Where does hybrid work cause the most (and least) stress?

Hybrid working might not be the new normal, but it's certainly a big part of it. Two years after the Covid-19 lockdowns, around 24% of UK employees are still working from home for at least one day a week.

That figure is even larger across the pond. Nearly six out of 10 (58%) of 'white-collar' workers in the US operate on a hybrid working model, with the average worker spending three to four days in the office.

And hybrid working isn't a passing fad. 78% of US firms have (or are planning to adopt) a hybrid working model, and the number of people working from home in the UK has continued to rise through 2022.

And hybrid working is working out pretty well for businesses. A survey by banking giant HSBC found that 77% of companies reported higher productivity levels after switching to a hybrid model. And a similar proportion (66%) believe it helps attract more talent and expand into new markets.

But what do the people doing hybrid work think about hybrid work?

Infographic: Where hybrid work causes the most stress (and how to manage it)

Business solutions provider Brother.co.uk used Twitter to find out. Its researchers ran thousands of geotagged tweets through an AI-powered sentiment tracking software to pinpoint the locations where people love hybrid working - and where they absolutely hate it.

Find out where they are in the maps below.

But first, let's look at what the switch to hybrid working means for businesses and workers.

What do workers think of hybrid working?

Generally speaking, people have embraced the opportunity to work from home for a few days per week. In fact, many shudder at the thought of returning to the 5-day week, 9 to 5, office life.

Overall, people feel better when they have more control over their day. Numerous studies have shown that working hybrid improves work/life balance, reduces the risk of professional burnout, and cuts work-related stress by up to 50%.

According to research by Gallup, over half (53%) of employees now expect hybrid working options, while 24% expect a chance to work from home exclusively.

The downsides of hybrid working

But it’s not for everybody.

Working from home doesn't suit those office extroverts who thrive off other people's energy.

It can also exacerbate feelings of loneliness and anxiety for workers experiencing mental health issues.

Others simply struggle to stay motivated.

And some home workers have more practical concerns, like living in shared accommodation or a rage-inducing poor Wi-Fi connection.

Hybrid working in the UK

Infographic: Where hybrid work causes the most stress (and how to manage it)

Bolton is the UK's most anti-hybrid working city. Over one in three (35.5%) related tweets geotagged in Bolton had a stressful sentiment.

And it's probably because of the Wi-Fi.

The Northern city is notorious for its lack of 21st-century digital infrastructure. Broken connections, slow download times, and glitchy Zoom calls are a daily struggle for Bolton's remote workers.

Hybrid working in the UK's capital

In London, nearly half of hybrid workers living in the borough of Lambeth would much prefer to be in the office. More than 4 out of 10 (42.9%) of its related tweets expressed stressful sentiments; that's the highest percentage coming out of anywhere included in the entire study.

One of the world's most pro-hybrid-working locations is also in the UK's capital. It's Chelsea; only 6.9% of related tweets sent in this borough were negative. But life in Chelsea is always pretty sweet. Chelsea is the "richest" local authority area in the UK, with residents earning three times the national average. The average house price is over $2.5million.

Hybrid working in the US states

Spare a thought for all the Alaskans working from home right now. Because many of them are having (another) bad day. 31.3% of related tweets in the Last Frontier state have nothing good to say about hybrid work.

It’s a very different story in Hawaii. Most Haiwanians love remote work. Only 16.4% of their related tweets expressed stressful sentiments about the hybrid model. Then again, it's hard to stay stressed when you live in a state with over 250 days of sunshine every year.

Sitting in the back garden with a fresh coffee while 'tidying up' your emails on a Monday morning? Yes, please.

Hybrid working in US cities

Oakland is the US city with the highest proportion of stressful-sounding hybrid work tweets (31%).

Memphis comes next (30.3%), followed by Washington (27.1%), Mesa (26.9%), and Detroit (26.6%.)

The folk of El Paso, Texas, are pure chill when it comes to working from home. Only 6.7% of their tweets complain about the stresses of hybrid work.

The people of Bakersfield and Indianapolis have a similar outlook. In both cases, less than 15% of relevant tweets from these cities included anything about being annoyed, frustrated, or stressed by hybrid work.

Tips for building the perfect hybrid working model

So what can companies do to help all their employees feel more engaged when working from home?

Brother.co.uk put together 7 tips for creating a stress-free hybrid-working working model. They include:

● Encouraging workers to invest in a dedicated home-working space, including ergonomic chairs and height-adjustable desks.

● Working off digital collaboration tools like Slack or Monday

● Virtual break-out spaces where employees can connect and relax (and maybe even share a little bit of virtual office gossip.)

● Ditching KPI tracking and measuring outcomes instead ● Frequent check-in calls or messages

● Providing flexi-time options

● Drafting a company hybrid working policy that everyone can follow

The major UK and US cities where people love (and hate) hybrid working

Hybrid working is here to stay. So it's up to companies and employers to find ways of making hybrid working ‘work' for everyone.

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