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Hybrid Work Is Exhausting

Hybrid Work Is Exhausting

Knowledge workers with a hybrid work profile have two workplaces to maintain – one in the office and one at home. It involves planning and a stop-start routine: taking the laptop to and from the office every day, and remembering what important things are left where.

The problem is the psychological shift – the change of setting every day – the constant feeling of never being settled, always stressed and the earlier productive 'always at home, working' routine being disrupted.

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The Impact of Hybrid Work: The Statistics

  • Many workers report that hybrid is emotionally draining. In a recent global study by employee engagement platform Tinypulse, more than 80% of people leaders reported that such a set-up was exhausting for employees. Workers, too, reported hybrid was more emotionally taxing than fully remote arrangements – and, concerningly, even full-time office-based work.
  • Optimism among workers soon gave way to fatigue. In Tinypulse’s survey of 100 global workers, 72% reported exhaustion from working hybrid – nearly double the figures for fully remote employees and also greater than those based fully in the office.

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Digital Presenteeism

Digital Presenteeism

Hybrid can also come with a greater risk of digital presenteeism, compared to fully remote jobs which imply employer trust from the get-go. If an employer sets up hybrid without trusting their workforce, it can become little more than a token gesture: workers feel pressure to show their boss they’re not taking advantage of home working.

That could lead to overwork and burnout, the effects of which can be devastating but take a long time to show up.

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Defining Hybrid

For some workers, frustrations with hybrid mean they’re gravitating towards jobs that allow them full control over their schedules. It comes down to what organisations mean by ‘hybrid’.

It’s a broad definition that can be interpreted in many ways: from going into the office three days a week, to once a month. Hybrid can still be the future of work and represent the best of both worlds – but it still needs refining.

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A Successful Hybrid

A Successful Hybrid

  • Hybrid can be successful when managers liaise with staff, likely on an individualised basis, about how the set-up would work best for them. It’s both employer and employee who need to set boundaries, but there needs to be autonomy for the worker to self-manage their schedule – flexibility needs to be dictated by the individual, not the boss.
  • If workers are allowed a degree of choice and control over their working patterns, the rewards could pay dividends. Both people and organisations claim they want hybrid, so there is a great opportunity to change how we work. But it has to go further than the hours the bosses set – it has to be a mindset that works for both employer and employee.

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