For many workers, the prospect of shifting to hybrid work is full of promises of work-life balance. 

Spend only two or three days at the office and work the rest of the time from home! 

Reduce your commuting time! 

Get out of bed 30 minutes later than usual! 

Enjoy a flexible work schedule! 

Have more time to spend with your family!

With true benefits like these, hybrid work does sound ideal — and it can be. But if it isn’t managed well, it can impact employee stress levels because hybrid work models introduce a new type of working format that may be unfamiliar and require a whole new way to think of your work day. 

So: does hybrid work increase stress? It doesn’t have to — as long as you have the right policies and technologies in place. 

There’s an art and a science to implementing hybrid work in a way that keeps your employees happy, in a good mental state and motivated to continue good work. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how to prevent stress from building up in employees who work in hybrid environments.


Quick Answer:

Hybrid work in itself doesn’t increase stress. In fact, numerous studies have shown that working in a hybrid office improves employees’ work-life balance, reduces the risk of professional burnout, and cuts work-related stress by up to 50%

But to achieve these results, it’s important to consider the following eight mitigation tips: 

  1. Set clear work-from-home policies.
  2. Respect employees’ work preferences.
  3. Use the right flex space and hybrid work management software.
  4. Encourage employees to have a dedicated workspace at home.
  5. Honor employees’ work/life boundaries.
  6. Encourage breaks.
  7. Conduct frequent, friendly check-ins.
  8. Offer an informal digital meeting space.

These tips and other information on whether hybrid work increases stress will be discussed below.

The Hybrid Work Experience Paradox

Since hybrid work is a fairly new development in the workplace, companies and employees are still evaluating its advantages and disadvantages.

Many workers simply love hybrid work. They like the flexibility and report that it gives them less stress than other types of work arrangements.

a hybrid employee working in the office

Various recent studies indicate that around 44% to 53% of employees want to go hybrid. For 55%, the ideal arrangement is to work from home at least three days per week. 

Enthusiasm for going 100% remote also exists; study results point in the direction of 24% of employees hoping to be able to go fully remote. But what about employers? Well, just over half (51%) are in support of hybrid work, though only 5% favor their workforce going fully remote.

Despite employees’ and employers’ general love for hybrid work, other research shows that hybrid work can lead to employee stress. 

A report by Zippia shows that employees in different working arrangements experience stress in varying degrees:

  • Fully in-person: 25%
  • Hybrid: 33%
  • Mostly remote: 41%
  • Fully remote: 30% 

Check out this article if you’re interested in more hybrid work stats.

So, in other words, hybrid work is the second-most stressful format, only ahead of full in-person office workplaces. What’s going on? If employees love hybrid work, especially in contrast to entirely in-person work arrangements, why is hybrid work the second-highest in Zippia’s stress test? 

There’s definitely more going on beyond the surface, which we’ll explore below. First, let’s put this in the context of workplace stress in general.

What Is Work-Related Stress?

Stress is a sense of psychological, emotional, or physical tension. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Work-related stress is the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope.”

commuting

The traditional workplace certainly contributes significantly to stress in workers’ lives.

For example, beginning the workday with a rush to get out the door, caring for dependents, and slogging through commute stressors like traffic jams or the daily dangers of driving on a crowded highway is just the first source of stress.

Once at the workplace, common stressors could come from:

  • Unclear directions or processes
  • Conflicts with coworkers or supervisors
  • An unhealthy or unsafe work environment
  • Not feeling adequately compensated for the work done

So, if working partially from home takes away the morning commute or the pressure of other responsibilities, does hybrid work increase stress or reduce it?

Types of Employee Stress Related to Hybrid Work

In the above example, it’s clear that the very nature of hybrid work reduces the intensity of some possible stressors, such as the daily commute or being physically present in an unhealthy workspace. 

But here’s the clincher:

The other stressors listed, such as unclear directions or processes, interpersonal conflict with coworkers or supervisors, or even feeling inadequately compensated for the value you bring or the hours you work won’t just go away when the employee is working from home. 

stressed hybrid employee

In fact, in many cases, a hybrid environment not supported by hybrid work policies can reveal a very real gap brought on by off-site communication or poor operations infrastructure and processes. 

