The popularity of remote working has soared in recent years. However, this type of work has its pros and cons, and some people prefer a mix between working remotely and in the office. This concept is called hybrid working, and we think it’s the hottest new workplace trend for 2022.
There are many ways to hybrid work, and finding the proper schedule for your workplace may take a bit of trial and error. In this article, we will offer tips on finding the best hybrid working schedule for your team.
Types of Hybrid Working
- Half and half: This involves working at home for 2-3 days a week and in the office for the other 2-3 days.
- Office first: Employees will primarily work in the office but may work from home one or two days a week. These could be the same days each week or could change week by week.
- Remote first: Employees will primarily work remotely but may come into the office either when they want to or when they need to be there in person, for example, if they have any group projects that need to be completed in the office.
How to choose the best hybrid working model & schedule for your team
Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing the best hybrid working model for your team.
- Can my employees work effectively at home?
- Do my employees commute a long way to reach the office?
- Do my employees express a desire to work on a more flexible basis, such as working a 7 am – 3 pm day so they can pick their kids up from school?
- Does my workspace focus on collaboration?
- Can we effectively collaborate remotely?
- What capacity does my office have?
- Do my employees want to come into the office or work at home?
You could also look at other companies in your industry to see what they are doing. For example, if you work for a travel agent, see if you can find information about how other popular travel agents operate their workplace and what their employees think about it.
You can find reviews of different workplaces on Glassdoor and Indeed. It’s a good idea to consider any of the complaints that workers have about their company, as you will want to ensure that your company does better!
Steps to take to set up a hybrid work schedule
Once you have decided which hybrid work schedule to adopt, there are some steps that you can take to ensure that you set it up in a secure, productive and inclusive manner.
Communicate with your employees first
Whenever you decide to make changes to the workplace, your priority should be communicating with your employees. They are the people who will be most affected by the change, so it is of tantamount importance that you speak to them first.
It’s best if you speak to your team in person. However, if there are many people working in your company, try talking to all of the department managers first and asking them to relay the message to other employees. Doing this can ensure that every employee gets a say in the workplace changes and can make their preferences known.
Try to factor in each employee’s preferences – to an extent, of course! For example, consider which employees may thrive on coming into the workplace and who works best at home, and try to accommodate these to ensure maximum productivity and workplace satisfaction.
Create the schedule
Once you have an idea of the best hybrid work schedule for your company and have some input from employees, it’s time to create the schedule.
You can do this easily on Google calendars or even on a physical calendar. First, make a list of all of your employees’ names and include notes, such as “Linda – wants to come into the office three days per week”.
Then, work through the list and the calendar, week by week, and note who could come in when.
Consider the following when you are creating the hybrid work schedule:
- Do I need somebody from each department every day?
- Do certain people work better with each other?
- Can some people who do similar jobs come in on alternate days?
- Does a supervisor need to be in the office if their junior staff are in?
Then, simply write your notes up in a calendar! If you use Google calendars or another computerised calendar, you will then be able to make the rota public so your staff members can see when they are expected to be in the office.
Think about the office set-up
Whether you are starting to work in a new office or just repurposing your existing workplace for hybrid work, consider how you are setting up your office.
If you always have people in the office, you might want to make sure that you have plenty of space for people to work. However, if you have fewer people in the workplace, you could consider downsizing, potentially even contacting your landlord to discuss paying less rent.
Make sure that your office set-up is collaboration-focused, as you’ll want the time that everyone spends physically at work to be focused on collaboration. Consider having large tables where employees can easily work on group projects and open plan interior design so people can move around.
Consider meeting room layouts, as well. Make sure that you set up your tables and chairs in a way that includes people within the meeting and those joining virtually.
Invest in the right equipment
The next step is ensuring that you have the right equipment. There are some excellent examples of collaboration technology that can help you work well as a team, whether you are in the office or not!
An interactive display is a piece of essential collaborative equipment. These can be installed in the main workspace and connected to individual employees’ devices. You can do meetings or other collaborative work using the interactive display as the primary device.
Also, ensure that each employee’s device can connect to the interactive display. While you don’t want to be too invasive, it might also help to speak to each employee about their working environment and check that they have everything they need.
Choose a project management software
Good project management software is essential if you are working on a hybrid basis. There are various online project management programmes that could help you, including Trello, where you can track the progress of tasks, Asana, which features tasks in a calendar and Slack, which is a group messaging software.
Have a team meeting on the first day of working remotely
Once you have everything set up, it’s time for your first day of work! On the first day, have a team meeting and ensure that everybody is comfortable and has everything they need.
Set up this meeting in the programme you aim to use for all of your interactions. This could be Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams – or any other software, of course! Use this meeting to check in with your employees and ensure that they are happy with the working set-up, answering any questions. This should help both of you to feel more comfortable with this new hybrid working schedule!
After the first meeting, continue to have daily check-ins to ensure everybody is comfortable with the hybrid working environment.
Whether you are speaking to in-person staff in a huddle room or having daily meetings on Zoom, make sure that you utilise any meetings to ensure that everyone is working as effectively as possible.
Don’t be afraid to change your schedule
Not all schedules work for all businesses. You might find that you try one particular schedule, and it doesn’t quite work for your team. For example, you might realise that having people work from home four or five days a week is ineffective and that you need people in the office more often.
If this becomes the case, that’s completely ok. The best way to learn which schedule suits your team is through trial and error. So don’t be afraid to make tweaks to the program, especially in the first few weeks. Make it clear to your employees that the schedule is subject to change too.
The concept of hybrid working is relatively new, so it might take you a while to set up the perfect hybrid working schedule for your business. But with a bit of trial and error and plenty of communication between your colleagues, you’ll find your groove and excel in the world of hybrid work!