5 Ways to Manage a Hybrid Workweek
It’s what worker after worker said they wanted—a hybrid workweek in which some days are spent in the office, and some at home. But as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.
Despite enjoying greater freedom, workers say their planning skills are being severely tested in these arrangements. Meanwhile, most firms are still ironing out the arrangement, creating still more challenges. “If employees are working in more than one location, they will need to be organized in terms of the work they do, who they want to connect with, and how they will keep track of information,” says Mark Royal, senior director for Korn Ferry Advisory.
Here are some tips:
Be deliberate about the work you do at each location.
Some tasks, like writing or strategy development, are better suited to quiet time at home, while brainstorming and team meetings are more successful when everyone is in the same room. Let the task determine whether it should be completed in the office or at home. “Are you working on a deliverable, or are you collaborating on a project with your team? That should drive whether you work on it remotely or in person,” says Bryan Ackermann, Korn Ferry’s managing partner for assessment and succession, leadership and professional development.
Establish one day for the whole team to come into the office.
A hybrid schedule can feel random. “You don’t know who will be at the office until you get there,” Ackermann says. To maximize collaborative time, teams should decide together which day of the week to work in the office. On that day, schedule a team meeting, brainstorming sessions, and other collaborative work. “No one wants to commute into the office two hours a day to do individual work,” says Nathan Blain, Korn Ferry’s global lead for optimizing people costs.
Think about what you’re missing by working remotely.
Plan your days in the office around opportunities for personal development and social activities—both of which can be hard to come by when you’re working from home. Consider the other meetings that might be happening and whether a lunch or happy hour is planned for the day you come into the office, Blain says. Try to schedule time with people in other departments you occasionally work with, he adds.
Use flexibility to your advantage.
Think about upcoming personal commitments on your weekly schedule—such as a doctor’s appointment or an event at your child’s school—that would be easier to manage if you skipped your commute into work, Royal says. If you have a recurring appointment or volunteer obligation, plan your work-from-home days around that event.
Move files online.
If you’re working from both home and office, consider using your laptop for note-taking to minimize the amount of paper you need to carry. “Collaboration documents should live on an internal network, not your personal laptop. If it’s online, then it doesn’t matter where you work,” says Elise Freedman, senior client partner and Workforce Transformation practice leader at Korn Ferry.