As beneficial as it is, hybrid employees also report the following new challenges they experience within a hybrid workplace that can cause stress over time:  

  • Distractions at home (spouse/partner, kids, pets, deliveries, etc.)
  • Difficulty staying disciplined or motivated
  • Fear of secret electronic surveyance by supervisors seeking to maintain control
  • A sense of becoming disconnected from coworkers (this can be triggered by generational differences)
  • Lugging equipment, such as a laptop, back and forth between work and home
  • Technology challenges such as lacking adequate equipment, the right software, or company network access at home
  • A slow or unstable internet connection
  • Feeling like you’re always working or that your work life is seeping into your home life
  • Difficulty connecting virtually with one’s boss, team, or department
  • Harder to feel like you’re allowed to take time-off if you work remotely or a split of days when you’re not in-office

slow internet at home

Now, here’s the good news: employers can take care of most, if not all, of these hybrid stress contributors through good hybrid work management (more on that later). 

But first, what’s the impact of going hybrid on employers?

Employer Stress Related to a Hybrid Workplace

Unsurprisingly, employees aren’t the only ones facing new types of potential stress from hybrid work. Employers, managers, and supervisors also have to adapt to this new way of working and prevent burnout.

Their stressors look a little different — but are directly related to the ways in which employees experience stress:  

  • Staying on top of employee engagement and productivity when they’re not always present
  • Juggling meetings when key employees aren’t in the workspace
  • Investing in, mastering, and maintaining new technologies to keep the members of the hybrid workforce connected
  • The sunk costs of empty offices
  • The effect of empty desks on employee morale

an empty office

To minimize hybrid work stress, it’s a good idea to understand how potential stressors can affect different personality types. Understanding these differences will make managing a hybrid workforce — and finding solutions for potential stressors — that much easier.

How Hybrid Work Affects Different Personality Types

Let’s be clear: there’s no one best personality type for hybrid work. 

Any personality type can thrive in a hybrid environment because the very nature of hybrid work is that it’s flexible. However, the trick is to take each employee’s personality strengths and needs into account when managing a hybrid workforce.

There are many personality type indicators, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll use the DiSC® profile model. Many companies use DiSC in their hiring processes to determine the applicant’s compatibility with the position and company.

disc personality types

DiSC works with four personality profiles: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. Each of them responds differently to workplace stress — and we’ll explore how you can adapt the hybrid work environment to their strengths.

Dominance

A person with a high D score wants to make things happen — ideally, in no time. 

As the typical drivers in the workplace, D-types love action and thrive in creative tension. They can handle stress better than most and generally do well in a flexible work environment.

So throw the Ds into hybrid work head-first. Most of them will be eager to take on the new challenge.

Influence

The i-types love the social aspect of life. They’re enthusiastic, optimistic, collaborative, friendly, and convincing. 

The greatest fear for i-types is loss of influence. The prospect of being thrust into a work environment where social connections are diminished can cause them a lot of stress. 

So make sure your i-types have ways to stay connected in a hybrid environment so they won’t lose their social moorings.

Steadiness

Those with a high S-score enjoy collaborating. They tend to be calm, consistent, patient, and predictable, and they love doing stable, routine work.

S-types fear a loss of stability. A hybrid work arrangement can make them feel stressed simply because it uproots their fixed patterns and requires more flexibility. 

coworkers connecting over work

So go easy on the S-types. Reassure them that new processes will soon stabilize. And if they have trouble getting used to going hybrid, give them the option of staying put.

Conscientiousness

C-types are knowledge-oriented, factual, and methodical. They demand accuracy and use their analytical abilities to get things done the right way. 

C-types may resist processes that seem random to them, such as daily changing workspaces. But once they understand the rationale, they tend to do well in hybrid work arrangements.

So, help the C-types see the objective benefits of hybrid work. They may well become your best advocates!

With this extra effort, each of these personality types will feel supported as they learn to embrace the new hybrid reality.

8 Tips to Reduce Hybrid Work Stress

Keeping personality types and different stress responses in mind, let’s look at eight ways to manage potential hybrid work stress.

1. Set Clear Work-from-Home Policies

Hybrid work arrangements are so new for many companies that policy development may lag behind. This vacuum can lead to stress-inducing situations in which employees aren’t clear about what exactly is expected from them in the new arrangement.  

home office set up

So before going hybrid, create a straightforward work-from-home policy that applies to workers across the board.

Here are some free ebooks on developing a hybrid work model:

  1. Hybrid Work For Dummies, OfficeRnD Special Edition
  2. Guidelines and Policies for Optimizing Your Hybrid Workspace

2. Respect Employees’ Work Preferences

Not all employees take well to hybrid work. Some simply don’t like it, even if they could manage it. 

