During the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers were introduced to the concept of remote work, where people would do their jobs from home. For many, it was a large sacrifice, while others found it enjoyable and beneficial. As the pandemic subsided, a number of organizations, such as Google, Citigroup, and BNY Mellon, asked their employees to return to the office. In some instances, workers resisted after having grown used to remote work’s advantages. To retain employees, some companies offered a compromise: the hybrid schedule.
Recent surveys have shown how much more common remote work has become in recent years. According to Gallup, only eight percent of remote-capable workers were exclusively remote, which jumped to 39 percent by February 2022. Hybrid workers saw a similar jump. 32 percent of remote-capable jobs that had a hybrid work schedule in 2019 went to 42 percent three years later. Gallup has also found that six out of ten employees who have a remote-capable job want a hybrid work schedule. Only 10 percent would prefer to stay in the office.
These numbers indicate that any company not considering offering hybrid work schedules may need to reevaluate. Employees expect it increasingly, and any business that doesn’t offer it may find their employee retention suffering.
In this article, learn about the different types of hybrid work schedules, the benefits of a hybrid schedule, and how to implement them.
- The number of hybrid workers jumped by ten percent from 2019 to 2022.
- Most workers who can work remotely want to have a hybrid schedule.
- Only ten percent of workers with a remote-capable job prefer to stay in the office.
- Communication tools are necessary for hybrid work to be effective.
- 87 percent of employees accept the chance to work remotely when offered.
- Hybrid work policies should constantly be reviewed.
What Is a Hybrid Work Schedule?
A hybrid work schedule consists of set days and times when an employee is expected to work remotely and when they’re expected to be in the office. The ratio of in-office days to remote work days will depend on each company and individual. The hybrid work model can take many forms, but all combine these two forms of work into one.
Employees may have a hybrid work schedule that consists of working remotely on Mondays and Fridays, but the rest of the week they’ll be in the office. When they work from home, all their team members will know and be able to reach out to them in case they need something.
How Hybrid Work Differs From Other Models
The hybrid model attempts to create a “best of both worlds” approach to work schedules. To better understand why some people would adopt a hybrid work schedule, it’s important to look at the other work models and how they affect employees.
In-Office Work Model
Most people have experienced this traditional work model throughout their lives. Employees must show up in the office every workday to do their jobs. That “office” can take many forms, from a stereotypical office building to a bank, a grocery store, or even an amusement park. Many jobs maintain this work model partly because remote work options just aren’t possible. For example, a chef needs to show up in the restaurant every day to do their job. A fully remote chef doesn’t make much sense.
Remote Work Model
This work model goes in the opposite direction. Instead of having employees go to a specific workplace, they are expected to work from home during the day. Of course, working remotely doesn’t always mean it has to be from your home. Remote employees may choose to do some work in a cafe or a local library. The main point is that they do the work from wherever they choose and aren’t required to be in a specific location at any given time.
As mentioned above, there are many types of hybrid work, but they all follow a similar pattern. That pattern includes some time working remotely and some time working in a specific place like an office. The amount of time in either place may largely be up to the employer, though employees may have a say in negotiating how much time they can do remote work.
What Are the Different Types of Hybrid Work?
If the time comes to devise a hybrid work schedule, you’ll need to identify the type that works best for your organization and the individual employees. The following models are some of the most common ones in use today.
As the name implies, the remote-centric hybrid work schedule revolves around remote work. This model gives employees the option of coming into the workplace whenever they want. If someone prefers to spend most of their time in the office, they have that option. Conversely, if they want to do primarily remote work, they can also make that choice. This is a highly flexible model that aims to please both sides.
- A great level of flexibility for the whole workforce
- People can choose what suits them best
- Employees feel more empowered and free
- May cause coordination problems
- Business is required to maintain office space, even if most don’t use it
The office-centric hybrid work schedule is the flip side of the remote-centric one. Most of the time, employees must work in the office, but they can also spend some select days working remotely. While not everyone will choose that option, business leaders want them to know it’s there for them when they want it.
- Helpful when needing to stay home due to illness but not too ill to work
- Provides a useful option for those with remote work desires
- Ensures people take advantage of office space
- Some employees may feel pressured to stay in the office when they feel otherwise
- End result may look no different than if the organization offered no hybrid option at all
A split-team hybrid work schedule actually splits your team in two. Some team members always work in the office, while other team members always work remotely. Business leaders and the organization’s policies determine who does what since it usually comes down to the type of job being done.
- Places people where they are most comfortable
- Gives businesses a chance to hire globally for the remote positions
- Helps companies reduce costs by minimizing office space
- Harms collaboration when teams are separated
- May create resentment among those required to work in the office
With shifts, teams need to work in the office on specified days. On the other days, they can work from home. When people think of a hybrid schedule, this is usually the model they picture.
- Everyone shares the same schedule, so people know where their team members are working
- Businesses can save money with reduced energy consumption
- Can plan meeting schedules around when people are in the office
- Some people may be hard to contact on remote workdays
- Not a good fit for people who like always having face-to-face communication in the office
Benefits of Hybrid Work Schedules
Implementing a hybrid work schedule in your organization often means making a lot of changes. Some people may push back, while others may wonder about its effectiveness. As you contemplate whether this is the right choice for your company, looking at the following benefits a hybrid schedule can provide can be helpful.
- More freedom: Employees appreciate when they are given more autonomy. A hybrid work schedule grants that to them, allowing them more freedom to do their jobs as they please from the comfort of their own homes.
