The future of work is changing.
The post-pandemic world is home to a new breed of workers who are no longer satisfied with the traditional 9 to 5. After two years of working from home, many have realized that we don't need to be tied to a desk in an office to be productive.
This newfound freedom has led to a demand for hybrid work schedules — a mix of working from home and in the office. Employees and companies alike are realizing that there are benefits to hybrid work schedules, such as increased productivity and improved work-life balance.
Thousands of companies have already turned to the hybrid schedule or are considering it soon. Some employees probably loved the news, while others may have hoped to return to the office full time or stay remote full time. And some may have been left wondering, "What's a hybrid schedule?"
If you'll soon be switching to a hybrid work schedule or are already on one and struggling to make it work, this guide is for you. We'll cover everything you need to know about hybrid work schedules, from how to create one that works for you to the tools you need to stay productive in any environment.
What Is a Hybrid Work Schedule?
By summer 2022, over half of the workforce is likely to be back at work, according to a CBRE survey of corporate office real estate executives. As predicted, many companies are adopting a hybrid work schedule strategy as their way forward.
The CBRE results indicate that about three-quarters of employers will adopt hybrid workplace models to offer employees greater flexibility when they return to work. Of these, more than half (61%) plan to implement what CBRE termed "guided flexibility," which gives companies control of the days employees are in the office or at home.
In a hybrid work schedule, employees work both in the office and remotely. The flexibility of this arrangement offers the advantages of both work environments — the convenience of being able to work remotely and the teamwork and collaboration benefits of in-office work.
The hybrid shift is a wise choice. According to a Zoom survey, 65% of employees who have worked from home in the last year prefer a hybrid work environment. In another study, 39% of workers said they would consider quitting their job if remote or hybrid work wasn't available.
And according to Julie Whelan, global head of occupier thought leadership at CBRE, hybrid work isn’t going away any time soon. In a podcast discussing the evolving workforce, she said, "We have surveyed, numerous times over the last two years, our client base and what the numbers have told us is that without a doubt, hybrid work is still the future of what work patterns will transform into."
She went on to say, “Trying to figure out what the future of hybrid means within this predictability desire for organizations, but autonomy desire for employees, is really the name of the game going forward.”
What Are the Benefits of a Hybrid Schedule?
Employees and employers alike benefit from hybrid work schedules. The following are just a few of the many benefits that employees receive:
- Enhanced work-life balance: Employees have more control over their time, which can lead to a better work-life balance. People with young children or family obligations will especially benefit from this.
- Greater productivity: Employees may find that they are more productive when working remotely. This is because they have more control over their environment and can eliminate distractions.
- Increased morale: Employees with hybrid schedules often report higher confidence and enthusiasm because they feel trusted by their employer and have more control over their time.
There are also a number of benefits for employers, including:
- Increased productivity: Not only is increased productivity a positive for employees, but it’s a benefit for employers too. Employee autonomy increases productivity and morale by reducing micromanagement.
- Increased retention: A flexible work environment empowers employees and encourages them to stay with the company, resulting in higher employee retention.
- More talent to choose from: Employers have a larger pool of potential employees because hybrid work schedules make accommodating employees with children or other family obligations easier.
In addition, the hybrid work model can foster a more diverse and inclusive workplace by providing a variety of work options. Those with disabilities or challenges that make traditional work arrangements difficult, as well as rural employees and parents without childcare, can benefit from the ability to create their own schedules.
What Are Hybrid Schedules Like?
Now you may be wondering what a hybrid work schedule could look like for you. There are many types of hybrid work schedules, so the hybrid workplace will look different for everyone.
Two common types of hybrid work models are cohort schedules and flexible schedules.
Among hybrid work models, cohort schedules offer the most structure. This format requires employees to follow a hybrid work policy set by the company, which dictates team work arrangements.
Some common cohort structures include:
- Staggered schedule: Employees are divided into groups, or cohorts, each of which has a different schedule. For example, one group may work in the office on Mondays and Wednesdays, while another will work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Some companies may keep these schedules set. Others may switch days periodically.
- Split shifts: Employees are again divided into groups, but each group works different hours on different days. For example, one group may work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while the other works from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on those days. The groups then switch so that everyone gets a chance to work both the early and late shifts.
- 3:2: Employees work in the office three days a week and remotely two days, with the same days off each week. For example, an employee may work in the office Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and remotely Tuesday and Thursday.
Flexible schedules allow for much more variety. These schedules usually give employees the freedom to choose their workdays, tailored to each individual's needs and preferences.
A few typical flexible schedules are:
- Flextime: Employees with flextime schedules must work specific core hours, but the rest of their hours can be planned according to their preferences. The core hours might be company-wide or set individually in collaboration with the employer.