To keep your workforce happy, be careful not to pressure employees into hybrid work if it clashes with their personal preferences and circumstances. 

Instead, maintain an employee-centric workplace strategy that allows workers to determine their best personal work arrangements.

3. Use the Right Hybrid Work Management Software

Staying on top of hybrid working arrangements can be complex — but technologies such as project management and workplace software can help you manage this task well. 

OfficeRnD Hybrid specializes in practical tools for efficiency in hybrid environments and aims at bringing people in the office for the moments that matter. 

time management

Watch a 1-minute video on our desk booking software and more!

4. Encourage Employees to Have a Dedicated Workspace at Home

Help your employees get settled remotely by offering recommendations for the ideal home office.

Provide the necessary equipment just as you would for an office space, such as a large monitor and an ergonomic desk chair.

Check out this article on the top hot desking accessories

Set up a system to reimburse employees for home office expenses such as pens, printer ink, and copy paper. They’ll be grateful not to have to come begging!

5. Honor Employees’ Work-Life Boundaries

Set clear guidelines for when employees at home may or may not be contacted for work purposes so they won’t feel like they’re always on call. 

Encourage using the “turn off notifications” feature in the project management software the company uses.

6. Encourage Breaks

Breaks are necessary for mental and physical resets during the day. 

However, remote workers tend to be less regular in taking them. They may even feel guilty for stepping away from the computer for anything more than a bathroom break.

So reassure your remote employees that it’s okay to take breaks. Encourage them to get out of their chair and go outside for some exercise and fresh air.

7. Conduct Frequent, Friendly Check-ins

Since alienation from coworkers is a real risk of remote work, make sure your company’s supervisors touch base regularly with remote workers.

It’s important to do this not just via online messaging or email but in person, such as via phone calls or video chats, and to show an interest in the worker’s personal life in addition to job-related issues.

8. Offer an Informal Digital Meeting Space

According to a Zippia report, “Only 36% of workers can keep up strong interactions with their colleagues when working remotely. Moving from full-time office to full-time remote work increases loneliness by 67%.”

To combat loneliness, offer your employees free use of a software platform such as Zoom or Skype where they can touch base informally, just as they would at the office. In addition, you can organize virtual team-building activities.

digital watercooler for reducing hybrid work stress

The Final Verdict: Does Hybrid Work Increase Stress?

Hybrid work can increase stress for some employees due to the challenges of balancing work and personal life, adapting to new technology, and feeling disconnected from colleagues. However, it can also reduce stress by providing more flexibility, reducing commuting time, and improving work-life balance.

Employers can control and mitigate these stressors through policies and provisions designed to make the hybrid work process easier and more enjoyable for both employees and supervisors.

Foster a Stress-Free Workplace With OfficeRnD Hybrid

OfficeRnD Hybrid specializes in embeddable solutions for hybrid workplaces that promote collaboration and engagement, thus helping employers manage and reduce worker stress. 

Click here to start for free with OfficeRnD Hybrid or book a live demo and talk to our workplace experts to pinpoint the perfect solutions for your workplace stress!

FAQ

Are Employees Happy with Hybrid Work?

In general, yes. According to a Gallup study, 40% of employees prefer to be in the office two to three days per week, and 30% would like to reduce that to just one or two days per week.

Is Hybrid Work Better for Mental Health?

Hybrid work gives many workers more peace of mind due to the flexibility to work when and where they want. 

To counteract the potential of hybrid workers feeling they are losing contact with the company and their colleagues, employers can offer solutions to help employees stay connected.

What Are the Negative Effects of Hybrid Working?

Many workers do great with more flexibility. However, those who thrive within fixed structures may find it more difficult to manage their time and remain focused and productive. 

Fortunately, time management software can help solve this issue. Check out this article on how to manage your time better in a hybrid workplace.

What Are the Problems with Hybrid Work Schedules?

There are several, including employees feeling that their work hour boundaries are unclear, so they’re always on call. Statista reports that 43% of hybrid employees feel they aren’t included in meetings. 

Employers can also face issues with reduced office occupancy. Technologies such as OfficeRnD Hybrid are designed to help manage these challenges.

Asen Stoyanchev
Senior Content Marketing & SEO Specialist | OfficeRnD
Asen is passionate about flexible working and the future of work. He firmly believes that work flexibility directly impacts one's health and well-being. When he's not writing, Asen spends his time devouring business literature, hiking, and parenting.