The last few years ushered in a new era of remote work that had most of us taking zoom meetings from our couch in sweats. As the world transitions back to normal, many things seem permanently altered, including how we work. This year, 74% of U.S companies are using or planning to implement a permanent hybrid work model.
For many people, this will provide the much-needed flexibility they lacked in their pre-pandemic jobs. However, with any change comes an adjustment period, and creating a hybrid work schedule for your lifestyle may require some tips. We have you covered.
What is hybrid work?
Hybrid work gives employees the flexibility to work from the office, their homes, or a remote location of their choice (hello beachfront property). Most companies have policies around how many days a week employees can work in the office and how many days a week employees can work remotely. If your company is implementing a hybrid schedule, you may need to check with your manager before booking a one-way ticket to a sandy getaway. But also, maybe just go for it. Who’s to say?
Creating your hybrid work schedule
When the world first went remote, we enjoyed working in sweats and midday naps. While that was fun for a while, the lack of rhythm is not great for your health, work performance, or body odor. Flexible working environments have their perks, but you need to find a routine optimized for you.
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Plan your week around team meetings and projects
We’ve all experienced losing connection during a video call. It’s frustrating, and you often spend too much time asking, “Can you hear me now?”. It makes work meetings feel awkward and clunky. Additionally, there are some huge benefits to in-person collaboration. Research shows that face-to-face requests are 34 times more effective than requests made over email. Even something like a physical handshake promotes cooperation.
So, when trying to determine what days you’ll be in-office and what days you’ll work from home, chat with your team first. Discuss when weekly meetings should take place and what times should be set aside for team collaboration. Once those items are established, you’ll know which days you should plan on working in-office—and which days to avoid.
Manage your time wisely
One of the largest benefits of hybrid work is that you’re in control of your work-life balance. It’s easier to take breaks when your brain is overwhelmed. You can even keep your apartment clean. On the downside, a simple YouTube search can quickly turn into a full-blown binge. To stay on task while enjoying the flexibility of remote work, time blocking is going to be your best friend.
Time blocking is a time management tool that breaks your day into blocks. Each block is designated a specific task. This helps you focus on one thing at a time and can help prevent endless Instagram scrolling.
To make the most out of time blocking, write a list of work tasks you need to complete each day. This could include work meetings, client follow-ups, and spreadsheet updates. Next, create a list of personal tasks you need to complete each day. This may include workouts, appointments, and errands. Once both lists are complete, begin blocking chunks of time out in your calendar dedicated to each task. By scheduling your day in advance, you’ll be more productive in your work and personal life.
Picture this, it’s 8 pm on a Tuesday, and you're rewatching the first season of True Detective…again.… Just when you’re getting ready to start the next episode, you get a Slack notification from your boss. They’re wondering if you logged all your billable hours last week. When you’re working from home, the lines between work life and personal life can start to blur. This creates a strain on your mental health and eventually leads to burnout. In 2020, more than two-thirds of remote workers experienced a lack of motivation and struggled with work-life balance. To help combat this, create boundaries.
When setting work boundaries, start by having a conversation with your manager. Discuss your comfort level working evenings, weekends, and holidays and what a healthy work-life balance looks like for you. Once you establish boundaries, stick to them. If you tell people you don’t work weekends but are replying to emails on a Saturday, you're giving your coworkers the thumbs up to push your boundaries.
When you were a kid, school made it easy to make friends. Work is the same way. So, when you no longer have water cooler conversations about how awful the last season of Game of Thrones was, you can start to feel as isolated as the showrunners after fan reaction (we don’t want to talk about it). That’s why it’s important to schedule a time to hang out with your work friends outside of the office. When’s the next happy hour? Step up and be the one to make it happen if out-of-office hangouts aren’t already on the calendar.
It looks like hybrid work is here to stay. So, when you’re planning your working schedule, keep these tips in mind to help you become your most productive self.