Congratulations are in order! You and your company survived several chaotic years of remote work, and it’s finally safe to start moving back to the office.
There’s just one problem. Not everyone wants to go back to the office. Maybe your staff got a little too used to hanging out with their pets all day, wearing pajamas on the clock, and commuting ten feet to their home office. But the boss upstairs doesn’t want to see the company culture dwindle and office space go to waste.
Thankfully, there’s a compromise. Companies across the world have switched to hybrid scheduling to reap the benefits of both remote and in-office work, and yours can too. Workers are loving it.
Choosing the right hybrid schedule for your company can be tricky, but with a few tips, your company can enjoy the best of both worlds. Let’s examine the merits of hybrid scheduling and the best ways to choose the perfect hybrid schedule for your company.
What is a hybrid work schedule?
A hybrid work schedule is any schedule in which employees both work remotely and work in the office. In some cases, all employees switch between the two work options. In others, certain employees work in the office while others work remotely. It all depends on the needs of the company.
Is a hybrid schedule worth it?
Hybrid schedules are more suited to some businesses than others, but many companies have found hybrid scheduling to be a massive success. To help you decide if it’s a good fit, we’ll take a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of hybrid working.
Benefits of hybrid working
Remote workers are often happier and more productive
At home, employees save time and money without a commute, and in some cases, they save on childcare costs too. It may sound crazy, but extra time and money in their pockets will be appreciated. Additionally, remote workers are more productive on average. This is due to a number of factors, including a lack of commute time and in-office distractions. In many ways, it’s a win-win for you and your employees.
A hybrid schedule makes time spent in the office more valuable
Working in-office has its own benefits, including support for company culture and an easier time making connections with your staff. Hybrid schedules allow for these benefits to be concentrated to a more limited time, allowing you and your employees to reap the rewards of in-person interaction without letting it consume more time than necessary.
If you’re working on a hybrid model where some employees work some days while others work other days, it also opens the space in your office to redesign how and where people work with productivity and comfort in mind.
Downsides of the hybrid work model
Hybrid schedules can be logistically difficult
While many tout hybrid schedules as the best of both worlds, they aren’t without their complications and difficulties. Some managers find it more logistically difficult to account for employees. Fully in-office workplaces offer a consistency that the hybrid work model can’t replicate. Managers might find scheduling meetings and keeping track of who is working when and where to be troublesome, at least in the beginning.
Conversely, fully remote workplaces offer a different sort of consistency. All meetings can be scheduled virtually, and there’s never any questions about the best way or time to reach a certain employee.
Managerial oversight is more difficult for remote employees
Depending on management styles, this could be a benefit or a drawback. Some managers prefer to know what’s going on throughout each workday, and doing so is more difficult when some or all employees are working remotely. Other managers might not be bothered so long as the work that needs to get done is getting done. The hybrid work model is better for those who don’t like to micro-manage.
Remote employees might get left behind
While there are plenty of benefits to working remotely, it does create the potential for missed opportunities. In-person employees are more likely to develop relationships with managers, so it’s easier for them to get promoted and climb the corporate ladder. If your company has a split between in-person and remote workers, it’s easier for those working from home to be forgotten or ignored.
Unfortunately, this puts women, especially mothers, at a particular disadvantage, and can contribute to gender inequality. Managers should be careful to account for these issues when looking to promote internally. Sometimes the best employees are remote.
Problems at home can worsen
Even when employees work in-office, it can be difficult to leave problems at home. When working a hybrid or fully remote position, these problems can bleed into an employee’s work life more easily. These problems often go unnoticed until the damage is done and a toll has been taken on their work or relationships.
One way to prevent a situation like this from happening is to offer your employees virtual support. LEAPCare partners with companies to care for their employees when they need help most.
Types of hybrid work from home schedules
Even if you’re sold on hybrid scheduling, you still have to decide what’s the best hybrid work schedule for your company. Let’s examine a few common hybrid models.
Two-three home-office split
The two-three split is one of the most common hybrid schedules. You can interpret it two ways, with one being two days working remotely with three in the office or vice versa. Two-three splits work well because they are even and consistent from week to week. Some companies like to have everyone working on the same days, while others prefer to keep them staggered.
Half-and-half hybrid schedule
Half-and-half schedules are a completely even split, so they make for a nice middle-of-the-road option. The main complication with these schedules is that the work week typically has only five days, so you often have to look at schedules over the course of multiple weeks. In some cases, they don’t differ much from the two-three split.
Remote-first or employee’s choice scheduling
Remote-first schedules place remote working as the default, but allows for those who prefer to work in-office to do so. This widens your hiring pool massively, but creates an uneven distribution of workers based on geographic differences employees can’t control.
Employee’s choice is a similar format, where workers can elect which hybrid model works best for them, but there is no default. In these systems, many upper-level managers continue to work in-office every day.
Not all jobs are the same, and this type of scheduling embraces the differences. While some departments require frequent collaboration or work involving physical materials, others do nothing but computer work.
Your software engineers might have an easier time working from home than your research and development team that needs lab access.
A step-by-step guide to choosing the perfect hybrid work from home schedule for your company
Now you’ve had a chance to look at options, but the work doesn’t stop there. Consider the unique needs of your company. Here’s how:
Talk to your team members about their preferred work schedule
Yes, you get the final say, but you’ll make your job easier if you get input from the people affected by your decisions. They’ll also be grateful you asked. Nobody knows the daily ins and outs of lower-level work at your company like those doing it, so encourage them to pitch ideas.
Research hybrid work success stories from other companies
Thankfully, you don’t have to be a hybrid scheduling pioneer. Plenty of other companies have adapted to this model successfully, and you can learn from their experiences. Take some time to research the strategies of top-performing companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and more who have embraced a hybrid schedule.
Divide your company’s daily tasks into remote-friendly and not remote-friendly
How much daily work requires people to be in office? It might be less than you think, and it might be more. Break down large projects into smaller parts and examine them. For bonus points, ask your employees to break their personal tasks into the two categories and have them report your findings. This will make scheduling decisions much easier.
Test out the hybrid schedule that sounds most ideal
If you want to try hybrid scheduling, eventually you have to try something out and hope for the best. Make an educated decision and see how it goes. Remember that a decision doesn’t have to be set in stone. You won’t know if something works until you try it.
Get feedback from your employees and adjust accordingly
After a month or so, call for a meeting with all your employees and discuss how everyone is handling the new schedule. Adjust according to the feedback you gain from your own observations and those of your team members. Rinse and repeat until everyone is happy, the work is getting done, and problems associated with scheduling have been minimized as much as possible.
Let LEAPcare support your employees
Hybrid and remote work may be what’s best for you and your team members, but there are plenty of complications and difficulties working within these systems. Looking after the mental welfare of your staff might become more difficult. Let LEAPcare support them. With 24/7 nationwide access to our team of trained virtual Care Coaches, nobody will be forgotten or have their mental health needs neglected. Learn more about how we can help you.