A hybrid work model is a highly flexible arrangement, in which staff can choose either to work from home or in the office. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns gave many workers the opportunity to see what working from home was like. Now, some companies are planning to offer employees the option to work from home — at least occasionally — even after everyone returns to the office.
There are many advantages to a hybrid work schedule. Specifically, employees eliminate part of their commute and employers can reduce costs with fewer people coming into the office.
However, if you’re working hybrid, you may also feel like it’s harder to communicate with your co-workers and your work-life balance may also be affected. To prevent that, here are some tips to successfully mix office work with working from home.
Set Up a Home Office
When working from home, the first thing you need is a dedicated space that’s free from distractions, as well as suitable for your work.
First, you don’t want to be hunched over a laptop all day every day. So, a good desk and chair are a must for any home-based worker to avoid affecting your wellbeing and productivity. Plus, your organization may even cover the cost of some of your home office equipment.
It’s also important to reduce clutter in your home office, as it can be distracting. To that end, use the storage options you have in your apartment or home to create a calm and clean home office.
Get Ready for the Office
When you return to the office, you’ll probably notice a few changes. In particular, social distancing and regular cleaning are likely to continue in the near future. You may also need to wear a mask in shared spaces and book a desk ahead of your visit. Furthermore, your organization may have reconfigured your workspace to maintain social distance while working. For example, Cushman & Wakefield recently demonstrated its “Six Feet Office” concept, which showcases how organizations can transform existing offices into socially distant workspaces.
Your commute may change, too. As more people utilize hybrid working models, unpredictable spikes in congestion may be seen outside of the usual rush hours. For example, if commuting to your Austin office space took close to half an hour on any day of the week, you may see that time vary depending on the day of the week. As a result, it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected and adapt to any changes introduced in your office and/or your commute.
Communication Matters More Than Ever
Good communication is key to keeping a hybrid team connected. But, every organization and staff member is different. For instance, you may prefer to communicate over Zoom, while your colleagues may feel more comfortable using traditional email and phone calls.
Likewise, some people may prefer working from home versus working from the office, while others may miss being among co-workers and discussing work matters in person. So, it’s important to find out how everyone on your team prefers to communicate and what works for people in and out of the office. And, remember to include all co-workers in your projects and ask for feedback from everyone — whether they’re in the office or at home. Share your opinion, but also listen to what everyone has to say.
Manage Your Work-Life Balance
Sometimes, hybrid models can erode the balance between your home and office life, so it’s important to manage your time properly. Specifically, stick to a schedule to boost your productivity and avoid overworking yourself. Even a simple to-do list can help you stay focused when you’re working from home. Then, when your work hours are finished, try to disconnect and relax your mind. While you may feel temporarily satisfied working on that idea you had until late at night, your productivity the next day is sure to suffer. Also, remember to take regular breaks.
You may also want to continue to wear your work clothes — even when you’re at home. This can help you make the mental switch between the office and home, even if they’re the same space.
Although it’s a new experience for all of us, sticking to these tips will help you adapt to hybrid work much faster.