Benefits of a Hybrid Work Schedule

Work environments have changed drastically over the past couple of years. The ideal has quickly changed from free beer and nap pods to your kitchen table and taking the dog out to “go potty.” While there are major benefits to working from home, you may miss the in-person interaction between coworkers. We have adjusted ourselves to be “ok” with little to no human interaction through quarantine, but is this the best way to work? Hybrid may be the answer. 

Preparedness for Anything

A hybrid location work schedule allows for flexibility like none other. Employees have adjusted to working at home but are still accustomed to coming into the office. This allows for the flexibility for employees to continue to work without having to disrupt projects, use their PTO, etc. when plans change suddenly. When kids get sick, pet care falls through, or inclement weather would typically prevent them from coming into the office, they can choose to work from home if necessary. Likewise, if a project or meeting requires more in-office collaboration than usual, employees can come into work together in person as a team.

Mental/Physical Health

The flexibility of hybrid work also allows employees to better care for themselves mentally and physically. If any employee feels mentally or physically unwell but still wants to work or not use their sick days, they can request to be remote and work from the comfort of their home to recuperate. In addition to this, employees have more flexibility to use their lunch breaks or the time they would normally use commuting to get outside, get exercise, or just get some sunlight. Because of the mix between office and home time, employees can be filled by the comforts and benefits of home without feeling isolated from their coworkers.

The hybrid schedule is something that many companies are making permanent. They have seen the benefits of giving their employees this flexibility.

How To Create The Best Hybrid Work Schedule

With the recent announcement from Amazon that they will be letting individual teams decide their work environments and schedules, many are left wondering how to create the best hybrid work schedule. When the decision is left up to the employee, how do you decide? To determine which days to work from home, ask yourself these three questions.

Which days and in which environments are you most productive?

Most of us have days of the week on which we are most productive. Oftentimes, Mondays are spent catching up after the weekend that passed, and Fridays are spent dreaming of the weekend to come. This is why Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, are often the sweet spots for productivity. However, it varies from person to person! Once you’ve determined the days on which you are most productive, consider the environment that best lends itself to accomplishing tasks. For some, this may be the office where you are free from the distractions of home. For others, it may be at home if you work in a loud or busy office with a lot going on. To create your best hybrid work schedule, discover your productivity sweet spots.

Which days do you have the most meetings?

Meetings can be a productivity killer. And in modern days, when many meetings are held virtually, they can truly dictate your entire day! If all of your meetings are virtual, it can be challenging to participate in the office with lots of noise and distractions. However, if your team is meeting in person, you’re going to want to be in-office for those, naturally. So, consider your team’s working and meeting style to create your best hybrid word schedule. And once you’ve decided, let your team know which days you prefer to have meetings so you can meet effectively moving forward.

Is your company open to “work from anywhere”?

If your company is comfortable with you working from anywhere, it can be beneficial to WFH on Mondays and/or Fridays. This enables you to work from the lake cabin or start work a little earlier and kick off your weekend early on Friday. What’s most important in this scenario is that you respect the policy. Working remotely on Fridays or Mondays doesn’t just give you a “3 day weekend.” You must treat it as a typical workday, with added flexibility. And as always, be sure to discuss expectations with your manager!

Everyone’s situation is unique, and what works best for one person might not work best for someone else. When crafting your best hybrid work schedule, have open conversations with management about what will be most effective for you. And most importantly? Be flexible! The most significant benefit of hybrid work is that it allows for adaptability, so you must be adaptable along with it for best results.

How To Create A Successful Hybrid Work Environment

As companies scramble to establish a “new normal” after being thrust into remote work during 2020, many are establishing hybrid work environments. But what exactly are they, and how can you make one work for your team? We’re breaking it all down so you, too, can create a successful hybrid work environment for management and employees alike.

What is a Hybrid Work Environment?

According to a recent survey from Glassdoor, nearly 9 out of 10 employees say that they prefer to continue working from home at least part-time after their offices have reopened. However, the pandemic uncovered challenges with fully remote teams such as disjointed teams, decreased creativity, and lower morale. Thus, the hybrid work environment was born. It is a fluid system that provides a happy medium between in-office stability and WFH freedom.

How Can We Make A Hybrid Work Environment Successful?

Empower Employees To Choose

One of the most beneficial aspects of a hybrid work environment is that employees can choose what works best for them. Provide structure if necessary (everyone must be in the office on Mondays for an all-hands meeting), but leave flexibility. This will allow your employees to set themselves up for success and give them a sense of autonomy over their careers. You will be amazed at the shift in attitude and productivity.

Provide Tools

As acknowledged previously, remote work comes with challenges. To combat this, provide your employees with the right arsenal of tools. Investing in messaging software such as Microsoft Teams or Slack will allow your team to stay connected, whether in the same building or not. Encourage video calls over phone calls so people can still get some “face-to-face” time. When encouraging a hybrid work environment, help your employees create a productive work-from-home space. Provide an additional monitor, phone, keyboard, and mouse to keep them from having to lug materials back and forth.

