- Hybrid work is very different from in-office and at-home work. Taking productivity habits from both areas simply won’t cut it.
- Time blocks are an excellent way to keep your schedule consistent and let colleagues know if you’re available.
- Here are several other tips to maximize your productivity in the hybrid workplace.
After nearly a year and a half of remote work, we’re all looking forward to the next phase. But this doesn’t mean that work life will return to how it used to be. If you’re like many workers, there’s a good chance you’re going hybrid—if you haven’t already done so.
Hybrid work means splitting your time between the office and home (or anywhere with an internet connection). From Google to Citigroup, it’s a model a growing number of organizations are embracing. Both employers and employees benefit from these flexible arrangements in various ways, from the potential cost savings of a reduced real estate footprint to better work-life balance.
But hybrid work is very different from purely all-remote or all-office based work. And if hybrid work is not approached in a thoughtful, organized manner it can make getting work done more complicated. Here are some tips that can help optimize hybrid work and keep productivity on high.
1. Have the same setup in office and at home
Humans are creatures of habit, and when it comes to work there are good reasons why making your workspaces look as similar as possible—both at the office and at home—can improve productivity. From how you orient your desk and chair to the drawer in which you keep supplies, it’s a good idea to aim for consistency across both locations.
It might not be possible to make everything match, but when your desk layout is similar in both places, it’s easier to transition between home and office.”
For starters, mentally reorienting yourself to a new workspace every few days is a waste of time and energy. If your home and office setups are similar, you won’t have to readjust. The concept of context-dependent memory also suggests that you might have an easier time remembering information—or picking up work where you left off—if your work environment always looks similar.
2. Create time blocks in your calendar
There’s a good chance your schedule on WFH days may look different than your time in the office. But a lot of work tends to require collaboration with colleagues—and flexible, easy collaboration requires a consistent, predictable schedule so that coworkers know when you’re available.
Getting in the habit of blocking out time in your calendar can make hybrid routines more consistent and promote greater visibility into the availability of team members. As you build out your schedule, schedule time for all your daily tasks, including blocking off time for things like lunch and commuting.
3. Coordinate your in-office visits with your team
While some teams and companies may take a more regimented approach to hybrid work schedules, others allow employees to pick and choose which days to come into the office. But if you decide to commute in and the rest of your team is working remotely that day, it’s a lost opportunity for face-to-face time.
Although virtual collaboration is often highly productive, there are occasions where getting together in-person may be more beneficial. It’s a good idea to always aim to hold important meetings in-person, and teams may benefit from coordinating which days they commute in.
4. Invest in your own mobile accessories
Hybrid means you’re on the go. But it also means that whether you’re working from your desk at work, the kitchen table, a coffee shop, or even your family’s vacation home, that you’ll need all your supplies and essentials on hand—or you may not be able to get the job done.
It’s a good idea to have a second set of all the mobile must-haves—wireless mouse, laptop charger, docking station, and so on—so that wherever you are, you’ll have everything you need to plug in and get to work. Some companies may even reimburse workers for essential tools that enable hybrid workers to get down to business from anywhere.
5. Prioritize video meetings
The end of full-time remote work shouldn’t spell the end of video meetings—especially for hybrid workers. As we’ve seen over the last year and a half, there are benefits to turning on the camera in both professional moments (an update call with clients) and more casual ones (catching up with coworkers).
That’s because while the office part of hybrid work may bring you in closer contact with others, there will always be value in the connection and additional non-verbal meaning video meetings can impart.
6. Take your time
Remember those shell-shocked early days of remote work at the start of the pandemic? Although hybrid work is new, it won’t likely entail the same level of adjustment as learning to work apart from the office and teammates overnight.
That said, hybrid work will still take getting used to—new schedules, new coordination considerations for working with hybrid teammates, and other changes from the most recent status quo. So take your time, and approach your new working arrangement with an open mind and willingness to make adjustments as you go.
Given the benefits of hybrid work, it’ll be worth it in the end.
Originally published Aug 18, 2021, updated Aug 19, 2021