Hybrid Living leaves Brits in Pursuit of Happiness
• Study of over 14,000 European workers by Samsung shows nearly 1 in 4 (23%) Brits feels negatively about the so-called “new normal”
• Although 56% say they have become more productive as a result of hybrid living, one in five (20%) struggles to switch-off from work and almost a quarter (23%) either feels like they work all hours or work late into the night
• But technology is helping nearly half (45%) of UK workers set new boundaries between their personal and professional lives, and reduced the need for presenteeism
London, UK – 9th December 2021 – Samsung Electronics UK Ltd – One of the most comprehensive studies into pan European post-pandemic working trends shows that, compared to our continental neighbours, Brits are struggling to adapt to hybrid living. Whilst many are enjoying the bonus of more flexibility, Britons tend to be more negative about the experience than their European counterparts with nearly a quarter saying they’re not feeling the benefit of hybrid living and 40% in that group citing the always-on culture as particularly problematic.
This could be because Britain is lagging behind when it comes to the adoption of hybrid living, with just 55% of people saying they have adopted a hybrid lifestyle, compared to 72% in Italy and 64% in Sweden. In spite of these draw backs, conventional work-life patterns are a thing of the past as workers say there’s no going back to the ‘9-to-5’, with just 13% of people hankering for pre-pandemic work patterns, prioritising productivity over presenteeism.
Samsung’s Hybrid Living Futures report – which looks at how Europeans have adapted to the rise of hybrid living; working and connecting with others both virtually and in real life – shows that UK employers could be doing more to help staff adapt to the current work/life set-up, with 88% of people stating that their employer could be better supporting this new way of working. The same number have been offered no new tech solutions from their employer to facilitate hybrid living.
In spite of that, Brits want to hold on to hybrid with 56% saying they enjoy exercising during what would have been their commute, and 59% savouring the extra time they now have to spend with their family.
Benjamin Braun, VP for Samsung Europe, comments:
“This is a critical point for businesses to get things right on hybrid living. What this report shows is that workers now feel empowered to put their own needs first and, as the ‘new normal’ just becomes the ‘normal’, businesses need to step up to the challenge or lose out. The pandemic has increased our reliance on technology to undertake tasks which were analogue before and with presenteeism now an outdated concept, employers need to think carefully about how they meet the demands of modern hybrid living.”
To cope with the pressures of this “always on” culture, almost half (46%) of UK workers are still actively seeking ways to create a boundary between their personal and professional lives. Smart tech is playing a key role in helping Brits adapt to their new routines with nearly two thirds (63%) saying that tech helps them set boundaries and claim back control over their lives.
Dr Gail Kinman CPsychol FBPsS FAcSS FHEA, Professor of Occupational Health Psychology and Director of the Council for Work and Health, has been working to create guidance for people looking to find the ideal hybrid living balance.
She comments: “Hybrid living can offer the best of both worlds, where the independence and flexibility of homeworking is balanced with the structure and sociability of on-site working. But we need to recognise there are real challenges as well as benefits to hybrid living, with people finding it difficult to set boundaries between work and personal life, feeling socially isolated and under pressure to be ‘always on’. Only by acknowledging the limitations can organisations and individuals properly manage these risks and create the conditions that optimise work-life balance, wellbeing, and productivity.”
For workers looking to create stronger boundaries between their work and home lives and better manage hybrid living, Dr. Kinman shares her top tips:
- Communicate expectations. Mutually agreed ground rules are particularly important if you are sharing a work/living space with somebody else – even someone very close. Make sure that everyone you share your home with is aware of what you need to make hybrid living work for you, and that they respect your space.
- Stay socially connected. Hybrid living can boost productivity as there are fewer distractions but a lack of personal contact can cause feelings of social isolation and loneliness. Scheduling regular social conversations and group activities is crucial to gain social support and maintain a sense of belonging. Fika (sharing coffee and a sweet treat with co-workers either face-to-face or online) is an everyday activity in Sweden that encourages mutual support and boosts wellbeing.
- Establish an unwinding ritual. For the last 30 minutes of your working day only start jobs that you can complete easily, or spend the time on digital housekeeping. Writing an ‘I did’ list (where you record your achievements for that day) and an exit list (by jotting down what you need to do the following day) will help clear your mind and provide a sense of control, achievement and resolution.
- Establish a virtual commute. Surveys have found that many hybrid workers miss their daily commute – not the traffic jams or crowded public transport, but the opportunity it gives to decompress. When hybrid living, consider how you can transition between work and home physically and mentally: change your clothes, have a shower, cook a meal, or go for a walk. Whatever you do, do it mindfully. Mindful walking can be a good way to switch off. It helps you become more aware of your bodily sensations and encourages you to tune into your environment as you walk. It is particularly replenishing to use a totally different skillset during leisure time than we do at work. So, for example, take up writing poetry, record a podcast, crochet or knit, play an instrument.
The report also reveals the important role our homes play in helping us adapt to hybrid living and enforce boundaries, with a great shift in play as 34% of Brits having already moved, or planning to very soon, to accommodate this new lifestyle. A further 54% have made – or are about to start – home improvements to make hybrid living easier.
 Hybrid Living Futures report developed in partnership with The Future Laboratory. Opinium Research interviewed a total sample of 14,000 workers aged 18+ in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Greece, Poland, and Germany. The survey was conducted in 9 countries using an online Opinium methodology. Fieldwork was conducted between 8th and 19th October 2021, depending on the country.