/life balance for employees that will ultimately improve their well-being. Which in turn will have a positive effect on businesses.