I love my job. I also love working from home.
You may feel the same, especially after over a year of fewer commutes and the ability to get serious tasks done in your own environment.
As the world returns to normal and people head back into the office, it’s clear that for most organizations, the days of being in the office Monday to Friday, nine to five, are gone. After more than a year of remote work, the world has woken up to the many benefits of remote work, and most companies are looking to move forward using a mix of remote and in-office work – AKA hybrid work.
The hybrid model is billed as “the future of work” – but what it actually looks like can vary greatly depending on the type of organization, the role of the employee, and the employee’s own preferences. So if you’re about to adopt a hybrid way of working, here’s what you need to know to craft your ideal schedule and ensure you’re maximizing the benefits of a remote work/in-office duality.
"Even when I worked in an office, I would often bring work home with me. When I started working remotely, it was just a recipe for disaster. Over time, I've found two things to be very important. This is a bit cliche and everybody says this but it's really true: Rest is very important. And time off is very important."
Your optimal balance between remote and in-office work will be very specific to you and your situation. For one, different companies are likely to have very different standards and requirements for their hybrid workforce and these standards may change over time.
So there are a number of things to consider when planning your ideal hybrid work schedule. The coronavirus pandemic still looms large over the concept of hybrid work, but this blueprint will remain useful whether you’re planning your first hybrid work schedule after lockdown, revisiting your schedule a few months in to make sure it’s still working for you, or starting an entirely new hybrid position.
Finding the right balance
Few things are as frustrating as going into the office and realizing that it was unnecessary, and you could have carried out the work as easily from home. As you return to the office, track your time for a few weeks to figure out which tasks rely on proximity to your colleagues, and are best performed in the office, compared to those that require focus. When thinking about the office, consider the place, time and task-based aspects of your work.
What Schedule Will Help Your Productivity the Most?
You’ll be in a better position to benefit from a hybrid work setup if you’re maximizing your productivity. Basically it boils down to this question you should ask yourself: “In what environments or conditions do I do my best work?” But for most people, work isn’t just a single task. Using your remote time and your in-office time efficiently requires you to figure out not just when and where you work best, but which of your job duties are best completed in the office vs. at home.
It takes planning to make hybrid work, work
Schedules and boundaries need to be actively managed and coordinated, both at work and at home. At work, one strategy is to coordinate and align office days with key team members to maximize the use of spaces and tools not available at home. This includes areas such as video conferencing spaces or huddle rooms with whiteboards.
At home, creating a schedule of family activities can help to map out where everyone needs to be and when. It is crucial to evaluate which settings are best-suited for the different kinds of work you do. The better you can identify the activities suited to office and home working, the better you can coordinate schedules and thrive in the hybrid future.
New ways of working require experimentation
Once deployed, it is important for teams to give each other ample room for trial and error in hybrid working systems. Of course, the tricky home-office balance will be easier for some than others, but clear communication and purposeful coordination can help get the best out of both spaces. Teams that make systematic efforts to maintain an empathetic mindset towards the varying responsibilities of their colleagues will be better able to strike a productive balance that allows them to get their work done, and pursue the activities that give their lives meaning.
What Schedule Will Give You Access to Professional Opportunities You Want and Need?
You’d probably like to continue to grow in your career, whether that means taking on more responsibilities, getting a raise, gaining skills and experiences to help you move to the next level in your current career or pivot to a new one, making professional connections that will help you in your next job search, or even starting your own business or side hustle. You might best accomplish your goals in the office, from home, or even during increased personal time you gain from the ideal hybrid work schedule. If you’re looking for professional opportunities within your current job, be sure you’re taking into account how decreased face time with your managers, teammates, and others at the company might affect your ability to get them, as well as how you can be sure you’re still being noticed and recognized for the work you do even if you’re physically in the office less.
Think about it: in 2020, you probably learned how to work in an entirely new way almost overnight. You may have also done this while educating your children, taking care of other people, and negotiating a terrifying global pandemic. Your loved ones might have gotten sick and you took that on too. You rock. If you can do that, you can surely figure out how to successfully manage a hybrid schedule and work in the way that suits you.