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Hybrid work good for the soul

A Cisco study reveals that South Africans who participate in hybrid working have experienced better mental, physical, and financial wellbeing

South Africans who participate in hybrid working models have experienced better overall wellness in areas like mental, physical, and financial wellbeing. This is according to the Cisco Global Hybrid Work Report, a study published to provide insight into the impact of hybrid working around the world.

The report, which included a survey of 28,000 full-time employees across 27 countries, including South Africa, shows how businesses’ shift towards hybrid and remote working during the global pandemic has influenced their employees and their experiences at work and at home. 

While in the initial phase of the pandemic, many people reported fatigue and anxiety in the wake of the sudden move to remote working, the flexibility and choice it offers, combining the possibility to work from home and the office, has solidified the trend.

Overall, according to South African employees surveyed, 86% said hybrid and remote working had improved all aspects of their wellbeing, with that number above the global average of 78%. 61% reported the model had saved them at least four hours per week, while 27% said working from home had saved them eight or more hours per week.

In addition to several findings related to hybrid work’s impact on quality of work, productivity, work environment dynamics, and cybersecurity, the study shed light on the wellness of employees including their social, financial, emotional and mental, and physical wellbeing.

It is no surprise that (52%) of surveyed South Africans had reinvested extra time from hybrid working into “time with family, friends, and pets”. In addition, 87% of those surveyed said hybrid working had improved their family relationships, while 56% said it had improved their relationships with friends.

Financial Wellbeing

An often-overlooked benefit of the hybrid workplace is the amount of money that can be saved by avoiding the daily commute to and from the office, as well as money spent on small items such as meals or a cup of coffee. These can quickly add up over the course of a week. Unsurprisingly, 82% of South Africans said hybrid working had helped them save money, while 92% believed these savings could be maintained over the long term. With so many local employees experiencing the financial benefits, 72% said they would take these savings into account when considering changing jobs.

Emotional and Mental Wellbeing

Emotional health impacts many areas of our lives and can be improved as a cumulative effect that encompasses other fields such as our social wellbeing. How and where we work can heavily contribute to this.  92% of South Africans said hybrid work had made them happier, while 67% said it had helped to reduce stress levels. In addition, 34% said hybrid working was more relaxing and resulted in a less pressurised environment.

Physical Wellbeing

A sense of wellbeing also extends to an individual’s physical health, something that hybrid working offers them an opportunity to prioritise. Around 70% of surveyed South Africans said they exercise more when working remotely, 67% said their physical fitness had improved, while 60% said their eating habits had also improved.

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