Ina Opperman

By Ina Opperman

Business Journalist

How coaching can help in a hybrid, virtual world of work

The world of work has changed and calls for different ways of doing things and making life easier for employees during the change.

Coaching can help in a hybrid, virtual world of work with workplace performance, the health and wellbeing of employees and even lifestyle choices and relationships.

The world of work has undergone massive changes in recent years, driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, the rise of hybrid working conditions and the rapid adoption of technology.

These changes created new challenges for businesses as well as employees and as the metaverse expands, the virtual world is set to play an even greater role in our lives. One way to navigate this evolving landscape is through coaching.

Workplace performance

Coaching can significantly improve workplace performance, especially in hybrid and remote environments. According to a study by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), 86% of companies that used professional coaching reported a positive return on investment, with 70% recouping their investment several times over.

Coaching can help employees to develop essential skills such as time management, goal setting, communication and problem solving, which are crucial for success in a virtual or hybrid workplace, says Chris Blair, CEO of 21st Century.

ALSO READ: How diversity and inclusion in the workplace can benefit a business

Employee health and wellbeing

Employee wellbeing is a critical concern, especially since the onset of the pandemic. A survey by the American Psychological Association found that 69% of employees experienced work-related stress during the pandemic.

Linda Remke, master and supervisor coach and founder of HelloCoach, says coaching can help to handle this issue by providing employees with tools and techniques to manage stress, achieve work-life balance and prioritize self-care.

“The importance of mental health in the workplace cannot be overstated, as it significantly affects productivity, engagement and employee satisfaction. Since the pandemic, mental health issues have been on the rise, with a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealing that 41% of adults reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression.”

She says coaching can play a vital role in handling mental health concerns by offering personalised support, guidance and coping strategies.

“By providing employees with a safe and confidential space to discuss their mental health, coaching can help identify stressors, establish healthy boundaries and develop resilience.”

Coaching can also empower employees to seek professional help when needed, creating a more supportive and mentally healthy work environment.

ALSO READ: Is hybrid working actually working?

Healthy lifestyle choices

As work and life continue to blend in the virtual world, coaching can support employees in making healthy lifestyle choices.

Research by the ICF found that individuals who received coaching experienced increased life satisfaction and improved work-life balance.

By providing guidance on setting and achieving personal boundaries and goals, coaching empowers employees to create a more fulfilling and balanced life, says Otto Remke, CEO of HelloCoach.

“Each generation in the workforce brings its unique set of values, aspirations and lifestyle preferences and coaching can be instrumental in tackling these differences.”

Baby Boomers, for example, may prioritise stability and financial security, while Millennials and Gen Z seek purpose and work-life balance. Remke says understanding these generational differences is crucial for businesses aiming to attract, engage and retain talent.

“Coaching can help employees from different generations to navigate their unique lifestyle challenges while fostering a sense of understanding and collaboration among colleagues. By addressing the specific needs and desires of each generation, coaching can enhance employee satisfaction, motivation, integration and overall wellbeing.”

ALSO READ: Leaders with empathy better for the workplace than big-brained tyrants

Interpersonal relationships at work

Working remotely can create feelings of isolation and affect interpersonal relationships at work. According to a study by Buffer, 20% of remote workers reported feeling lonely as their biggest struggle.

“Coaching can help employees to develop stronger communication and relationship-building skills, fostering a more connected and supportive work environment. In a hybrid or remote work environment, nurturing relationships both at work and home becomes even more important,” Blair says.

Strong workplace relationships can promote teamwork, collaboration and a positive company culture. Coaching can assist employees in developing effective communication, empathy and conflict resolution skills, contributing to a more connected and supportive work environment.

“Additionally, coaching can help employees strike the right balance between their professional and personal lives, ensuring that relationships at home remain healthy and strong. By offering guidance on time management, setting boundaries and communication, coaching can help employees maintain fulfilling relationships with their partners, children and friends, ultimately contributing to overall well-being and happiness,” Remke says.

“In the increasingly virtual world, generational differences in the workforce are more apparent than ever. With Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z all working together, businesses must adapt to the unique needs and expectations of each generation. Coaching can help bridge these gaps by creating a more inclusive, empathetic and agile workplace culture.”

ALSO READ: Why talent matters more than ever in the digital age

How to get employee buy-in

“Employee value propositions are also evolving, with more emphasis placed on flexibility, well-being, and professional growth. By offering coaching services, companies can demonstrate their commitment to employee development and well-being, making them more attractive to top talent,” Blair says.

To ensure that employees remain productive, happy, and emotionally agile, businesses should consider implementing these coaching strategies:

  • Offer coaching services to all employees, regardless of their role or seniority.
  • Ensure that coaching is conveyed to staff as a reward from their company, as their personal development is important to their employers.
  • Develop in-house coaching programmes or partner with external coaching providers.
  • Provide regular training to managers and leaders on coaching techniques and best practices.
  • Foster a coaching culture that encourages open communication, feedback and continuous learning.
  • Use digital tools and platforms to facilitate coaching sessions and track progress.

Blair says investing in coaching not only benefits individual employees but also provides companies with a significant competitive advantage. A healthy, balanced, and satisfied workforce can lead to improved talent retention, enhanced productivity and attracting superior talent.

For more news your way

Download our app and read this and other great stories on the move. Available for Android and iOS.

For more news your way

Download our app and read this and other great stories on the move. Available for Android and iOS.