How to make a hybrid schedule work for you
“We’re paying for a building no one’s using!”
“Our managers don’t trust us to work at home!”
We can argue forever about why it’s happening, but the fact is, a number of companies are moving from a remote work model to a hybrid model. If you’ve been told the switch to hybrid is coming, don’t panic; there are ways to make the transition work for you.
Tips for keeping your balance
Hybrid schedules do have their advantages—according to Gallup, six out of 10 employees with remote capability in their jobs actually prefer a hybrid work option. That’s not surprising with hybrid’s “best of both worlds” benefits, such as:
Enjoying the productivity and flexibility of remote days, giving you more time for your personal life.
Collaborating and connecting in person with coworkers and managers, plus having access to technology or facilities it’s not possible to have offsite.
Allowing newer employees to work on their skills remotely as well as benefit from the networking and mentorship available in the office.
However, from commuting to childcare to a work wardrobe, a hybrid schedule does require some lifestyle adjustments—especially if you’ve been working fully remote. Here are a few tips to help make a hybrid schedule more manageable:
Plan ahead to maximize your time. Consider creating a checklist, so you have everything you need to take with you to the office or back home again. Give yourself enough time to pack your tech, prepare lunch and make your commute. Is there an errand you can run at lunch that could free you up after work? During a break, could you make a couple of non-work-related calls?
Coordinate your schedule and projects. Sync up your in-office days with the schedules of team members with whom you collaborate, brainstorm and work directly. Then, work on independent tasks that require concentration or more privacy (e.g., drafting letters, phone meetings with clients) on your remote days.
Make the office a more comfortable place. Think about what makes your remote workspace comfortable and talk to your employer about duplicating your home setup at the office, so you don’t have to haul equipment back and forth. If possible, set up your desk similarly (drawers on the same side, monitors in the same configuration, comparable lighting) so you don’t lose your focus.
Temper your expectations. On office days, expect more time to be spent in face-to-face meetings and conversations, coffee breaks or lunches, or random trips to other parts of the building. Remember to account for those experiences as you plan your in-office days.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Take advantage of shared office tools—messaging apps, project management software, calendars—to be sure all the information everyone needs is available when you’re not. Keep in touch with your manager to establish and maintain realistic goals for your projects.
Minimize distractions. When you’re remote, set a status on your messaging app to let your coworkers know whether you’re busy or free, and use the “Do not disturb” option when you have to be heads-down. At the office, if you can’t work someplace other than your desk when you need to concentrate, headphones can signal that you’re involved in a project and prefer not to be disturbed.
Get involved. Company culture is one of the most important factors in employee job satisfaction, and your days in the office are your opportunity to be involved. Lunches with your coworkers and participation in company activities are easy ways to connect and build strong relationships.
Reinforce your work and home boundaries. Include time in your week for personal activities. One idea: When you create your schedule each week, include the time you spend commuting back and forth to the office on your calendar even on remote days. Don’t use that extra time to shovel in more work—use it without guilt for workouts, time with your kids or anything else that’s just for you.
Be patient. Everyone else is trying to figure out how to make this work, too. No one will get it right on the first try, so there will be some experimentation as you and your colleagues try new things to see what sticks. Be patient, with yourself and others, and remain open to change.
There’s no doubt that you’ll need to work a little harder—especially at first—on the balancing act required with a hybrid schedule. But for a lot of employees, the ability to enjoy the best of both worlds has turned out to be worth the effort, and we hope you’ll feel the same.