A lot of employers are asking employees to go back into the office, but what does a post-pandemic workplace look like? Over the last 2 years, a lot of people have become comfortable with working from home and having that extra time to do whatever they need. Working in an office full-time almost seems outdated and unnecessary to some employers and the hybrid working space is more popular than ever.
But what is hybrid working and how can you adapt to make it work for you? This guide discusses what hybrid working is, what it can do for your working life and how to tailor it to you and your needs. This way of working feels relatively new, but in time, will become that new normal everyone is always talking about.
Hybrid working is meant to be a more flexible approach to work. It’s all about allowing employees to work in their best way possible to ensure productivity. Allowing employees to work when and where they need is a positive way of altering working life to ensure they are happy, healthy, and productive whilst at work.
Hybrid working can mean different things for different people. This may include altering between a physical employee workspace, like an office and working from home. Working from home during a pandemic altered some people’s perception of home working and how it can actually help them in the long run.
However, hybrid working is more than just where you work. But the time in which you would prefer to work and feel most productive. We all know that some people do not function as well as they could in the morning and others love to get to bed early. Well, what if you could alter your workday to ensure you are working when most productive? Flexible working is usually considered for people with other commitments, like family commitments or childcare. But introducing it as the ‘new normal’ can allow people to work like this for the foreseeable future.
There are some people that will always prefer the traditional 9-5 workday in an office / workspace environment. And the beauty is, if they want it, it’s there and available to them. Hybrid working is all about using it to your advantage and choosing what is best for you. This article will continue to explain why this new way of working is a positive change and how you can learn to use it to the best of your advantage.
When either you or your employer has decided that hybrid working is the new way you will be working, it’s a good idea to come up with a plan. A plan should be tailored to you, how you work best and where you get your best work done. Hybrid working should be accessible for everyone and is about being able to work when and where you feel most comfortable to do your job and do it to the best of your ability.
Some companies have decided on behalf of their employees that hybrid working is the best way forward. Others may have decided that after being able to spend some time at home and do their work or see others having the opportunity to work form home, they have decided that it would be something that could benefit their working life as well.
Whichever reason you have for hybrid working, it’s a good idea to have an idea for when you want to work in the office and when you would prefer to work from home. Having a schedule for some people can be really important but for others, you may want to have a more ad hoc approach. It’s important that you have a discussion with your line manager or employer to gain an understanding of what they expect from you. However, the point in hybrid working is to be able to work when you want and to make the most of the workspaces that you have available to you.
Maybe try coming in for 2 days a week and see how you feel, you can always change the days you work from home or increase your time in the workplace if you feel it doesn’t work 100% for you.
It’s important to always remember that no plan is going to be permanent. You can change your mind or alter your plans when needed to fit your schedule or way of working. Nothing is done without trial and error, so don’t be afraid to go back on your word and make some changes if you feel like you could be utilising your time better.
Things change and happen in life that means we have to put things ahead of work. Hybrid working helps us to work around these problems, stay at home or work somewhere remotely to ensure we can, in theory, be in two places at once.
Things that allow us to step out of our comfort zone and try something new will never go perfectly straight away. There will be teething issues that need to be resolved, challenges that you will need to overcome, and these things will not only make you better at your job, but once you have found something that really does work for you, can allow you to have the work-life balance that you really desire.
Communication is the key to everything.
If you are ever in doubt or simply don’t think something is working, make sure you are telling the people you work with. You don’t have to go direct to your line manager., Why not have a chat with your colleague and see if everything is working for them. It might be a problem that multiple people are experiencing. Or if they seem happy with the way their work-life balance is going, then ask about what they do to achieve this. There is no shame in asking. Your colleagues are there for working support and I’m sure they’ll be happy to help with answering a few questions.
However, if you do feel like anything is ever out of your control, then it might be time to talk to someone with higher authority. You might feel like having more time working remotely would work in your favour or even the opposite. Some people just work best in an office environment and that comes from being used to a certain working situation.
Without communicating your concerns, nothing will ever be fixed. So, ensure you are talking to people, raising your issues and if something doesn’t work, try it a new way. With new things comes trial and error, so don’t feel disheartened.
Living situations can change all the time as well. If it’s a school holiday and you need to adjust to be able to watch your children or if you aren’t feeling well enough to work in an office and would feel more comfortable at home. These things can be looked at and changes should be considered by your employer to help you feel as comfortable as possible when working.
