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Flexible Work, Mental Health, And Well-being

21st Jul 2023

A staggering 92% of individuals express a strong inclination towards flexible work arrangements, which partly comes from a desire for greater work-life balance.

It’s also noteworthy that now 34.7% of job seekers actively seek employers who provide mental health support, while 29.6% specifically desire well-being allowances. 

This escalating demand for mental health benefits emphasises the significant and increasing need to prioritise mental well-being in the workplace. 

The impact of flexible work on mental health

Flexible work arrangements have a huge impact on mental health from happiness levels, to work-life balance, to overall satisfaction. 

Here's how flexible work can boost the mental well-being of your employees:

Reduced stress and burnout

When we have flexibility in our work schedules, we can manage our workload better and adapt it to our personal responsibilities. Having the choice to decide when and where we work (within guidelines and policies, of course) creates a more balanced and less stressful environment. It’s not about doing less work, or about working through burnout, it’s about having the power to make work fit into our lives. 

Increased psychological well-being and satisfaction

Flexibility gives us a sense of control and freedom in our work, which leads to greater job satisfaction and fulfilment. We get to align our work with how we work best which helps us achieve that all-important work-life balance. 

Mitigation of anxiety and depressive symptoms

Traditional work setups often take a toll on our mental health, leading to anxiety and depression as a result of rigid schedules, long commutes, and a lack of personal time. With flexible work, we can say goodbye to these pressures! 

With flexible working in place individuals have the power to craft a work routine that caters to their own mental health needs. This translates to reduced anxiety and depression, and more opportunities for self-care and engaging in activities that bring us joy. 

It's important to note that while flexible work offers huge benefits, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. Some individuals may not prefer solely remote work due to feelings of isolation and a desire for socialisation - and equally some companies may not be set up for that style of working. That's why various flexible working arrangements exist, to accommodate different preferences and needs.

Live the dream of work-life integration

Flexible work lets us seamlessly blend our work and personal lives. Whether it's taking care of family responsibilities, pursuing our passions, or simply making time for self-care, flexible work is the glue that brings everything together. We're able to reduce conflicts between work and family, resulting in better mental well-being and stronger personal relationships.

Overcoming challenges and finding balance

Finding the right balance and overcoming challenges is important when it comes to implementing flexible work arrangements. While there are potential downsides, such as feelings of isolation and blurred boundaries between work and personal life, here are some effective strategies to navigate these obstacles:

Maintain work-life separation

Having clear boundaries between work and personal life is essential to maintaining a healthy balance. At Flexa, we prioritise communication of boundaries among team members through the use of a tool called ‘Manual of Me’. This allows each team member to clearly express their preferred work schedule and communicate their preferences. As well as this, companies should implement policies that make sure employees' personal time is respected. 

However, remember that flexibility goes both ways, and a flexible culture is best built upon a output based system where employees’ performance is judged by the work they produce, not by the number of hours they worked

Support social connections to overcome isolation

One common challenge of flexible work is the potential for social isolation. 

At Flexa, we have monthly in-person meet-ups and a weekly "slacking off" call, which provides opportunities for the team to take some time out and connect beyond work-related tasks. 

We also make use of communication and collaboration tools like Slack and have channels for work related subjects as well as a place where we can share random stories, thoughts, or share what our day is looking like. 

Other initiatives, such as virtual coffee breaks or virtual games, can also be effective in promoting team connections. 

Encourage self-care and stress management

Promote a culture of well-being and work-life balance by encouraging your team members to prioritise regular breaks throughout the day. Stress the importance of unplugging from work during non-working hours and advocate for scheduling annual leave to recharge and rejuvenate. A stay at Unplugged can do wonders for this. 

You could also consider implementing mental well-being initiatives. Oliva, is a platform that provides 100% confidential and personalised support for employees. Best of all, they offer a holistic approach that targets the root causes—not just symptoms.

Gather feedback

Make sure to regularly check in with your employees and gather their feedback to see what's working, what's not, and where improvements can be made - use our free employee satisfaction tracker to support the collection of data. 

Your employees' insights play a significant part in shaping a positive and productive work environment.

As we navigate the future of work, it is essential for employers to prioritise mental health, embrace flexibility, and create a supportive work environment. So that collectively we build workplace cultures that value the well-being of individuals and pave the way for increased work satisfaction, and improved mental health. 

When your employees are happier and healthier, it leads to better engagement, attraction, retention, and ROI - the true recipe for success.