A manager’s guide for creating a hybrid work schedule
Hybrid working has well and truly moved into our working lives. It’s the ‘new normal’ for businesses across the world and, although many were already dipping their toes in to the hybrid water, the pandemic has been the hand that has pushed the rest of us in.
As with anything new, there are things that need to be in place in order for hybrid working to work well. One being the Hybrid Work Schedule.
This is the model you will use to make hybrid happen.
In simple terms, a hybrid work schedule is a working model that blends office working and remote working. It is the third point of the triangle with office-based and remote working. And it’s what you need to have in place to be able to bring hybrid working successfully into your business.
Being a blend by its nature, it makes sense that there isn’t just one hybrid working schedule, there are many. We’ve summarised these for you in our post Everything you need to know about hybrid work schedules.
But how do you create a hybrid work schedule?
It may seem an obvious one but all roads lead to this burning question – which hybrid working schedule is the right one for you and your organisation?
This in itself is not a step to creating the schedule, it is the overarching goal. All organisations are unique and the right hybrid work schedule for one will not be right for another. The process to get there is a thorough one but need not be complicated. We’ve set out below some steps and considerations for you to ponder, to find your way to creating your own schedule.
We love a good structure at Team Today, and in fact we built our product based upon a structure of four pillars (more about that here). So we thought it would be a good start if we suggest four pillars to you of how you might structure your plan.
Pillar One: People
Everything starts with your people. The biggest effect of a hybrid working schedule will be felt by your teams. After all, they (and you) are going to be working to the schedule, so it’s imperative you start by talking to and listening to your staff.
What do they want? How do they work best? What tasks individually do they have in their roles that lend themselves to office-based time and which are more suited to remote working? Is there a time split or is it fairly even? These are questions you need to be asking, at an individual level but also considering how they affect the wider teams.
What is important to your staff? What do they value about coming to work? What are their preferences for their working environment? Do they have challenges in their working environment? And how would a hybrid working schedule influence or help any of these? In consulting your teams, think about and ask about the wider culture of your company and your staff wellbeing needs.
To create a holistic, rounded and employee-centred schedule, you need to start on the shop floor with your people.
Pillar Two: Purpose
Why are you here? What does your organisation exist to do or to provide? And how would that fit into a hybrid working schedule?
This will link closely with the feedback from your people, but it’s crucial you consider a schedule that will work for your company. Any working model should enable work to happen effectively and efficiently. Whatever service or product you offer, this should be delivered without interruption, as it would in the traditional office-only model.
There are industries that will find hybrid working more challenging to adopt than others, but that doesn’t mean its impossible. With the variety of schedules available, organisations can consider a number of ways to meet the challenges, including splitting teams, whereby certain teams whose work precludes them from working remotely, are office-based only; or splitting teams to work a hybrid week with different shift and time patterns.
A company wide task and time audit will inform you of the needs of the business when you’re looking for the most suitable schedule.
Pillar Three: Research
Research is something that sometimes gets overlooked when companies are forming action plans, it isn’t as meaty or measurable than other parts, but it still has its place.
Once you’ve got your staff feedback and you’ve analysed the company needs, take a step back and look around. What are your peer organisations doing? Where do you find examples of successful hybrid working schedules and what makes them successful? Where do you see examples that are working not so well? Ask others. Cast your eye around and get a feel for how this is working elsewhere. If you only look within your business, you might miss something brilliant somewhere else.
Read up on the latest data on hybrid working, follow business news, and find out about resources and tools available (like us, for example).
Knowledge is key here.
Pillar Four: The what and the how
Or if you like – Preparation.
So, you’ve got your feedback, you’ve done your research, you are wonderfully diligent. Now, you need to decide what is the best schedule for your organisation and how you’re going to deliver it.
Hopefully, by this point you’re fully versed on all things hybrid working and you are able to see what kind of structure will work. Perhaps a fixed structure, maybe staggered or using a model such as 3:2(days in the office v days at home), or maybe your organisation needs a more flexible solution, led by the needs of the employees and focusing on a mixed blend of office and remote.
Your hybrid schedule needs to be clearly communicated within your organisation, so that everybody understands what’s expected and what their part is, but also what it will do for them, how it will help them in their roles, and how it will help to achieve the company’s mission.
Preparation will involve any number of things depending on your company, but broadly, you should have policies and procedures in place to fit with hybrid working now, and not simply office. This includes health and safety, employment rights, IT, data protection, accessibility, and wellbeing at work.
You need to consider technology and equipment requirements, to enable a smooth transition between office and home and no loss of IT security or standard of service. You might consider tools such as Office 365, Google Workspace, Slack, or Microsoft Teams for your communication needs. We’ve created Team Today to integrate with Outlook, Google and Teams, so that you can manage your schedule easily from within it.
Think about how you conduct daily business activities such as meetings and whether you will utilise video conferencing options. Will you rely on email as a key communication method or use software to chat online as a team? Will there be activities and events that are exclusively office-only? This is all ‘the how’.
And keep in mind your leaders. Managers should be supported to manage teams in this new way of working, and any training needed should be invested in. And it’s a good idea not to have leadership permanently based only in the office as this can lead to remote workers feeling excluded.
So now you’re on your way
But it doesn’t stop there. This is a living, breathing new working model for you. Build in reviews to see how it’s all going. You should review how its working, get feedback from your staff, identify any changes or tweaks that should be made, and perhaps six months to a year after you first introduce it, consider if it remains the right schedule for the business. Hybrid work schedules can and should evolve to keep up with the business needs and there’s nothing wrong with making changes.
In a nutshell
Here’s our quick rundown of the steps you can take to create your schedule.
- Consult your people
- Consider the company purpose & carry out a task and time audit
- Research peer organisations and the latest hybrid working data
- Choose your hybrid working schedule
- Communicate with all team members and managers
- Create the infrastructure to support your new schedule
- Provide implementation support to all team members and managers
- Build in regular reviews and make any changes as required
Hopefully this will set you on your way to creating a brilliant, blended hybrid working schedule for your organisation. And don’t forget, we have resources and tips and advice on our blog for whenever you need it.