- Collaboration opportunities: One criticism of remote work is that it harms collaboration since people work separately. Hybrid work ensures people have more chances to collaborate by putting teams in the office at the same time. This is one of the main reasons Amazon cited for their change to a hybrid schedule requiring employees to spend at least three days weekly in the office.
- Workers want it: According to a survey from McKinsey, 87 percent of employees who were offered the chance to work remotely accepted it. A hybrid schedule gives them the option they want while still preserving the advantages of working in the office. This is especially true as more of Gen Z enters the workforce.
- Cost savings: With more people working from home, the company can potentially save money on overhead costs. That can be as simple as keeping the lights off in the office when no one is working there.
- Greater productivity: Research from Asana found that people do the best skilled work when they work from home. With a hybrid work schedule, they can still do that while splitting time in the office to work on more strategic initiatives.
How to Implement a Hybrid Schedule
If you’ve reached the conclusion that a hybrid work schedule is the best option for your team, the time has come to implement it. You may encounter many pitfalls, but the following tips will put you on the right track to executing a hybrid schedule workers will enjoy and appreciate.
1. Talk to Your Team Members
The people on your team likely have some passionate thoughts on hybrid work. Take the time to talk to them about it. Find out what days would be best for them to work from home. In this way, you can set up a schedule that is the best fit for the most people. While you likely won’t be able to please everyone with the schedule you come up with, you can make it so most will be happy with the outcome.
Dropbox took this tactic when developing a hybrid schedule. The company sent out surveys to find out what employees thought of working both in the office and remotely. They found that almost 90 percent of workers said they could be as efficient working from home as they were in the office. This informed company leaders about the best way to pursue hybrid work company-wide.
2. Use the Same Communication Tools
Flipping between working from home to working in the office can be difficult if you don’t communicate. That’s why you should choose communication tools that everyone can use. Make sure people are using the same messaging platforms and email systems. In this way, they’ll still collaborate and keep in contact. Team members can catch up on project updates or notify people when they’re taking time off. By using the same tools, it keeps everyone on the same page no matter where they are.
Communication and project management tools you can use for hybrid work:
- Microsoft Teams
- Google Hangouts
3. Keep Consistent Meetings
One reason to have some days in the office is to hold meetings where everyone can discuss important items in person. When doing this, keep your meetings consistent. Make sure to hold them on the same day every week. This allows employees to plan out their week, scheduling time when they’ll focus on the work. Holding sporadic or surprise meetings hurts productivity, so schedule everything well in advance. While there may be a need for an emergency meeting occasionally, these should be the exception and not the rule.
4. Keep Priorities Clear
Make sure to communicate to your team members what the priorities are. This will help them focus, particularly when they’re not in the office. Your organization should also have a clear vision and purpose. With a distinct vision statement, team members will know what goals they’re working toward.
When Coinbase turned to a hybrid work model, it aligned with the company values they had already identified. Coinbase viewed hybrid work as an extension of its purpose, making it easier to attain its goals.
5. Review Regularly
Chances are, you won’t get the hybrid work schedule right on the first try. As with any plan, you must constantly review and refine it. During regular one-on-one meetings with team members, ask them how they’re doing with the new schedule. Find out what they would change or improve. As long as you explain that this is an evolving process, they’ll be on board with any changes you need to make.
Hybrid Work for Improved Work-Life Balance
Shifting to a hybrid work schedule can take an adjustment period. Doing so offers improved work-life balance, but there are still hurdles along the way. Look at hybrid work as a method to cater to an individual’s optimal way of working. If you or the company you work for has recently implemented a hybrid work schedule, here are a few quick tips to form the right habits to make this new type of work more manageable.
- Schedule out your day, and stick to it.
- Set clear goals for yourself during the week and share them with your team on the project management platform you use.
- Organize a space in your home that is dedicated solely to work.
- Enroll your team in a training program designed for companies to evolve into modern workforces, such as ROWE.
As you can see, communication is a key part of ensuring success no matter what type of schedule you have. To learn more about how to communicate better, check out the following article:
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- Smart, T. (2022, March 4). The Great Return: Companies Are Calling Their Workers Back to the Office as COVID-19 Fades. US News & World Report. https://www.usnews.com/news/economy/articles/2022-03-04/the-great-return-companies-are-calling-their-workers-back-to-the-office-as-covid-19-fades.
- Gallup, I. (2022). The Future of Hybrid Work: 5 Key Questions Answered With Data. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/390632/future-hybrid-work-key-questions-answered-data.aspx.
- Gallup, I. (2023). Indicator > Hybrid Work. https://www.gallup.com/401384/indicator-hybrid-work.aspx.
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- Americans are embracing flexible work—and they want more of it. (2022, June 27). McKinsey & Company. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/real-estate/our-insights/americans-are-embracing-flexible-work-and-they-want-more-of-it.
- Anatomy of Work 2023 – The New Age of Agility • Asana. (2023). https://asana.com/resources/anatomy-of-work.
- Team, D., Weng, L., Fushman, I., Varenhorst, C., Markell-Goldstein, H., & Team, D. et al. (2023). Dropbox goes Virtual First. https://blog.dropbox.com/topics/company/dropbox-goes-virtual-first.
- Hernández, L. (2022). 5 examples of hybrid companies: how have they done it?. https://nailted.com/blog/hybrid-companies-how-have-they-done-it/.