Hybrid Working Tips: 10 Ways to Strike the Balance
Most people love the flexibility that comes with hybrid working, but it can get exhausting fast, especially if you’ve been completely remote for a long time and are returning to the office. For all the benefits that hybrid working brings, it can be tricky to get used to, both for individuals and for businesses. In today’s blog, we’ll be outlining all the best hybrid working tips that can help you strike the balance between working from home and working in the office.
1. Maximise Your Time by Planning Ahead – Hybrid Working Tips
When the pandemic forced office workers to start working from home, for many the arrangement was unfamiliar, perhaps daunting. But in the years since then, hybrid working has become the norm, and one of the clearest benefits is far more flexible schedules.
Working from home, even if for only a couple of days a week, means that you don’t have to think so far in advance when it comes to your day. If you’re returning to the office, you might have forgotten how much more time you need to set aside for commuting, packing the things you need, and even preparing your lunch (unless you’re buying lunch on the day, but it can help to plan that too!).
It’s also worth noting that, when you’re in the office, you’re going to need quite a bit more time between tasks. If you have a meeting immediately after another meeting, it’s not a case of simply leaving one call and joining a new call.
Planning ahead is one of the most effective ways to reduce day-to-day stress. If you’ve gotten used to working exclusively from home, it can be easy to forget how much more planning is required to work in the office.
2. Champion Psychological Safety
Psychological safety is defined by the “belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes, and that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking,” as coined by Amy Edmondson in ‘The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth’.
Simply put, this means that employees in the workplace are encouraged to speak and engage freely, and trust that they won’t be penalised for doing so.
Championing psychological safety contributes to the gold standard of hybrid teams, as well as fully remote teams. Employees value communication that is clear, open, and respectful.
3. Coordinate Your Tasks and Your Schedule
One of the reasons a lot of employees felt reluctant to head back to the office after working remotely for so long was because they, essentially, saw little reason to. And if your job is exactly the same in-office as it is when you’re at home, then you can’t blame them for such reluctance.
The key to making the most of hybrid working is syncing your in-office days with those of your colleagues. There will be certain tasks that make far more sense to complete when you’re in person, rather than via a video call. If there’s a task that can only be completed through collaboration, complete it in the office.
This theory also goes for managers catching up with their employees. If you’re having an all-hands meeting, try to schedule it for when most, if not all, of your employees are in the office. This means that if people have questions or issues to raise, they’ll likely feel far more comfortable raising them.
On the flip side, tasks that could be completed with minimal collaboration should be completed at home. Because why not?
4. Touch Base and Connect with Your Colleagues
Developing relationships with your colleagues is just as vital to hybrid working as planning out your tasks. When you’re working on location, try to set aside time to spend with your colleagues, both on a formal basis and an informal basis.
If you’ve been exclusively working remotely for a long time, it may take you some time to readjust to such a social setting. Touching base with your colleagues, at least on a somewhat regular basis, can help to build your relationships both in and outside the workplace.
5. Stop Looking at Yourself!
Some of the best hybrid working tips are the ones that will likely seem obvious once you’ve heard them. Ever caught yourself staring at your own face during a video call, rather than the faces of your colleagues? Of course you have! It’s perfectly natural, for whatever reason, to do so. What you probably haven’t considered, though, is just how much this constant self-awareness can be a drain on your energy.
Depending on the platform your company uses for video calls, you’ll probably have the option to hide yourself. Even if you don’t, though, you could always just cover yourself with a post-it note. It might feel strange at first, not being able to see yourself, but eventually you’ll adjust, and you may well be happier for it.
6. No Need to Overcompensate when Hybrid Working
With the rise of remote and hybrid working models, some concern has been expressed that those working from home (or mostly working from home) may be overlooked when it comes to promotions or even praise, because their contributions to the company are less obvious. This means that, on the days when those employees are in the office, they might feel the need to overcompensate in order to prove their worth to the company.
In reality, though, hybrid working has for the most part demonstrated that workers are just as productive when they’re not in the office, if not more productive. Ideally, employees shouldn’t have to feel like they need to overcompensate. Instead, they should feel trusted that their contributions are not being overlooked simply because they’re not at the office.
This may not have been the case back before Covid, but now that the hybrid working model is so much more common, the way employees are appraised should have thankfully changed.
7. Encourage Replenishing Breaks
When you have a short break at work, often your impulse can be to take a break from the main task you’re working on, but not quite a break from the actual job. For example, if you’re in a certain mindset (particularly when you’re in the office), sometimes a short break might just mean you’re checking your emails.
But that’s not a break! It’s important, whether you’re at the office or at home, to actually take a step away from the job when you’re on a break. Whether this means going for a short walk or having a snack, it can be very beneficial to shift your focus onto something else for a little while. Once you’re back to work, you might find that it takes you a few minutes to get back into the zone, but you’ll likely find it well worth it in the long run, both for your mental health and your physical health.
8. Stick to a Routine
The way you start your morning can have a huge impact on the rest of your day. Whether you’re working at home or in the office, try to stick to a routine.
When you’re working remotely, your routine might involve getting out of bed just a few minutes before the work day starts (you know Bill Gates does the same). Nothing wrong with getting as much sleep as humanly possible! It doesn’t really matter what your routine is. The key is just being consistent.
9. Create a Dedicated Workspace for Hybrid Working
As tempting as it can be to work straight from your bed, you’ll likely feel a lot better with a dedicated workspace. If you have a room, or part of a room, that you can make your designated workspace, this can do wonders for both your productivity and your mental health.
Some people go to even farther lengths to separate their work life from their personal life when they’re working remotely, like wearing entirely different (more formal) clothes when they’re on business hours. Even if you don’t have any meetings so no one’s going to be seeing you all day, you’d be surprised how much dressing like it’s any other office day can get you in the right mindset.
10. Set Boundaries
On the topic of setting boundaries… set boundaries! Flexibility is great, but you’ll appreciate it far more if you make sure there’s a distinction between your work life and your home life.
When you’re working from home, try to make sure you get to the point every day where you’re completely clocked out. If possible, turn off email notifications after a certain time, and when you’re taking breaks, set your online status to ‘do not disturb’ or ‘away’.
You should also set boundaries when it comes to taking meetings. For example, if a client wanted a meeting after 5pm, it’s possible that you could make that meeting with little inconvenience. But try to limit this. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. If you ask the person you’re supposed to have a call with if they can do any other time that’s actually during business hours (even if that means postponing the meeting until another day), you might end up thanking yourself.
Hybrid Working Tips: Conclusion
To strike the right balance between working from home and working in the office, it essentially all comes down to planning. Acknowledge the differences between a day at home and a day at the office, and try to think of all the ways you can take advantage of these differences.
Set boundaries, take breaks, and when you’re done for the day, make sure you’re actually done for the day.
To read more from The Lead Generation Company about adapting to change, check out our other blog post, Preparing for Change.