Hybrid Work Schedules: How to Choose The Best One

Learn about hybrid work schedules, how it works, and how to manage this modern take on office schedules.

In the past working schedules, we saw people arrive at the office sharp at nine and leave at five. However, the traditional walk down to the office looks different now. After the pandemic, the dynamics of employee preferences have changed about work. Considering employee’s behavior towards work, employers have left with no choice but to offer a flexible working environment. As a result, employers opted for hybrid work schedules to align with the employee’s sentiments. The hybrid schedule offers time and day flexibility for work to the employees. 

So, let’s delve a little deeper to understand hybrid work schedules!

What Are Hybrid Work Schedules?

A hybrid work schedule combines remote model and on-site office work. It allows flexibility to work from home and the office on specific days. The days are decided either by the employer, employees or by mutual consent. The employees or workers are not bound to be in the office all day, nor do they have to work remotely. This balanced working schedule is beneficial for the company as well as for the teams. Besides its flexible feature, it also helps lower operational costs and boost productivity. 

Types of Hybrid Work Schedules

While designing the schedule, employees and employers make informed decisions based on the type of hybrid schedule. They create the schedule in a way that works for both employees and the company. There are several types of hybrid work schedules that come to the surface. When you choose the right type, you need the right tools to execute it professionally. 

Here are some common types of hybrid work schedules.

Hybrid at-Will

Hybrid at will has been the most frequently used schedule during COVID-19. This type has no specific schedule for employees, so it offers flexibility to set their schedule. Most businesses adopt this schedule to allow employees to select their own days of work. For example, one employee chose Wednesday and Friday to come to the office one week and Monday for the next week. The authority is in the employee’s hands to set the targeted time and day. This is undoubtedly the best and most used schedule for hybrid models. One downside of this schedule is that it requires strict policies and proper monitoring. 

Hybrid Split-Week 

Employers split some days in this hybrid work schedule and designate them for specific teams. For example, one team could work for the first half of the week, while other teams would report on the remaining days of the week. This way, the workplace will be less crowded. The number of employees will be different on different days. This schedule needs vigilant planning before execution. The company plans the schedule, so they know which team/employees will work from the office on a given day. 

Hybrid Manager-Scheduling 

This is a less common hybrid schedule. In this type of hybrid schedule, the manager decides the on-site days for the employees. The difference between split-week and manager scheduling is that in split-week the company decides. In manager scheduling, the manager chooses which days teams will come to the office. In this type, the manager schedules days when the team will come to brainstorm, status run and other important sessions. 

Hybrid Mix

As it sounds, it is a mix of all the above hybrid schedules. Many businesses are running on this model. In this schedule, some employees come in at will while some teams set their days, and some are scheduled by the managers. It gives freedom and flexibility to choose any schedule as per your need. 

One Day Remote

Another type of hybrid work scheduling is to work remotely once a week. It means that employees can work from home once a week. This model sounds strict to some, but it works best where teams need frequent face-to-face sessions. This model works well for companies that encourage collaboration and teamwork while on-site. This approach also comes with financial challenges. Workers who follow these schedules require a pay raise for working almost the whole week in the office. So, it is suitable for large corporations and businesses to implement this model. 

On the other hand, it has some benefits for the employees too. Working in this hybrid model comes with incentives and perks for employees. 

Advantages of Hybrid Work Schedules 

With a blend of remote and on-site work schedules, hybrid work gives the best of both worlds. Let’s have a look at some of the advantages that these hybrid schedules have to offer. 

Work-Life Balance

As we discussed earlier, the purpose of this shift is to align with the employee’s sentiments. The new working models have changed the way we used to work before. Hybrid work schedules allow flexibility in scheduling your hours and days of work. It is directly proportional to work-life balance. When you set your jobs as per your requirements or are given flexibility by the employer, it makes you feel good. Allowing employees to work from anywhere on some days of the week helps them offset stress. In the U.S., many workers want to switch to hybrid work models or to fully remote for better work-life balance. 

Attract a Great Pool of Talent 

Not restricted to your region only, hybrid work schedules help attract a great pool of talent from around the globe. When you hire great talent, your company flourishes and offers higher productivity. If employers fail to find the right talent, this work model makes it easy for them to hire among so many choices. 

Increased Employee Satisfaction and Engagement

Freedom, independence and flexibility are the right words to define employee satisfaction. Providing adequate ownership and authority to decide how and when they want to work increases employee satisfaction. Increased employee satisfaction turns into higher engagement. Also, the concept of autonomy should go for the on-site workers too. When they come to the office, they should be valued and appreciated for their efforts. 

Increased Productivity 

The hybrid model empowers employees to work as per their strengths. When given ownership, they perform well, resulting in higher productivity. Teams find it effective by encouraging this model as a positive alternative to the traditional working model. Not every employee works the same way in the office; some need a sound and quiet atmosphere, while others want to collaborate in person. Setting up the choice of work fosters high productivity. No matter what hybrid work schedule you choose, employers must invest in advanced tools to meet the requirement and increase productivity. 

Reduced Operational Costs

Another advantage of the hybrid work model is cost reduction. It helps businesses in reducing operational costs. For example, the cost of office supplies, office space rent, cleaning services and other expenses on the employer’s behalf. For employees, it reduces commute expenses. 

