All signs point to the fact that hybrid work is here to stay. That’s because employers finally acknowledge that employees desire the best of both worlds and aren’t willing to compromise. According to the 2021 Work Trend Index, over 70% of workers want flexible remote work options to continue, while over 65% crave more in-person time with their teammates. As a result, 66% of business leaders are preparing to redesign office spaces to better accommodate hybrid work environments.
At the same time, there are challenges with a hybrid work model. According to Tanya Dalton, author of The Joy of Missing Out, “Most people are finding the hybrid model to be twice as stressful because it continues to blur the lines between work and home,” she says. “We can end up doing more and working more hours for the company than we previously did when we went into the office every day.” As a result, employees need to learn how to set and maintain clear boundaries. If you find yourself exhausted and overwhelmed, here are five tips to thrive in a hybrid work environment.
Establish a consistent hybrid work schedule
In a hybrid workplace, you need to think of ways to maximize your performance. First, think about what time of day you are at your best. For example, maybe you are most productive early in the morning or late at night. Then determine what schedule works for you and stick to it. Also, when splitting your time between home and the office, create routines for each of these days. Determining which tasks are best accomplished at home and which are done best at the office is essential if you want to thrive in a hybrid work setting.
Create healthy boundaries
If you are working from home, it is not realistic to expect that you will be sitting at your desk for eight straight hours. Instead, take regular breaks throughout the day. If you control your work hours at home, they don’t have to mirror those you keep in the office. Set a regular start and end time to your day and discuss boundaries around evenings and weekends with your manager. Clearly define what constitutes an “emergency” versus something that can wait until the next business day. Establishing agreements like these will make you more productive and prevent you from burning out.
Focus on outcomes
Now that many of us are working remotely, it’s time to let go of the idea that work is measured in hours. Instead, focus on outcomes. Promote transparency around how people use their time and flexibility in how work gets done. That way, you reinforce that team member participation is judged by contribution rather than location.
Embrace asynchronous communication
In the new world of hybrid work, we need to rethink how we communicate with our teams. That means making a conscious shift to relying more on asynchronous communication. Unlike synchronous communication like Zoom, in-person meetings or a phone call, asynchronous communication doesn’t happen in real-time or require an immediate response. Instead, this format allows employees to do deep work in a team setting. One example of an asynchronous messaging platform is Twist, although you can use Slack in the same way. Ultimately, asynchronous communication is better for socializing, one-to-one meetings and more complex discussions. But if there’s a truly urgent matter, then synchronous communication may still be necessary.
Invest in hybrid work team building
Team building is even more important in a hybrid work model, where it’s not always possible to stop by someone’s desk. That’s why it’s critical to encourage employees to collaborate. According to Gartner’s research, teams who collaborate intentionally are almost three times more likely to achieve high team innovation than teams that do not use an intentional approach. One way to do this is using the Donut Slack integration to facilitate virtual coffee meetups, peer learning or remote team lunches. Another idea is to use break-out rooms once a virtual meeting ends to encourage conversation. Of course, scheduling team-building activities outside of work is always a good idea.
Navigating the new world of hybrid work will not be easy. But with transparency and the right mindset, you will be able to thrive rather than just survive.