COVID-19 lockdowns cemented the rise of flexible working. For many people, working from home has major benefits. But remote working does have a downside – a whole new stack of well-being issues. So how can you tell if your new employer considers hybrid workers’ mental health?
This is particularly important in a field like IT recruitment. Because so many IT jobs these days come with the expectation that remote or hybrid working will be a standard part of how they are delivered.
Let’s take a look at how to explore how much consideration your new employer has given to their hybrid workers:
The benefits of hybrid working
If you’re reading an article on the subject, it’s likely you have at least some experience of hybrid working. If you’re having issues with it (or suspect you might in future) though, it’s worth reminding yourself of the advantages. Namely:
-No more (or greatly reduced) commuting!
-A better work-life balance
-Greater job satisfaction
The cons of hybrid working
That said, there are some downsides associated with remote working. These can include:
-Lack of separation between working hours and non-working hours
-Too many tasks assigned at one time
-Potentially reduced lines of communication between team members and managers
-Problems relating to diversity and bias towards in-office staff
– Mismatching employer and employee expectations
Why it’s vital to check employer hybrid working expectations
Many remote and hybrid working issues grow out of systems that were put in ad hoc and at speed when COVID-19 lockdown orders came in. On top of this, some employers remain sceptical of remote working – despite the evidence that it actually benefits productivity, talent attraction, and employee retention.
When either of these situations comes into contact with the now-common expectation that an IT job will offer hybrid working, friction occurs. Chiefly, this will be when employee and employer expectations around the term differ.
It’s sadly not uncommon to hear someone hired for a “fully remote” information security or web developer job discover their employer does expectthem to be in the office part of the week. This is a particular problem when the office is in a different part of the country.
This makes it vital to double-check the precise expectations your new employer has around any remote or hybrid working arrangements. It can be very beneficial to explore having these written into your contract so everyone knows where they stand.
Does your new employer have a remote working strategy?
There are some identifiable signs your new employer has given their remote working strategy some thought. Ask yourself:
1) Have they thought about onboarding?
Remote working calls for a different onboarding process than full-time office-based work. Hybrid workers should expect there to be more office time than they might otherwise expect in their first few weeks to account for this.
For fully remote roles, an even more carefully considered onboarding process is required. At least part of this should involve introducing you to your team. If your employee welcome pack (or equivalent) doesn’t make this clear, don’t be afraid to ask how you’ll meet everyone.
2) What communication channels are in place?
Few people benefit from wholly isolated working conditions. It’s also not always beneficial to only interact with your fellow team members through message apps.
Some of the first questions it can be beneficial to ask your employer before you sign on the dotted line include:
-Will line managers check in with their team? If so, when and how?
-Are you expected to be “on call” after working hours?
-What channels are used for which types of communication?
-Are team days structured to give everyone the option to come into the office together?
-Are there virtual social activities or regular group calls for remote working team members?
Even asking one or two of these questions can give you an indication of how much thought your new employer has put into hybrid working.
3) How can issues, preferences, and concerns be raised?
One of the good things about working in an office that remote working doesn’t always replicate is the ability to at least have some idea of how to raise an issue with working conditions.
The best employers understand that treating everyone as an individual with their own hybrid working preferences will get them the best results in terms of productivity. They may even encourage their team to suggest the way they’d like to work.
Other companies sadly try to enforce an inefficient and unhelpful structure and only succeed in causing issues that impact how well everyone can do their job.
If your employer has a process in place for how you can raise suggestions and preferences, it’s a solid indication that they could be one of the former.
Does your new employer consider hybrid workers’ mental health?
More than half of UK employers expect more of their staff to be working from home more of the time in the near future.
The more hybrid working becomes the norm, the more issues relating to mental health are likely to get their due attention.
In the meantime, careful consideration and often some investigation are required to ensure your new employer properly considers the mental health of its hybrid workforce.
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