Here’s your guide to creating a flexible hybrid work schedule. Learn what’s important to succeed in this new environment.
Employees were given very little or no choice over this change, which occurred without any prior notice. However, as businesses return to the office in earnest, many employees will have more options than ever before.
Here are some strategies that can help guide your hybrid schedule decisions if you find yourself in a situation where you are able or required to have some in-person facetime each week but are unsure of what to request. When you're (partially) back in the office, as a time management coach, I find that taking into consideration these four key factors can empower you to maximize your overall productivity.
What tasks do I prefer to do in the office?
In-person is best for some of the most important business functions. When it comes to negotiations and high-level strategic decisions, you should try to be "at the table" as much as possible. Virtual communication and in-person communication are fundamentally different.
However, even if you aren't making pivotal decisions, there are some tasks that you might prefer to complete at work. Project meetings, for instance, are best conducted in person if they involve problem-solving, decision-making, reviewing tangible objects, or high emotional content. Plan your in-office days for when those venture gatherings are held. Additionally, if you have some control over those meetings, you might want to ask other members of the team to try to make it into the office on those days as well. These preferences could also be altered over time. For instance, when you first start the project, hold virtual meetings for routine updates and have everyone meet in person. When it's time for a more in-depth review of the deliverables, encourage people to meet in person again.
To maximize team productivity, determine what kind of contacts (in-person or virtual) will be most productive. If you see that some of your coworkers — particularly your direct reports — better understand what you're saying and can retain and respond to information more effectively when you're in person, attempt to schedule some in-office days to coincide with when those individuals will also be present. Thirty minutes of face-to-face time could save you hours of headache from unread or misunderstood written and phone communication. Alternatively, if you notice that certain of your coworkers understand the material better in writing or through another virtual technique, continue conducting those meetings remotely and reserve your in-office time for other purposes.
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The first two criteria I mentioned had to do with increasing your and your team's productivity on project work. However, the final two variables are all about increasing your productivity, beginning with energy management.
If you have more introverted tendencies, you may find it beneficial to limit your time at the workplace to no more than two days in a row. For instance, suppose you choose to come in on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, or Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. By alternating days at work and days at home, you allow yourself to recharge by having less stimulation from other people on your remote days. You can also organize your meetings on days when you're at the office so that your work-from-home days have longer stretches of uninterrupted time for solo work.
Going into the office numerous days in a row, on the other hand, may not be a problem if you are more extroverted. And you may feel more invigorated overall if you schedule meetings both at work and at home so you have the opportunity to connect with people daily. When working remotely, schedule some meetings at the beginning of your workday to get you energized, and then again in the afternoon when your enthusiasm begins to wane.
Even before the office migration, I noticed employees' motivation tends to fluctuate during the week. Some people start strong on Monday morning, but by Friday afternoon, it's quite impossible for them to complete any serious work. Others are the opposite: it takes them a while to get started on Monday, but by Friday, they're quickly ticking things off the list and working until 6 or 7 p.m.
These levels of motivation can also be affected by working from home, especially if you're younger. According to the same Pew Research study that measured the big shift toward remote work, 42% of workers between the ages of 18 and 49 said it has been hard to feel motivated to work from home. In addition, 53% of 18- to 29-year-olds stated that it has been challenging for them to be motivated to complete their work when they are not in person with their coworkers. This contrasts with the 20% of older workers who feel the same way.)
When you're feeling down, use your time at the office to boost your motivation. In the same way that going to the gym can make working out a lot easier, going to the office can make it much easier for some people to finish their work. If you find you're most roused when you're around others and you blur as the week advances, demand standard office days on Thursday and Friday. Make that your goal if you discover that the opposite is true and are aware that going in on Monday and Tuesday will allow you to accomplish significantly more. For significant productivity boosts, plan your hybrid schedule around the times when you will require some supportive peer pressure.
A motivated workforce provides a number of advantages, including lower levels of absenteeism, retention of workers, low staff turnover, improved interactions between management and workers, enhanced worker performance, improved quality, and customer service. Litespace recommends the higher management motivate team members by encouraging participation. Involve your staff in team decisions where appropriate. Involving your team members in the decision-making process gives them a sense of control over their own destiny and a say in how the team can reach its goals and targets - essential for keeping people motivated to see an organization succeed. Motivated employees can enhance productivity and help a business to achieve better levels of output.
As more and more businesses return to the office, you might find yourself with a schedule that includes both in-person and remote work. When deciding when to be in the office, consider these four things to ensure that your return to work is convenient for you.
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