The most important aspect of hybrid working is the idea that you are able to do your best work in an environment that works best for you. If you find that something is no longer working for you, change it.
Some employers may have expectations of you and would like you to be in a set number of days or a certain number of hours a week. Although they may have an idea of what they want, ultimately, as I have said before, the choice is yours.
Do you work better in silence? Or would you rather save those couple hours’ worth of commuting to be able spend the extra time with your family. In my case, despite enjoying working in a place with my colleagues, I do prefer sitting in silence and hearing nothing but my keyboard typing away. If this is how you constantly feel, then it might be worth even asking for full-time remote working.
It is important to remember that remote working doesn’t refer to just working from home. Theoretically, you could travel to a different country if you really wanted. Spend the day working and the afternoons away from work exploring. It’s a world of possibilities and you never really know where it may take you unless you try.
As you probably know from experience, there can’t be success without having encountered failure at least one point in your career. Hybrid working, although having been a working concept for longer than many of us have known, is still relatively new to the mainstream working world. This means that things need to be tried and tested in order to actually have a long-term success rate.
As we have previously discussed in this article, nothing is the same for everyone and we all do have different and specific ways that we prefer to work. The office environment has created a place to work that doesn’t allow many people to actually take hold of their own work and work in a way that suits them. Usually, it’s a place that everyone comes into at the same time, leaves at 5pm and sits at a desk that looks the same as everyone else’s. When you really think about it, why did anyone ever suggest that we’re all in the same boat?
People, employers, and us as individuals have finally started to accept that we are all different. After many years of preaching this, we are finally searching for a new way of working outside of the normal 9-5 office job.
It gives people from different backgrounds a better chance at the jobs they want, people with different responsibilities the chance to juggle this and work when they need and creates a more inclusive way of working. Not everyone wants to nor has the opportunity to, work in an office and do the normal 9-5 hours that are usually expected of you.
Trail and error allows you to find a way of working that is right for you. Test out different things and make work, work for you. We just have to be sensible with our expectations.
For some people, a routine is very important. It can make or break their day and for me, it is a big part of my job and how I get things done. Most people like to spend time setting up a routine, so it feels easier when it comes to it. You know what is coming next and it can help your working day feel more natural. This isn’t to say that it will always go to plan. Things change, tasks get in the way and sometimes it can feel more like a disarray than a good routine.
However, setting up a routine for hybrid working really can help set you up for success. Having set days of going into the office means you are able to know what you are doing and where you are working. You can of course (if your employer works on an ad-hoc basis) go into the office or workplace whenever you see fit, but ultimately, a good routine can help you feel more comfortable about the change.
However, the good thing about a routine, is that you can change it. It does take time and patience to get into a good routine, but they aren’t permanent. So, if you feel like a change is necessary, don’t be afraid to make the change you need to succeed.
Like most things, there are pros and cons to hybrid working. Some will have more negatives than others, but ultimately, it’s all about utilising your resources and making sure you use what you are given to your full advantage. We all do it. We want to see what we can get out of it and make the most of what our workplace is offering us.
There are obvious perks to hybrid working like:
- No commute for some days of the week
- The opportunity to spend more time with loved ones (because of the lack of a commute)
- A later wake up time (I know I enjoy this perk!)
- Better well-being
- A healthy work-life balance
The list can go on and I’m sure that for some people, they have experiences one or more of the many benefits to working from home or remotely.
However, with positives always come negatives and some of these may be:
- Can be difficult to separate work and home life
- May experience a lag in communication with colleagues
- Lack of non-work-related conversation
- Maybe even your energy bill!
No matter what side of the argument you are on, there can be ways around these problems. It’s important to use all the resources that are available to you and ensure that your employer is giving you everything you need to be able to do your job. This means having them provide a good workspace for you at home. This can be because of health and safety reasons. You need to have somewhere that you can work safely and well, which means a desk, an appropriate chair, and a good screen. So, ensure you are provided with these things before working remotely.
There are other things that your employer should provide to you. So, make sure you are making the most of these things and getting everything you should be! Don’t let anything slip through the net.
Ultimately, hybrid working is designed to have everyone in mind. There are ways in which you can tailor your experience to fit you and the way you prefer to work, so all you have to do is ask. Try things, test different ways of working, make sure you are given the support you need and find the new way of working, that works best for you.