4 Tips to Thrive in a Hybrid Work Setup
Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash
This fall was supposed to be the so-called “Great Office Return,” but the rise of the Delta variant delayed or, in some cases, entirely upended those plans. That means that, as the foundation or development team, you’re likely continuing to work in a hybrid work environment—where you spend some time working in an office and some time working from home.
At this point, all-remote or all in-person-work arrangements are easy to navigate. However, the hybrid model is tricky and comes with a unique set of challenges. Realistically, no day will be identical for most people, but there are a few tips to make the hybrid model work well for you.
1. Customization is key.
Don’t go into hybrid work expecting that the same schedule works for every person on your team. For example, some parents of young children might be ready to go back into the office because no one can bother them there, while others can’t imagine not having the remote flexibility. Some people find they’re less stressed and more productive working at home.
We’ve come a long way in the past year, and work might no longer mean going into the office from 9 to 5. Instead, consider determining team common hours throughout the day where everyone is reachable no matter where they are. The specific hours you choose don't matter. All that matters is that the hours you choose work for your team and the business.
2. Be intentional when connecting with colleagues.
Though it might not seem like it, you can bring those quick chats in the hallway to a hybrid environment. Many messaging apps allow people to update their status, online and available, busy, or away. For example, if you need a quick brainstorming session, you can look for someone on your team whose status is "available" and ask if they have five minutes to chat. Often, people try to replace these quick chats with scheduled meetings, resulting meeting-filled days when all they needed was a few minutes of their colleagues' time here and there.
The status feature can be just as helpful when you’re deep into a project and don’t want to be disturbed. You can think of a stop sign icon in Slack or a red circle in Teams as the digital equivalent of headphones on, door shut—and it may even be more effective. Think about what you need to communicate and choose the right tool for it.
3. Make sure your computer set-up works in both places.
You might be the kind of person that needs a standing desk, or you can’t work without a second monitor. Make sure that you have whatever equipment you need to be productive in both spaces. You don’t want to show up to the office and realize you’re missing the HDMI cable you need to use your favorite monitor. By making your two spaces as similar as possible, you will minimize the distractions and delays that slow you down when trying to get your work done.
Tech equipment does cost money, but by not having everyone in the office every day, the organization is likely saving money in areas like commuting expenses. Check with your manager to see if they can allocate extra funds for additional equipment to make the hybrid work model effective.
4. Build trust by getting to know your colleagues.
Over the past year, many of us got to know our coworkers better in unusual circumstances. We saw each other's pets, significant others, children, and homes. These glimpses into coworkers' lives outside of work brought healthy conversations about what people are trying to balance with their jobs, and we should try to hold onto that when returning to the office.
Connecting with your coworkers beyond deliverables and deadlines can create a sense of camaraderie and trust that shows in your work. Try grabbing a virtual coffee with someone you don't interact with often. Or make the most of in-person days when you do have them. If your team members feel like they trust you and you trust them, it brings confidence that the work will get done and that you can rely on each other whether you're in the office or not.
Finding the right hybrid model looks different for every organization, but hopefully these tips make the transition a little smoother. If you want to learn more about adjusting to the hybrid work model, check out this post.