Before the transition occurred as a result of COVID where workers were sent home to work, employees had little or no choice over their work accommodations. However, now that businesses are returning to the workplace — workers have more options.
In March 2021, millions of Americans who could work virtually, found themselves doing so. Before this transition, around 20 percent of employees who could work remotely did so; now, that figure is up to 71%.
The hybrid-work move came with little or no choice or notice. Now that businesses are returning to the workplace, workers will have more options than before.
If you find yourself able or obligated to have some in-person facetime each week and are unsure what to request — here are some techniques to guide your hybrid schedule options.
Setting Up a Hybrid Work Schedule
These four critical criteria might help you enhance your overall productivity so you return to work.
What schedule do I like at work?
Traditionally, the best way to do most business activities is in person, depending on what your job is. Whenever feasible, you should be “at the table” for high-level strategic decisions and talks.
Virtual communication differs significantly from in-person communication. You may prefer to work at the office even if you aren’t making game-changing choices. Real-time problem solving, decision making, evaluating real things, and strong emotional content are all best done in person.
Plan your workplace days around project meetings.
If you have power over such meetings, invite other team members to attempt to come in as well. You may change your choices over time. For example, have everyone meet in person to start the project, then have virtual meetings for regular updates, and then have everyone meet again in person to discuss deliverables.
My hybrid team needs me when?
To optimize team productivity, determine the best ways to engage (in person or virtually). Be aware and notice that certain of your coworkers — particularly when receiving or giving direct reports — will better understand what you say and remember knowledge when reports are given in person. Organize some in-office days to coincide with company employees and teams presence.
Keep in mind that unread or misinterpreted written or phone communication might cost you hours of aggravation and cut deeply into your productivity.
Alternatively, if you find that some of your coworkers prefer to receive information in writing or by other virtual means, keep holding remote meetings and use your office time for other purposes. People may prefer in-person contact, face-to-face meetings, or hybrid choices, so evaluate what makes sense for each member on your team as you plan your calendar.
How can I increase my output?
The first two points are about increasing your and your team’s productivity. The remaining two criteria are about personal productivity, beginning with energy management. If you or members of your team are more introverted, you may find it beneficial to work no more than two days in a row at the office. Perhaps you choose Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Monday, Wednesday, Friday as office days.
Interspersing workdays with days at home allows you to rejuvenate by reducing external stimuli. You may also schedule your meetings in advance so that your work-from-home days have more quiet time for solo work.
For those who are more outgoing, working numerous days in a row may not be an issue. You may also feel more invigorated by scheduling meetings both at work and at home so you can interact with people regularly.
When working remotely, schedule meetings first thing in the morning and again in the afternoon when your enthusiasm begins to flag. Your hybrid style will be enhanced by your winning attitude.
When do I lack motivation?
Before the workplace migration, I’ve seen that my coaching clients’ motivation varies during the week. Some people have a great Monday morning presence but struggle by Friday afternoon to do meaningful work. Others, on the other hand, take longer to get starting on Mondays but breeze through their to-do lists by Friday, working until six or seven p.m.
Remote employment may also influence motivation, particularly among younger Gen Z employees or clients. In the same Pew Research research that examined the transition to remote work, 42 percent of employees aged 18 to 49 said it was challenging to stay motivated.
Among those aged 18–29, 53 percent believe it’s tough to stay motivated when they aren’t in the same room with their coworkers. (By comparison, just 20 percent of employees over 50 agree.) Use the in-office time to boost motivation.
Just as coming to the gym makes it simpler to work out, going to the workplace makes it easier for specific individuals to work.
If you work best in groups and lose motivation as the week goes on, request frequent Thursday and Friday office hours. Aim for Monday and Tuesday if the contrary is true, and you’ll get more done that way.
Know when you’ll need positive peer pressure and design your hybrid schedule appropriately. With more companies returning to the office, you may face a schedule that combines in-person and remote work. Consider these four variables when deciding your to return to work schedule.
Image Credit: Artem Podrez; Pexels; Thank you!
Hunter Meine is a BYU-Idaho graduate, husband, father, and writer. When he's not writing, he's playing sports or enjoying the outdoors with his wife and daughter.