“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.” Winston Churchill
The return to the office like many changes to routine can be stressful. Here I talk about how you can make the return to office transition smoother. According to a February 2022 Gallup study of over 12,000 U.S. employees, about four in 10 workers are currently either hybrid (working remotely part of the week) or working entirely from home. What's more, regardless of their if employees are currently classified as work from home, nearly seven in 10 workers say they would prefer to be fully remote or hybrid. (1).
Why do employees want to work from home?
The main reason that hybrid employees have reported wanting to stay hybrid or fully remote is they believe they are able to be “more productive” at home.
How can we maintain our wellbeing and productivity in a hybrid work environment?
Here are some Wellness at Work: Hybrid Do’s and Don’ts
[PHYSICAL / NUTRITION] Do:
Reflect on what has worked well over the past 2 years. Has the lack of commute allowed you to spend more quality time with family? Cook more meals at home? Take exercise, stretch, or walk breaks throughout the day? What can you keep doing as we transition out of the pandemic? Try to meal prep a few days a week or use these simple and healthy recipes.
Set and maintain clear boundaries. If you are working from home, it is not realistic to expect that you will be sitting at your desk for eight straight hours. If you control your work hours at home, they don’t have to mirror those you keep in the office. Set a regular start and end time to your day and discuss boundaries around evenings and weekends with your manager and team. Clearly define what constitutes an “emergency” versus something that can wait until the next business day. Establishing agreements like these will make teams more productive and prevent burn out.
Communicate with your team and managers. Coming out of a pandemic is new for everyone and the only thing that is certain is that we won’t get it 100% right out of the gate. As a manager, communicate openly with your team asking questions about what is going well and what can improve. As an employee, be open with your manager on how you like to communicate and check-in.
Have a separate hybrid schedule and in-office schedule. We’re all creatures of habit. Try to go to bed at the same time every night regardless of if you are working from home the next day or going to the office. If you have created a new routine while working from home that includes exercise in the morning, think of ways you can continue that healthy habit on in-office days as well as work-from-home days.
[SOCIAL CONNECTEDNESS] Don’t:
Forego all in-person or in-office experiences. On-site work offers an environment where people can have interpersonal interaction with colleagues and managers or clients. These types of social interactions tend to recharge individuals. There's even a business case for encouraging your employees to spend more time socializing -- people who have a best friend at work, research shows, are seven times as likely to be engaged in their jobs, are better at engaging customers and produce higher-quality work.(3) When you return to office, be intentional about eating lunch with your team or having coffee with a mentor.
[FINANCIAL WELLNESS] Don’t:
Blow your budget. With gas prices soaring and inflation skyrocketing, returning to the office and commuting to work will also be a drain on the family budget. Some tips to control costs include: Bringing your own coffee and lunch to work, carpooling, and making the most of your scheduled days in the office. Having a bunch of video-conference calls on your in-office days may leave you feeling less fulfilled and wasteful.
Jeremie Brecheisen is a Partner and Managing Director of the CHRO Roundtable at Gallup.
Anna Truscott-Smith is a Senior Research Consultant at Gallup.
Ben Wigert, Ph.D., is Director of Research and Strategy, Workplace Management, at Gallup.
2. Dimensions of wellness: Change your habits, change your life
Debbie L. Stoewen
Can Vet J. 2017 Aug; 58(8): 861–862
Ben Wigert is Director of Research and Strategy, Workplace Management, at Gallup.
Kristin Barry is Director of Hiring Analytics at Gallup.
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