Hybrid work is here to stay. That mix of remote and home-working requires another rewrite to the professional handbook, and that means asking some important questions. And when the whole idea of a hybrid model is about allowing a more flexible, balanced approach to work, understanding how to make the most of that seems like a sensible place to start.
So here’s our advice for achieving work-life balance in a hybrid working environment: at home, in the office, and when managing ‘hybrid moments’:
When working remotely:
- Don’t congratulate early starts and late finishes: commuting time shouldn’t be swapped with working time, or your team will feel burnt out at home – and lose the benefits that flexible working allows. You can prevent this by A) leading by example and logging off promptly, and B) not rewarding or praising people for doing overtime. One-offs happen when deadlines are arriving, but this shouldn’t be a regular occurrence.
- Make rules around out-of-hours communications: the pressure to stay responsible 24/7 is a very real one, especially when there’s a sense of needing to prove that you’re working. Make it an organisation-wide rule that emails should be scheduled to arrive during work hours only, to send a clear message about expectations.
When working in the office:
- Accommodate flexible hours, whatever the reason: to make office-working more attractive, don’t be afraid to consider flexitime. Maybe your employee needs to do the school drop-off or pick-up, or they’d like to arrive earlier and take a longer lunch break so they can hit the gym. Everyone has their reasons – and accommodating these where possible will show them you respect the fullness of their life.
- Don’t neglect the ‘life’ element of work itself: when your team can get together, make sure there’s time set aside for socialising. Maybe you go out for lunch, grab a drink after work, or just spend twenty minutes catching up over coffee – whatever it is, it’ll strengthen bonds, create work friendships, and make work seem less like, well, work.
When in hybrid working situations:
- Get hybrid meetings right, through trial and error: remote working is one thing, office working is another – but how do you communicate when your teams are doing both? You need to quickly define how hybrid meetings will be run, so you don’t end up stuck on a video call all day – when you could be doing ‘deep work’ at home, or working collaboratively in person.
- Keep listening to your team’s feedback: for many of us, this is uncharted territory. To make hybrid working really work for your organisation, you need to listen to your team’s experiences. Use employee surveys to check in on how they feel about communication, collaboration, and anything else that could be affected by hybrid working.