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The Future of Work is Hybrid

The global pandemic has fundamentally redrawn work policies. And today, most companies are offering employees the flexibility to work from both their homes and the office.

For example, Apple Inc. chose an indefinite three specific in-office working days with the rest at a remote location. Meta, Amazon, and Microsoft are also adopting similar hybrid work models.

A natural byproduct of mixing traditional office and remote work is the need to create a hybrid work schedule that determines when employees or entire teams work in the office and when they work remotely.

In this article, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about hybrid work schedules, including:

  • How the right schedule can improve organizational performance.
  • 4 different types of hybrid work schedules you can try.

Let’s get started.

How the Right Hybrid Schedule Can Improve Organization Performance and Employee Wellbeing

When structured and implemented correctly, hybrid work schedules have the potential to improve performance and employee wellbeing.

Consider the following upsides:

Increased Productivity

By design, hybrid schedules are more flexible than traditional 9 to 5, full-time office schedules. This flexibility can empower employees to choose their office days, depending on the tasks they need to get done, resulting in enhanced productivity.

This is especially true if you organize your office space in areas that accommodate different work needs, i.e., office neighborhoods. Office neighborhoods give people the chance to work in various spaces, depending on the type of task they need to get done.

For some employees, a quiet space built for job duties that require intense concentration might a great choice on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. However, they might have meetings or brainstorming sessions on Wednesdays and Fridays, meaning a more collaborative space will likely be a better fit. Again, a flexible hybrid work schedule combined with the proper office neighborhoods lets employees make that choice, depending on their needs.

Productivity is also a crucial key performance indicator for hybrid work.

Increased Employee Satisfaction and Wellbeing

Giving employees the autonomy to choose where, how, and when they work can increase their satisfaction and wellbeing.

In most cases, there still have to be some boundaries, but the more flexible and personalized your schedule, the more chances you have to achieve a great work-life balance. And obviously, employees appreciate it when they feel trusted to perform their tasks without a supervisor timing their every move.

On that note, LinkedIn’s research suggests that employees are twice as likely to recommend working for a company that satisfies their need for time and location flexibility.

Improved Work Relationships and Collaboration

Much of the talk surrounding remote and hybrid work has been focused on the detrimental effects of having too many virtual meetings (e.g., Zoom fatigue or burnout) and less time for physical interactions.

However, a well-designed hybrid workplace and schedule can actually benefit company culture and collaboration.

One way to achieve this is to implement a good desk booking solution, so employees can reserve a desk and see who else will be in the office. Coupled with the freedom to create their own hybrid schedule, this process promotes collaboration and teamwork, as team members can decide when to facetime.

In-person collaboration is actually a huge factor when it comes to choosing where to work. For example, this Gallup study found that “38% of fully remote workers would prefer hybrid work. In other words, although fully remote employees enjoy their flexibility, four in 10 would give up some of that time at home to have in-person office experiences.

Failed collaboration is a hybrid work mistake you want to avoid.

4 Different Types of Hybrid Work Schedules (& How to Choose One)

Creating and managing a hybrid schedule that fits your organization can be tricky despite all the benefits. That’s why it’s best to first decide on a type of schedule and then move on to the specifics.

Here are 4 common types of hybrid schedules, starting with the least flexible ones — cohort and staggered schedules.

Cohort Schedules

You can create a cohort schedule by assigning specific employees to work in the office on certain days of the week. Alternatively, you can schedule teams or groups of employees to work onsite during a set period (e.g., the first 2 weeks of each month).

For example, a finance department can be scheduled to be in the office on Mondays and Wednesdays or the first and third week of the month, while the Marketing department takes Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays or the second and last week of the month.

Pros of cohort schedules:

  • High predictability as everyone knows who will be onsite when.
  • Low time investment because the same team works the same workdays or workweeks, which requires minimal time management.
  • Equal flexibility for all team members.

