Study: Hybrid remote workers enjoy greater psychological safety than on-site workers

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Diving Brief:

  • Workers may be able to add better psychological safety to the list of benefits they see from remote and hybrid working, according to survey data released Tuesday by wellness software platform meQuilibrium.
  • In a survey of some 3,900 meQuilibrium users, those who were on-site employees said they were 66% more likely than remote and hybrid employees to think they were blamed for mistakes and 56% more likely to say that their colleagues said their organizations rejected people because they were different. To a lesser extent, on-site employees were more likely to report difficulty asking teammates for help.
  • The research also found that on-site workers were less likely to say they felt comfortable discussing difficult issues and problems, that it was safe to take risks, or that members of the team valued and respected everyone’s contributions.

Overview of the dive:

Psychological safety is an emerging term in the HR lexicon. In a blog post analyzing the results of meQuilibrium’s survey, Brad Smith, the company’s Chief Scientific Officer, wrote that meQuilibrium used the definition of psychological safety proposed by Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmonson. in a 1999 article.

Edmonson defined the concept as “a belief shared by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking”, demonstrated by actions such as admitting error, asking for help or looking for comments. Such behaviors can pose a threat to members of an organization, Edmonson wrote, because they can make a person feel incompetent or fear appearing as such to others.

HR professionals are not immune to this phenomenon., a speaker at the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2022 annual conference told attendees. If members of an organization feel unable to speak their mind and question the status quo, it can create barriers to innovation and change management, Smith noted.

Most employees in the meQuilibrium survey reported a high degree of psychological safety, Smith said, but the company found that remote and hybrid employees consistently reported higher levels of safety than onsite employees. , even taking into account factors such as age, gender, race and ethnicity.

“Although there is evidence that there is a real difference between work environments, employees in remote environments may feel a higher level of psychological safety simply because they do not know what they are not. don’t know,” Smith added. . “Because of their remoteness, these employees are out of range of conversations in common areas of the office and/or less able to read facial expressions during video calls, which can lead to misperceptions of psychological safety.”

Other factors include the role of leaders in supporting employee well-being. MeQuilibrium found that remote and hybrid workers were 10% more likely to say their managers cared about their wellbeing.

Amanda J. Marsh