By Brittany Lieu, Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing

Love working from home or dying to return to the office? Maybe it’s both?

After over a year of work-from-home, some of us may have fallen in love with the flexibility and work life balance that comes with remote work. Others may be elated at the thought of retreating to a real office space away from their hectic home life. As the possibility of on-site work becomes more of a reality post-pandemic, you may be finding yourself in the position to answer this question – “what does your ideal work situation look like?”

As companies begin to experiment with a new alternative work model, hybrid work, you have the opportunity to answer the real question – “where and how am I most productive?” Let’s discuss what hybrid work really means and how you can prepare to be most productive with this transition. 

But first, what exactly is “hybrid work”? Hybrid work is a blend of being co-located and fully distributed. In other words, for most companies, it will mean your work time will be split between an office space and your home. According to Alexia Cambon, director of research in Gartner’s HR practice, “Leading organizations are recognizing the importance of still maintaining some form of in-person interaction, without the need to mandate a full return onsite.” For many, this may be great news but hybrid work can be more complex than it seems. Here are three ways to set you and your team up for success in the coming months:

1. Thursday’s the New Monday

Although a hybrid work model is generally defined as a combination of working in and out of the office, there is no universal golden ratio of days spent at the office and at home. To find your sweet spot or to optimize your own productivity, you should ask yourself when and where are you most productive Monday through Friday? What time of day do you find yourself most focused on getting work done and what days are your busiest? For example, maybe Thursdays are your meeting-heavy days and therefore a good day to spend in the office. Evaluate times and days in your schedule that would be easier accomplished in office or easier spent at home.

Some other questions to consider as you build a personalized schedule:

  • When are others at home?
  • When are your colleagues in the office?
  • What about other life commitments?

In Raula Rizzo’s LinkedIn Learning course Enhance Productivity in a Hybrid Work Environment, she discusses updating your productivity style and setting the right intentions when preparing your ideal work environment. It all boils down to how you want to feel at the end of the day and that should be key motivation in creating your hybrid work schedule.

2. Mirrored Workspaces

With a hybrid work schedule, you will be flip-flopping between two different workspaces throughout the week. Enhance your productivity with mirrored workspaces. Do what you can to create two similar physical working spaces to reduce the time you would have to spend adjusting your monitors, cables and other equipment every time. What’s the best way to do this? Create a list of all the things you need in your home office whether that be your dual monitors, noise cancelling headphones or even your favorite candle. With a defined list, you can recreate an identical space in the office. For those of us who may not have the luxury of duplicating everything on our home office desks, there is an alternative. 

Pack up all your work essentials in a “go bag.” Odds are your mornings before commuting back into the office will be hectic. Reduce stress and set yourself up for success with a kit of all the items you’ll need as you travel between office spaces. With a predetermined transport method, you’ll never have to worry about missing that one cable or file folder once you get into the rhythm of hybrid work. 

3. Stay Connected in a Hybrid Setting 

Once you’ve considered all the moving parts, developing your ideal hybrid work schedule can be simple. It’s how you operate as a hybrid working team that may be more tricky. Based on their own productivity styles, your coworkers and leads may opt to come in on days you may not. This can make it hard to stay connected and maintain a sense of community if you are seeing some people more than others as your personal hybrid schedules intersect. 

“Proximity bias” is the false assumption that employees working in the immediate vicinity (on-site) are more productive and therefore more present in the minds of managers. Avoid falling into this unfair bias on your days away from the office by making yourself seen by both management and your peers. 

Be intentional about carving out time to connect with your team members whether that be through scheduling recurring 1:1 calls or simply by building in some pre- and post- meeting socializing everyday. If your office hasn’t already established team bonding activities, take initiative and suggest fun ways to build rapport with the people you work with. This can be in the form of a “brown bag” lunch meeting or special birthday celebrations when you’re in office. 

 

Mastering the art of hybrid work will take some time, but these are a few tips you save in your back pocket as some employers lean towards a transition. In prioritizing what makes you most productive, being intentional about how you want to make this next shift will be crucial to both you and your team’s long-term success. 

Interested in more? Check out the related articles below for valuable tips and tricks as you navigate this new era of work.