Out of sight, out of mind. It’s an old adage, and we use it as a cautionary tale to warn ourselves and others that we need to intentionally focus on the things that matter, otherwise we end up neglecting them. Add to this the other saying, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ and you’ve got the problem and solution to wellbeing during hybrid working neatly sewn up.
All of the data from the last two years has indicated that people have actually worked longer and harder than ever before. The word burn-out keeps recurring in news items and articles at the moment, and we know from our experience and research that people struggle to put wellbeing at the forefront of their day when working in a hybrid way.
Culture, employee engagement and mental health and wellbeing are inextricably linked, so it is no surprise that we discovered issues with worker wellbeing during Covid-19 restrictions when we surveyed HR leads. The pandemic’s impact on employee engagement was matched by its effects on mental health and wellbeing.
It is clear, then, that mental health and wellbeing must become central to business priorities, for the shift from the crisis footing we have been on to new, future-fit ways of working. And already there is plenty of advice out there for C-suite on wellbeing strategies and empathetic leadership, and for all of us on taking personal responsibility. We are seeing a seismic shift in many sectors in the way we work, and leaders, HRs and line managers are not short of information to navigate a way through it all.
Yet, are we missing something here? Do we need a subtle shift in focus? The day-to-day experience for many of us, in large organisations and small, is the team. Teamwork makes the dream work. We know this. And here’s the thing: team performance and team wellbeing are inextricably linked. Members of a team are profoundly influential on each others health and happiness at work.
It’s why our mantra at Tuddl is harness the power of the team. Utilising the crowd to stay well is a fundamental part of workplace engagement that everyone can jump on board with. And this can be particularly powerful for dispersed, hybrid-working teams.
So, for starters, here are four way you and your team can engage and keep well:
- Share what you are trying to do, get ideas and input – want to exercise more, or take breaks that recharge you? Tell the team, ask them for ideas and, fundamentally, ask for help. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many offers come in – we are a species that likes to help each other, so use that capacity to hit your goals.
- Buddy up and double your chances of success – research shows that we are twice as likely to achieve something if we do it with someone else. So, if it’s healthy snacks, get someone else to create a ‘menu’ with you, and both use it, or if it’s a regular break, diarise it together and call or message in when it starts.
- Make time to talk about wellbeing achievements/struggles – make space on your team agenda to ask a simple question – ‘How well are we?’ – don’t leave it until someone is failing to ask the question. Making it a regular conversation ensures it’s an area of sharing rather than shame, and, if done properly, people will get lots of new things to try, and support in doing them.
- Build wellbeing into any physical team meetings or events – use the time together to invest in some healthy snack eating (they are not as bad as we all think), do the meeting as a walk and talk, put huge jugs of water on the tables, ask people what time and length of meeting fits them best. Be intentional about wellbeing.
We know that wellbeing needs more than these four things – self discipline, personal planning and focus on own wellbeing are all critical. But, with hybrid working comes the risk of isolation, so all of these well-intentioned actions will suffer if you are feeling lonely and unsupported. Connect the team through wellbeing.