The health and wellbeing benefits associated with hybrid working are overestimated by employers, new research has revealed.
A study by Grid found that almost two-thirds (64%) think these arrangements have positively affected the health and wellbeing of their workforce, compared to just half (53%) of employees who agree.
However, both employers and staff believe that hybrid working doesn’t suit everyone, with 6% and 7% respectively believing it can have a negative impact.
According to Grid, although it might seem to be a fairly small percentage who think that hybrid working negatively affects their health and wellbeing, it clearly represents a large number of people.
The industry body for the group risk sector warns that while many view having a flexible working location as beneficial, employers shouldn’t make assumptions or change their working practices or workplaces in ways that could harm their employees.
Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Grid, said: “Employers have a slightly exaggerated view of just how much hybrid working is benefiting the health and wellbeing of their staff. It’s clearly the case that many do find it a positive experience, but employers should be careful not to assume this is a panacea for everyone.
“It’s important to note that health and wellbeing support will still be required for everyone, and particularly for those who have found the change in working patterns more difficult to cope with.”
Of the individuals who believed that hybrid working had a positive impact, most cited mental wellbeing as the area most improved (68%). The second most improved area was social wellbeing (45%), followed by financial wellbeing (44%) and physical wellbeing (43%).
Moxham added: “Employers may have already seen the benefits to physical and social health by allowing staff to relinquish their journey to work, allowing employees to spend more time with family and friends and potentially using the time for fitness activities to improve their physical health.”
Half (50%) of individuals surveyed said they can choose whether or not to work from the office, while a fifth (22%) of employers said that they have given all staff the option of where they work and a third (34%) said they have allowed some, rather than all, workers to decide.
Moxham concluded: “Employers that fully support the health and wellbeing of their staff through a programme of employee benefits and other flexible policies, will be rewarded with more a more engaged and more proactive workforce. Hybrid working can play a role but it’s not the silver bullet.”