The Saboteurs of Modern Working: Navigating Mental Wellbeing in Hybrid Workplaces

20 December 2022

In a post-pandemic world, hybrid working has become the new normal. Many employees value the perks of flexible working models, like spending less time commuting, having more freedom to set their own hours and working from wherever they feel most productive. Working from home also allows employees to balance their professional life with their family and personal life.

However, this new reality also brings a unique set of challenges. Employees working from home may find it harder to draw a clear line between their work and personal lives, as well as making collaboration more difficult with their colleagues.

In combination with other factors, such as the reduced social contact with colleagues and lack of a suitable office space at home, this can lead to dips in motivation, productivity and overall mental wellbeing.

We believe that there is a direct link between mental health and performance and that business leaders play a vital role in shaping a healthy work environment for their employees.

Ahead of the new year, we share our best advice on how managers and companies can contribute to their staff’s mental wellbeing and prevent employee burnout in 2023.

  1. Create optimal spaces for productivity

One of the most commonly reported downsides of working from home is the blurring of lines between work and personal life. Home workers often find it more difficult to switch off mentally after work and may even find themselves completing projects after hours, skipping lunches, or responding to emails on days off.

This can be especially tough to balance in small flats and homes without a separate office room. Pets, household tasks and family members can cause additional distractions that negatively impact productivity levels.

Meanwhile, office working encourages a clearer line between work and home life. The challenge for employers is to optimise office spaces and create healthy environments, designed to enhance the wellbeing of employees and encourage productivity and creativity.

At Birchwood Park, our sites are designed to provide as many versatile workspace options as possible. Having open, communal workspaces as well as designated quiet zones and meeting rooms provides our occupants with plenty of options to use the facilities that best suit their workload and day-to-day activities.

Fewer distractions in the office can mean its easier to focus on important tasks in an office environment, with many workspaces designed for just this. Offices will enhance privacy and reduce ambient noise which can lead to increased productivity.

  1. Social engagement: a community-led approach

While remote workers use a variety of methods of communication like video conferencing and phone calls, technology cannot replace the value face-to-face communication. Offices allow for more direct communication and easier collaborations with others.

Working from home, on the other hand, can make it difficult to connect with co-workers and teammates, which can lead to feelings of loneliness and stress. In our Workplace Wellbeing Handbook, our research found that 95% of people are wanting to move away from working solely at home, and for those who go into the office on a regular basis it’s more than just a place of work.

Our research has shown the negative impact homeworking is having on the lives of employees, with increased screen time and longer hours (45%), feeling disconnected from our colleagues (44%), and increased difficulty in switching off at the end of the day (32%) amongst the most significant concerns.

At Birchwood Park, we provide communal spaces in our offices like shared kitchens, hangout areas and collaboration spaces. We believe in a community-led approach. Hosting social events like group meetups, music events, brunches, charity fundraisers, sports clubs, seasonal events and our biannual wellbeing week more is a great way to get our occupants together to have fun and encourage team bonding.

  1. Healthy body, healthy mind. 

There are countless studies on the positive effects of physical exercise on our bodies. Next to improving our physical health, exercise also does wonders for our mental wellbeing. A workout before work or on your lunch break can recharge the brain to help you stay focused and energised throughout the day and solve problems more effectively.

Luckily, gym memberships are normally affordable and widely accessible to office- and home workers alike. Many employers are already recognising the benefits of promoting a healthy lifestyle to their employees, with initiatives like monthly step incentives, office yoga or occasional sporting events.

Here at Birchwood Park, we have long championed the value of access to exercise at work. Our on-site gyms Alive & Well offer discounted memberships to people on the park, as well as PT sessions, gym equipment and a variety of classes. Conveniently located within walking distance for all occupiers, it means that we’re supporting everyone to stay active in the New Year.

Click here to find out more about the health and wellness initiatives we offer here at Birchwood Park.

Current Occupiers