How to Navigate (and Thrive) in a Hybrid Workplace
Editor & Writer
Editor & Writer
- Hybrid work allows employees to work when and where is best for them.
- Hybrid work benefits include less commuting, flexible work hours, and increased productivity.
- It's important to ask the right questions before transitioning to a hybrid work schedule.
- You can thrive as a hybrid employee by managing up and controlling your mindset.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has been negative in many ways, but it has also led to or accelerated some positive developments. The growth of remote and hybrid work is one of them. According to Zippia, 74% of U.S. companies are now using or planning to use a permanent hybrid work model.
The need to work remotely because of the crisis has changed the way we work.
What Is Hybrid Work?
Hybrid work is a flexible work model that allows employees to work when and where is best for them. Ideally, the hybrid work model is a win-win for employees and employers. Employees gain better work-life balance by choosing a schedule that fits their needs. As a result, employers gain more productive, engaged, and loyal employees.
Sample Hybrid Work Schedules
- In Office: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
- Remote: Tuesday and Thursday
This employee prefers working in the office. However, he needs to drop off and pick up his child from preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Since the school is close to his home, working remotely on those days is a time saver.
- In Office: Monday
- Remote: Tuesday-Friday
This employee prefers working remotely from home. However, she knows interacting with colleagues face to face is valuable. Since her team's weekly touch-base meeting happens every Monday, working in the office that day keeps her relationships strong.
- In Office: Tuesday and Thursday
- Remote: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
This employee enjoys both working in the office and working remotely. Working in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays allows them to take onsite yoga classes over their lunch break.
Benefits of Hybrid Work
One of the most significant job benefits of a hybrid workplace is the potential for flexible working hours. When you remove the strict rule for everyone to work at their desk 8-5 every Monday-Friday, you add the ability for employees to truly achieve work-life balance.
Giedre Kojaliene, head of people and organization development at carVertical, shared why they believe flexible working hours are a key benefit that leads to employee success:
If our employees have to pick up a kid from kindergarten earlier than usual or wish to visit the dentist in the morning, that is absolutely okay to do. We believe in a healthy work-life balance — flexible working hours help to achieve great results without sacrificing personal freedom.
Hybrid work also cuts back on commute time and costs. Saving time and money commuting less translates to more of both for personal matters: family, friends, and pets. Working out. Prepping food. Volunteering. Spending a little time each week on a hobby you enjoy.
Lastly, a big benefit of being a hybrid employee is how flexibility can aid productivity. When you have work-life balance, your well-being can improve, and your stress levels can lower. This can allow you to engage and focus more on your projects and problem-solving.
Having the autonomy to work when and where fits best with your lifestyle and responsibilities can be a real game-changer.
Questions to Ask When Transitioning to a Hybrid Work Model
- Are in-office days recommended or mandatory? If mandatory, how are days in the office decided?
- Are flexible working hours a part of your hybrid schedule offering? Or does everyone start and end their day at the same time?
- Is the office a kid-friendly environment?
- Is the office an animal-friendly environment?
- Does the company financially compensate for at-home office expenses?
- What communication and workflow tools do you use to ensure employees are successful no matter where they work?
- How does the company approach team building in a hybrid workplace?
- Is professional development or career coaching available to help employees thrive in a hybrid environment?
- Are those who work remotely and those in-office considered equal when it comes to assignments and promotions?
- What has been the biggest success since your company enacted a hybrid work schedule?
- What has been the biggest challenge since adopting a hybrid format?
Tips to Thrive in a Hybrid Work Environment
Sara Bandurian, operations supervisor for Online Optimism, recommends mimicking your at-home workspace and in-the-office workspace as much as possible.
Having two entirely different spaces that you're moving between will cause undue stress and be an annoyance when you're trying to remember where you put something, only to remember you don't have the same options as your other workspace, said Bandurian.
And Bandurian explained that mimicking workspaces doesn't need to be an elaborate task. Intentionally setting up your monitors the same way and stocking the same notepad and pen options could be just enough to stay productive no matter where you're working.
Eric Fischgrund, founder of FischTank PR, said if you want to thrive in a hybrid workplace you need to
effectively manage up. So when a project or assignment comes through, claim responsibility for it instead of waiting for direction.
Eric gave this scenario as an example:
I saw Ms. Smith's message about getting a press release started for next week. I'm going to work on an outline today and tomorrow and plan to have the release for this team's review by Thursday. Does that work for everyone?
Taking the initiative and communicating shows a solid work ethic, allows you to tackle a new challenge, and could lead to more responsibilities.
Equalize the Experience
Charlene Wheeless, career coach, author, and speaker for Charlene Wheeless, LLC and senior advisor for APCO Worldwide said,
In all meetings, if even one person is virtual, everyone has their laptop and is on screen.
Charlene recommends this because
it equalizes the experience for all meeting participants.
While deciding to do so may not always fall in your hands, you can still advocate for it. Plus, you can equalize the experience whenever you organize or lead a meeting.
No matter your title, leading by example is in your power.
Manage Your Mindset
Sharon Steiner Hart, executive coach with Talking Talent, said,
Managing your mindset around new ways of working can be the key to embracing a hybrid work environment. One of the ways she teaches her clients to do this is to intentionally cultivate gratitude.
Aren't you getting the best of both worlds? Sharon asks her clients.
A few years ago, hybrid working models were not nearly as common, and now many roles have the opportunity to split time between virtual and in-person.
“Deepen your appreciation for both scenarios. Write each out and meditate on them. You can do this by closing your eyes for a minute or two and focusing on what feels good about each scenario. Try using self-talk that promotes a positive outlook for working in a hybrid environment.
Frequently Asked Questions About A Hybrid Workplace
How many companies are going hybrid?
According to Zippia, 74% of U.S. companies are using or planning to switch to a permanent hybrid work model. Consider companies worldwide, and your options only increase. Check out these 10 companies offering permanent remote or hybrid work.
What are the challenges of hybrid working?
Work is still work, not a vacation. So even though hybrid work models see success, they aren't perfect. Challenges can arise when clear communication isn't a constant. The proper project management and communication tools are critical to making hybrid work a success. Think of Slack, Monday.com, and Zoom as examples.
How do you stay motivated in a hybrid environment?
It's very important not to let isolation deter your motivation when working in a hybrid or remote work environment. Be intentional about connecting with your colleagues — virtually and in person. This can be as simple as engaging on Slack channels daily. Or it could mean being intentional about going out to lunch once a week with colleagues on a day you're in the office. If no one is doing that, don't be afraid to be the one to get a healthy routine started!