As the worst of the pandemic looks to be—mostly—behind us, many businesses are recalling their staff to the office. However, with the success of remote working, not all employees are going back full-time.
Businesses that were previously worried staff wouldn’t be as productive at home have been shown how reliable and productive their staff can be. There is adequate software and hardware options that make working from home productive and efficient.
Which has led many companies to revisit the idea that their staff must be in the office Monday to Friday, 9-to-5.
And so, moving forward many companies are providing their employees with the option of a hybrid work-life.
A hybrid work life is a mix of working in-office and at home. Some companies are doing this out of necessity, and others because they are trying to meet their employees halfway.
After all, many have spent the last 18 months working from home. Routines have been established and work has been getting done just as—if not more—efficiently than when people were in the office.
For example, in some areas where COVID-19 safety is ever-changing conversation, it’s important that staff can—when necessary—continue to work from home. For these companies, they are trialing staff coming back part time.
This allows staff to have the flexibility of working from home for some of the time, and making it easier to adjust being back at the office. As well as being adaptable if the pandemic situation changes.
This arrangement obviously raises questions, such as:
Because when everyone was working from home, none of this was much of a concern. But now that this hybrid space is becoming a reality it because a question of what can employers and employees do to maximize productivity and efficiency in a hybrid work environment.
If you do find yourself participating in the new hybrid work life, here are 10 tips to help you maximize productivity.
When you first get back to your desk at the office, you’ll be looking at with fresh eyes. This is the best time to organize your work space. Sort what you do need and what you don’t need. Be ruthless. Ask yourself questions like: “do I need this?” and “does this add value?”.
And because you’ll have two desks, it’ll be tempting to buy extra furniture, folders, bookcases, and so on. Before doing that, eliminate what you don’t use and have never used over the last year.
Lastly when organizing your work spaces establish a standard process to sort files, tasks, documents, and mail both at your office and at home. This will ensure you can carry out your wherever you are.
Following on from the first point, part of maximizing productivity with hybrid work, is making sure you have the right items where you’ll need them. This will help make your workflow more efficient.
When organizing your office equipment, what will you need to take with you between to the two places and what can stay where?
Project management software and other types of cloud-based solutions make keeping track of tasks, projects, emails and other forms of communication easy and all in one place. The advantage of this is everything is easy to access from a computer either at home or the office.
Think of this as an investment. Having spare phone and laptop chargers in your bag can (and will) make all the difference. If you have a permanent desk at your office, you can store your extra mouse, keyboard, USB hub, and any other necessary accessories at your desk.
If you don’t have a permanent desk, then keeping these items in a “go bag” will make going to and from home and work easier, convenient, and less stressful.
A clean desk is a more positive work environment. And keeping computers, printers and other hardware clean keeps them in better condition, so they need less upkeep and maintenance.
By having both your office and home-office clean and tidy, it will be easier to find everything. Also, it prevents your space from getting so messy and it taking up too much of your time to clean.
If you can go digital, do so. Organizing files digitally rather than using paper is far more efficient. Saved using cloud-storage reduces the chances of files getting lost or left in the wrong office. It also means that you can continue working on tasks irrespective of where you are.
With project management software you can also collaborate on tasks and communicate in real time whether you’re at home or in the office.
Incorporating hybrid work into the workplace requires standard rules and boundaries. Updating manuals and ensuring all staff are aware of what the hybrid work rules are will help everyone understand what’s expected of them and their colleagues.
As a team define the best way to have meetings. If you’ve been using a video platform like Zoom and digital boards, keeping doing so as these will make organizing meeting notes and keeping everyone updated easier.
Once rules and boundaries are established, it’s important that you keep yourself accountable. It’s also important that you respect your coworker’s situation.
For a hybrid workplace to function effectively everyone needs to be well organized and to engage in agile methods of working no matter where they’re working from.
It is a good idea to create a schedule. This can either be based on days, or it can revolve around a current project. Making a schedule sharing it will help others know where and when they can find you. And it will also establish boundaries so people know when you are not available for work.
We all know that working from home can feel isolating. And one of the ways that is alleviated is by staying in touch through team chat tools, and video calls. Even when going from remote to hybrid it’s important to maintain communication.
When you work from home, stay active in the group chat. At the office, where possible don’t use a messenger app. Get up and talk with people. If possible, arrange lunch dates with people to catch up.
Staying connected helps you feel part of team which can help you to stay motivated, which helps maximize productivity.
When working from home, there is the temptation to sleep in because you don’t have to commute. Keeping the same routine, whether you work from home or are going into the office, is a good idea to get your body into a rhythm.
By waking up the same time as if you did have to commute, you can do activities that make you happy or fuel your brain. Whether that’s reading, listening to a podcast, spending time with your family, working on a passion project or exercise, committing to doing this on mornings you don’t have to commute is a much better use of your time.
As far as planning your work week, let people know which days you’re at home and which days you’re in the office. This will help when it comes to organizing meetings and assigning you tasks on projects.
Many project management software tools have calendars, as does Google and Outlook. Keeping a public version of your calendar updated will help everyone stay in contact with you.
For yourself in order to make the hybrid situation work, you need to make sure you have recreational time, and stick to it. Work is important but if it takes over your life then you will burn out.
For many having a hybrid work life is a new concept. And like most new things there will be trial and error. After all, you won’t know if something works until you try it. Your manager may not know exactly how best to manage a hybrid team until their team becomes one.
Some staff will adjust fairly quickly to this situation and others will require time. So, patience is necessary from everyone while teething issues are sorted out.
If are looking for solutions to help you maximize productivity, the right project management software can make all the difference.