- Custom schedules: These schedules change weekly depending on the employee's or team's need to work together onsite. Managers can set their employees' hours, or employees can set their schedules, depending on the organization.
- Fully flexible schedules: Some organizations may choose to give their employees complete flexibility. Employees have set responsibilities and tasks that they need to do but aren't required to do them at specific times or days or even to work a certain number of hours. If they can finish their work in less time than expected, the rest of their time is free.
Your hybrid work schedule will ultimately depend on what works best for you, your team, and your company. Your employer may have a set preference, but more than likely, you'll have some input on how your schedule is structured.
7 Tips to Maintain Productivity While Working a Hybrid Schedule
As the hybrid workplace becomes increasingly common, you'll likely have the opportunity to make the switch if you haven't already. If you're wondering how to create and manage a hybrid work schedule while still remaining efficient and productive, there are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success.
1. Establish a Routine
Even when you’re given the flexibility to work when and where you want, it’s still a good idea to establish a set routine. Having a set schedule helps your teammates know when they can reach you, and it also trains your brain to know when it’s time to work. This can help you to stay focused.
Depending on the freedom of your hybrid arrangement, you may find it’s best for you to have one routine for remote days and another for office days.
Of course, the unexpected can happen, whether with work or your personal life. So some days your schedule may have to change. But having a set start time and end time for most days will help you maintain balance and productivity.
2. Maintain Consistent Workspaces
When you work from two locations, it can be a challenge to make sure you have everything you need. To avoid frustration and wasted time, make sure both your office and home workspace are set up equally. This means having access to the same software and files and anything else you need to do your job effectively.
Some find it best to have a setup in both locations with all of the peripherals (printer, monitor, keyboard, etc.) and carry a laptop between workspaces. Others prefer to have two complete setups in both locations.
Either way, if possible, it's helpful to have a dedicated space in your home that you use only for work. It will help you mentally separate work from home life and make it easier to focus when it's time to be productive.
3. Invest in the Right Tools
Although working both onsite and offsite sounds ideal, the reality of switching between workspaces can lead to disorganization. That's why it's important to invest in tools that help you stay organized and on track, no matter where you're working.
While you could keep a work bag to take your planner and files back and forth between locations, it can be helpful to have cloud-based solutions that you can access from anywhere. A few options include:
- Task management/to-do list apps
- Project management software
- Cross-platform note-taking apps
- Time-tracking software, like Rize
These tools can help you keep track of deadlines, what needs to be done, and how much time you're spending on each task. Not only will this make hybrid work simpler, but it can also help you be more productive overall.
4. Set Boundaries
For a healthy work-life balance, different boundaries might need to be set for remote days and in-office days. For example, on days when you're working remotely, if you find that you're getting interrupted often, it might be helpful to set specific times when loved ones can come to you for assistance or conversation. Alternatively, on office days, you might need to set boundaries with yourself and your coworkers so you can stay on task and avoid working overtime.
5. Be Flexible
Although establishing schedules and enforcing boundaries sounds very structured, hybrid work requires flexibility. Every person's definition of flexibility will differ, so it's important to consider what that means to you.
In some cases, being flexible may mean switching between remote and office days on short notice. Or perhaps, it may mean giving a little bit when it comes to your ideal work hours. For example, on your remote days, you may prefer to start your day extra early so you can log off earlier. But on in-office days, you might need to work more standard hours so you can be available for team meetings and collaboration.
6. Stay Connected With Your Team
For hybrid teams, regular real-time meetings are essential. Slack chats, Zoom calls, and virtual meetings can help team members check-in and connect with their office mates on remote days.
And on in-office days, hybrid workers should make an effort to connect with their colleagues. Whether it's grabbing lunch with a teammate or stopping by someone’s desk to say hi, going out of your way to stay connected can help build relationships and trust with your team.
Staying in touch also keeps communication flowing, prevents misunderstandings, and helps workflows stay on track. As a bonus, staying connected can also prevent feelings of isolation because remote days make it easy for team members to feel disconnected and like they’re working in a vacuum.
7. Be Patient
If you're new to flexible schedules and the hybrid workplace, the most important thing is to be patient. A change in workspace and routine can take some time to get used to. Just give yourself a little time to settle, and things will start to fall into place.
Find Your Focus and Stay Productive No Matter Where You Work
Although we can't be sure what the future of work will look like, it's safe to say that it will increasingly include hybrid schedules. Any change in company culture requires a bit of adjustment, but in time, both employers and employees will likely find that the hybrid work model increases productivity and promotes a healthy work-life balance.
Whether you work onsite or offsite, in an office space or a coworking space, you'll be more productive and focused if you have the right tools. Rize can help you create your ideal work schedule around the times when you are most productive. Rize is the only time management app that automatically tracks your workday to identify your peak focus times.
Give us a try for free for two weeks and see how Rize can help you manage your hybrid work schedule.