Check-In Regularly

Hybrid work environments aren’t just “set it and forget it.” You need to check in with employees regularly to ensure their success and the overall success of your team. Are they staying on track and achieving regular milestones? Do they require additional support? Is the hybrid model working for them?

One of the best things about a hybrid work environment is that it is an adaptive working model. You can (and should) make adjustments as time goes on. Be sure to establish success metrics and implement regular assessments. In the end, your goal is to foster a flexible environment that promotes creativity and productivity.

How To Thrive In A Hybrid Work Environment

When the working world was turned upside down by COVID-19, many companies moved to a remote work environment. And to everyone’s surprise, it actually went great! In fact, a recent survey revealed that nearly 9 in 10 employees prefer to continue working from home at least part-time. As states and countries continue to open up, leaders are faced with a decision: have people come back to the office or continue working from home. Thus, the hybrid work environment was born, empowering employees to choose where they work best. While a hybrid work setup comes with many benefits, it also presents unique challenges. So, in order to thrive in a hybrid work environment, stick to these three guidelines.

Stick to Routine

When your work environment changes throughout the week, it can feel chaotic and untethered at times. By sticking to the same routine, whether in the office or at home, you provide a steadying anchor for yourself. Wake up at the same, maintain your morning rituals, and log in at the same time when you work at home. Then, over the course of your day, take regular breaks, including a lunch break. And perhaps most importantly, log off at the same time you would if you were in office. This will help draw boundaries between your work and personal life, even if the environment is the same.

Plan Ahead

Do you create a plan for each working day? If not, now is a great time to start! Planning ahead will help you avoid the awkward “where was I?” every time you start work. Whether you create a detailed hour-by-hour plan, a more general daily outline, or even a goal list for the week, a plan will give you structure. Setting up calls or Zoom meetings is also easier when you know your schedule for the week, and you can plan around possible distractions or excess noise.

Communicate Often

When you work in a hybrid environment, it’s up to you to maintain excellent communication. Even in-office meetings and collaboration may look different these days, so it’s important to keep up your professional relationships. Set up regular coffee chats, utilize your company messaging tools, and call to check in on your coworkers. A little investment goes a long way when it comes to communication!

In conclusion, a hybrid work environment can be great for both managers and employees. Set yourself up for success from the start through consistent routines, planning, and effective communication.

The One Big Problem with Hybrid Work

If the pandemic has taught us anything over the last 18+ months is that remote work is here to stay. Even the companies long opposed to working from home opportunities have found value in supporting a remote workforce. According to data from LinkedIn, 87% of employees want to remain remote most of the time. With only 13% of employees desiring to be in the office the majority of the time, employers must offer hybrid working models to attract new employees. However, there is one big problem with hybrid work that has been prevalent (and surprising to many): working from home is damaging many people’s work-life balance.

Remote work job openings are increasing

Like many others, you probably expected remote work to plateau as COVID-19 restrictions lifted and our lives slowly returned to normal. Surprisingly, the opposite is occurring. Over the last 12 months (from May 2021 to 2020), remote job openings grew by 240% globally. As a result, total job posts with words like “remote” or “work from home” now account for almost 14% of total job openings. This is a massive jump and is changing the future of recruiting strategies for most employers.

Work-life balance continues to be an issue

In the early days of the pandemic, many workers struggled with maintaining a healthy work-life balance. After working from home for nearly a year and a half, it can be more challenging to separate your work life from your home life. If you are one of these people, you are not alone. 32% of remote employees are more likely to struggle with work-life balance. That may surprise many employers as remote work eliminates many of the stresses that in-person working generates, such as traffic, long commutes, endless meetings, and many other things. However, burnout is on the rise, and with the quit rate at an all-time high, employers must be creative to improve their staff’s work-life balance.

Maintaining a hybrid workforce with a healthy work-life balance

If you are looking to attract (and retain) your remote workforce this summer, you are going to have to do your part to offer a healthy work-life balance.

Support their need to take time off

First of all, support your staff members and their need for time off. Many workers put off taking some much-needed R&R during the pandemic. As things continue to open up with restrictions lifting, your staff will be more likely to request some time off. Instead of making your workers feel bad about taking time off that they earned, support their need to step away from work for a few days or a long weekend. Some employers, like Bumble and LinkedIn, are even closing their doors for a week and giving all of their employees a paid week off. Whatever your PTO policy is, encourage your employees to use the time to relax and take a step away from work.

Regularly check in with your staff

Communication is essential when managing a hybrid workforce. Schedule one-on-one check-ins to see how they are handling their workload and watch for signs of burnout. If you don’t encourage open communication with your staff, it can be hard to pick up on cues of a poor work-life balance.

Optimize your hybrid work schedule

If you really want to support your staff in this new hybrid schedule, you can be more selective with the days they work from home and the days they work from the office. Depending on your industry and the role, some days may be more beneficial to work from home than others. Here are the best days to work from home for most employees to boost your work-life balance.