Disadvantages of Hybrid Work Schedules 

Employee Burnout 

Often overlooked, the hybrid model comes with the challenge of employee burnout. For example, working late hours at night causes sleep deprivation. When you are sleep deprived, you are unable to manage tasks efficiently. Moreover, you also experience distractions while working from home, and it’s a constant factor. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to manage work and life simultaneously and leads to burnout. Working from home could be risky as sometimes it gives birth to some stressful circumstances which are hard to control. 

Security Risks

People often ignore taking security issues seriously. Besides having advanced tools for communication and collaboration, employers often underestimate the power of security tools. With relaxed security measures at home, employees usually face data loss and other security-related issues. In this case, employers should act responsibly to provide adequate security tools to employees. Though it comes with a pricey tag, it can save valuable data from being stolen. Some basic measures that employers can work on include encouraging regular updates, backup data and giving proper training. 

How to Plan Hybrid Work Schedules

  • HR must collaborate with the company’s officials when planning a hybrid work schedule. It includes leaders, managers and employees of the company. 
  • Devising a hybrid strategy is complex and should be executed after mutual coordination. The leaders must develop an effective hybrid work policy that benefits employees and the business. It should resonate with the business’s objectives and goals and its culture. 
  • Furthermore, the leaders or HR must decide if the schedule meets business targets and guidelines. Also, determine if the schedule will not impact the business’s financial position. 

How to Implement Hybrid Work Schedules 

Once the planning phase is over, it is the employer’s responsibility to implement the system. The relevant department should ensure that the new system resonates with the company’s culture and positively impacts employee productivity. Here are a few steps that an HR Manager should follow to implement hybrid work schedules.

Make a Clear Policy

The HR must craft a hybrid work schedule policy document. The policy requirements and directions should be clear and transparent. As in this work model, employees feel more relaxed and often fail to meet the company’s work requirements. The behavior towards work also changes among the employees. So, a transparent and comprehensive policy draft should address the loopholes and maintain the work ethics. 

Communicate New Policies to the Employees

Once the policy is crafted, it’s time to communicate and announce it to the workforce. The HR should announce the new work model policy with the help of email, newsletter or other notifications. Once the schedule is communicated, employees are bound to follow it.

Conduct Regular Follow Ups

Keep the workforce updated with the new policies and other updates. For example, if the schedule is changed for one team and new tools are introduced. Regular communication with the team keeps the workflow smooth and streamlined. 

Keep Track of the Schedules

Implementing a policy is not enough, the HR must ensure the smooth integration of the new system. The department must track if the new system is impacting the employees. For this purpose, the employer must conduct surveys. The frequency of conducting surveys varies as per the requirements. Surveys can be conducted weekly, bi-monthly or even quarterly. The feedback from the survey will determine if employees are adopting the new system well. If not, they must address the issues with the management. 

Hybrid Workplace Tools 

When the policy is set up, employees need certain tools to support this system. So, employers must offer employees advanced tools to streamline the workflow. Some tools that are required for the hybrid model are:

Employee Scheduling Calendar

To keep the new scheduling system flawless, employers must provide employees with scheduling calendars. It will help them to know their schedules. This tool will allow employees to track who is on-site, schedule their on-site days and more.

Digital Communication Tools

Digital communication tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams are essential for both hybrid and on-site workers. Using these tools help teams communicate effectively. No matter how far areas you are working from, these tools keep you connected. It helps employees share files, make new announcements and also share achievements. 

Virtual Collaboration Tools

Whether employees work from a coffee shop or home, these tools keep them connected with the work. Meetings are essential to any business, and virtual meeting tools help in one-to-one online sessions. After the pandemic, the meeting dynamics have changed. Now, most of the meetings are scheduled online through collaboration and meeting tools. That’s why providing high-quality tools is critical for seamless work operations. 

Pro Tips to Roll Out New Tools to the Workforce

  • Create a comprehensive plan about how to roll out new technology to the employees. Make a step-by-step guide allowing employees to adapt to the new tools effectively. 
  • Training is also helpful in understanding and installing new software. Schedule the sessions in different timings for employees with different time zones. 
  • Surveys about the experience of new tools. Come up with Q&A sessions with employees. This session also helps new hires to ask questions comfortably. Learning and using new tools could be tricky, so offer open-ended communication. 
  • Sometimes overcommunication works best to make employees understand the tool in-depth. For example, sending tutorials and how to use new updates emails are helpful for employees. This way of communication makes both parties connected. Also, sending reminders and tips to the employees will help them to keep up with the pace. 
  • The last step to rolling out new tools successfully is to verify if the tools are working well. Both employer and employee use these tools everyday for collaboration. So, it is important to regularly keep a check on the tools. 

Choose the Right Hybrid Work Schedule 

As more businesses are shifting to a hybrid work model, defining hybrid work schedules will be helpful. Setting-up a schedule requires a team effort to make it successful. Implementing schedules might be difficult at first, but it’s doable. To successfully implement the schedules, keep an eye on employees’ preferences and encourage their opinions. Employers must ensure to provide adequate tools to the employees. The tools must accommodate the employee’s requirements and the company’s guidelines. But, remember it takes more than tools to make the hybrid schedule a success. It takes transparent policies, and concrete planning. So, if you want the best hybrid model, choose the right schedule for your workforce.

Featured Image: HubStar

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