For a while, it looked like remote work was the future, until companies started realising that perhaps there could be a way to get the best of both worlds with hybrid work policies. These new working models provide the flexibility of remote work with the community-building benefits of a shared office space.
A recent survey found 75% of workers believe that ‘hybrid work’ will become standard in their companies in less than three years, while 66% of business leaders are preparing to redesign office spaces to better accommodate hybrid work environments.
As more and more companies embrace a hybrid working model, employees are also having to adapt. This change period can come with some challenges as everyone learns to adjust to the new working style.
If you’re a new recruit or if your team has recently transitioned to hybrid working, how do you make sure you don’t just survive, but instead, thrive?
Let us walk you through the 5 best ways to adapt to hybrid working as a new employee.
What are the challenges of hybrid working?
If you’ve just started in a hybrid working environment, it’s normal to come across initial hiccups in the adjustment period. And, being honest, hybrid working isn’t always smooth sailing, there are known challenges associated with the new work model.
For instance, new employees aren’t able to access the same in-person training and mentorship that older team members experienced before a hybrid model was introduced. They also aren’t able to get to know fellow team members as quickly, so it can be hard to develop strong working relationships if employees aren’t physically together as often.
Hybrid work can also lead to some employees moving up the career ladder faster because they choose to be in the office more regularly. So, through mere presenteeism, they might receive opportunities and recognition over other employees even if not deserved.
Finally, hybrid workers can find themselves burning out. It’s been well documented that if left unchecked, remote workers end up working more hours when at home vs when they are in the office for fear of not looking productive. A recent study revealed that up to 86% of remote employees have experienced high levels of exhaustion due to working more hours.
Fortunately, these challenges can be avoided and you’ll see that a hybrid working model can be a truly beneficial work style for employees and companies as a whole.
How To Adapt To A Hybrid Working Environment
If you want to thrive in your new hybrid work setting, then from the outset, it’s your responsibility as an employee to establish and set firm boundaries for yourself.
For example, on days when you are working from home, it’s not realistic to be sitting at your desk for eight straight hours, and your employer should not expect that either. Don’t put that pressure on yourself.
Be sure to take short, regular breaks throughout the day, just as you would in an office. Get up to make a cup of tea or let the dog out for a few minutes, get away from your desk and reset your mind.
Make sure you discuss your working hours with your manager and let your team members know them as well. Make your start and end times to your day clear and discuss your availability around evenings and weekends. For help with keeping on top of everyone’s working hours, tools like DuoMe can be incredibly useful.
As well as establishing working boundaries, you also need to create a dedicated work area in your home. Somewhere clearly defined as a workstation that you can step away from or tidy away at the end of the working day, giving your mind that physical distinction.
Communication, Communication, Communication
Clear communication is key if you want to collaborate effectively with your team and adapt quickly to a hybrid working environment.
Establish clear objectives and maintain open channels for communication at all times. This will encourage open dialogue. This is particularly important when working in a hybrid working environment. Also try to emphasize to all team members that you are always available to help, no matter the problem.
During meetings with team members, whether they are video calls or in-person, try to actively listen and remember that everyone has different communication styles. Real listening shows respect and can also help you see things from a different perspective, possibly providing fresh solutions to issues.
And never forget - if you need help, ask.
Your manager and team members are there to help, even if you’re sitting at home alone that day!
When your team members are on different hybrid work schedules, it can be easy for hybrid work scheduling issues to arise. Missed memos or multiple communication channels can lead to no shows at meetings, purely by accident.
The clue is in the name but flexible working models do require a level of flexibility from participants. If your company hasn’t yet made use of scheduling software to help with the transition to hybrid working then it’s vital to keep a laid back attitude to avoid going crazy!
If you happen to miss a meeting or find yourself double booked, try and follow up with another team member to find out what you missed and if necessary, reschedule the meeting.
Scheduling tools like DuoMe are at the forefront of making the transition to hybrid working environments a smooth and pain free process. DuoMe has built a dedicated hybrid work scheduling system that changes when people change their minds. You can easily figure out the best days to go into the office to maximise collaboration with minimal effort.
At the end of the day, work is always going to be there. Unless you happen to work in the Emergency Room, nothing in the workplace is a life or death situation, as such, your stress levels can probably be taken down a level or two.
There are numerous studies that have shown that employees who remain calm are able to think more logically, helping them make the right decisions.
If you naturally struggle with stress and workplace anxiety, then engaging in mindfulness or meditation for a few minutes at a time throughout the workday could do wonders for your state of mind.
Work Life Balance
Remote workers cite better work-life balance as the top reason they work remotely, but if you don’t make it a priority then it can be easy to let your own balance suffer and end up becoming consumed by your work.
Try to switch off after working hours, and focus your mind on leisure time – whether that’s a hobby, spending time with family and friends, going to the gym, or just watching your favourite series. Whatever it is you like to do in your free time, make sure you do enough of it to come back to work each week feeling refreshed and recharged.
Positives Of Hybrid Work For Employees
Once you’ve successfully adapted to your new hybrid working environment, you’ll be free to reap the positives of hybrid working.
Increased work-life balance, once boundaries are established and maintained, you’ll be free to spend more time doing what you love with the people that you love. Once the hybrid work model has been well established, you might find your employer more open to other ideas such as reducing your working hours.
And after figuring out how to thrive in a hybrid work model, you can also expect to experience increased productivity. Thanks to the increase in flexibility you’ll be able to get your work done when and where it suits you, resulting in more efficient and productive results.
Adapting to change is always going to be a learning curve. As long as you approach your new hybrid working environment with an open mind then after a short adjustment period, you’ll be wondering how you ever worked in a traditional workplace.
What Is DuoMe?
DuoMe is a flexible work planning platform to help hybrid and remote teams collaborate with ease. Letting you plan the best days to be in the office based on where, when, and what other people are working on.
The beauty of DuoMe's technology is that it builds the ability to change your mind, allowing people to be flexibly human within the scope of today's increasingly-complicated hybrid work schedules.
Graham Joyce is co-founder of DuoMe, a flexible working advocate and a frequent panellist/commentator on the issues of flexibility or hybrid working.