Cons of cohort schedules:

  • Low flexibility overall, since the office days may not align with individual needs.
  • Potential issues with cross-team collaboration, if teams come in on different days or weeks.

Overall, cohort schedules are best for teams or departments that need in-person work or collaboration. They are also ideal for companies who require team members to be in the office at a given time, without the need for them to engage with other departments.

Staggered Hybrid Schedules

These schedules are almost similar to cohort schedules but are a little more rigid. With a staggered schedule, employees must come and leave the office at a set time to prevent congestion and ensure that only a certain number of people are onsite at a time.

Usually, the relevant departments define the schedule for their employees. These types of schedules are suitable for shift-driven work, such as in warehouses or medical facilities.

For example, the facility management department may be set to arrive on Monday and Thursday at 8 am and depart at 3 pm, while the warehouse department arrives on Wednesday and Friday at 9 am and leave at 5 pm.

Pros of staggered hybrid schedules:

  • Easy to predict how many individuals will be in the office at a given time (provided you have good hybrid work software in place).
  • Similar flexibility for all team members.

Cons of staggered hybrid schedules:

  • Low flexibility for employees whose schedules don’t match their needs.
  • Low collaboration chances as there might be a limited window for interaction during shifts.
  • Harder to manage than cohort schedules, since you must plan down to the hour, instead of just assigning days or weeks to specific teams.

Work Schedules Set by Managers

These schedules are typically created by direct managers and their direct reports coming up with a solution that works for everyone.

For example, managers can talk to their hybrid team and decide which days everyone should be in the office for team meetings or other office work. Alternatively, managers can work with each team member to create an individual schedule for them.

This model can be accompanied by a larger, company-wide policy that sets a baseline to be in the office. For instance, the company policy might say that everyone should be in the office at least 2 days a week. From there, employees and their managers can decide which days to choose.

Pros of manager-set hybrid schedules:

  • A lot of opportunities to promote in-person collaboration.
  • Equal flexibility for everyone, provided the same rules go for all team members.
  • More chances for tailoring work schedules to personal needs.

Cons of manager-set hybrid schedules:

  • Potentially low predictability if employees have to wait for approval every time they want to work away from the office.
  • Harder for managers to organize since they have to balance company and employee requirements.

DIY Employee Schedules

This model trusts employees to set their own hybrid work schedules without a manager’s oversight.

This is the true definition of a flexible work arrangement, especially if there’s no set baseline to come to the office on certain days per week. Employees can decide when to be in the office and choose remote days, based on their needs.

These flexible schedules can also enable employees to come to and leave the office later than they typically could, so they can avoid rush hour traffic or drive their kids to school, for example.

DIY employee schedules pros:

  • High flexibility and personalization since employees have complete control over their time.
  • Great opportunities for individuals to predict and organize their work.

DIY employee schedules cons:

  • High competition for access to the workplace due to unpredictable employee schedules. For instance, some days may be much more crowded than others.

Make Hybrid Work Easy With OfficeRnD Hybrid

As you can see there are lots of ways to customize hybrid schedules. And with the pandemic slowing down and lockdowns easing up, you can experiment and see which ones work for your company.

If you want to simplify hybrid work, check out OfficeRnD Hybrid — our hybrid work software that helps you bring people together in vibrant, collaborative, and flexible workspaces. Here are a few of the things you can do with OfficeRnD Hybrid:

  • Build an interactive floorplan of your hybrid office, where everyone can see who’s in the office in real-time and who’s reserved a desk during the week.
  • Let employees book desks and meeting rooms on any device via a web portal or mobile app, or directly through Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Google Calendar, or Slack. Employees can also make recurring bookings to build work patterns, like reserving a desk every Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Analyze your space utilization and understand how your teams work with the help of Advanced Workplace Analytics.

You can try OfficeRnD Hybrid for free with a 14-day trial (no credit card required).

Lastly, if you want a more detailed presentation of OfficeRnD Hybrid that’s tailored to your business, book a demo with our team.

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