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Hybrid work schedule: How to make it work

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Have you been thinking about introducing a hybrid work schedule, but you’re not sure how exactly to make it work? 

We’ve put together everything you need to know before jumping right into changing your team’s work environment — from the basics of hybrid schedules, their pros and cons, to carefully curated tips to help you implement a hybrid work schedule the right way. 

What is a hybrid work schedule?

A hybrid work schedule is a work model that combines the benefits of remote working with an in-office experience. 

Employees are usually expected to spend a certain amount of time working from a traditional office setting, but they’re also given the option to work remotely. 

Four types of hybrid work schedules

Since a great number of companies have already adopted hybrid work and fine-tuned it according to their needs, different types of hybrid work schedules have come to the surface — 4 types, to be exact. 

Type #1: Cohort hybrid work schedule

The cohort hybrid work schedule is a carefully structured hybrid model based on the idea of a fixed, prearranged work schedule. 

Instead of giving everyone the option to come into the office as they see fit, organizations following a cohort hybrid work schedule arrange the exact dates for the on-site work beforehand.

Type #2: Flexible hybrid work schedule

As opposed to the cohort hybrid work schedule, a flexible hybrid work schedule gives employees the option to create their own work schedule and work from the office whenever they see fit. 

Type #3: Remote-first hybrid work schedule

Even though it encourages employees to work remotely, this type of hybrid work schedule allows teams to come into the office and complete their tasks from the premises now and then. 

Type #4: Office-first hybrid work schedule

Most suitable for teams that usually need to be physically present, the office-first hybrid work schedule requires employees to spend most of their work hours on-site while giving them the option to occasionally work from home. 

Advantages of a hybrid work schedule

Regardless of the hybrid work model you decide to implement, these are the upsides you’ll definitely notice if you take enough time to carefully map out your organization’s hybrid strategy.

Advantage #1: Improved work-life balance

With a whopping 61% of US employees ready to change their jobs for a better work-life balance, companies are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of offering their employees flexibility and choice.

When implemented strategically, a hybrid work schedule allows employees to remain efficient at work without sacrificing their personal lives. 

Advantage #2: Access to a global talent pool

As soon as an organization decides to combine remote and on-site work, the geographical barrier stops being a challenge and they become able to expand their recruitment pool and hire global talent. 

This option does not only come in handy when looking for the most qualified people in the field, but it can also prove beneficial when hiring in a field with a large talent shortage. 

Advantage #3: Room for productive collaboration

By bringing together the best of both worlds, hybrid work schedules give companies the option to make the most out of both a remote work environment and a traditional office setting.

Coming into the office sporadically instead of on a daily basis, employees have the opportunity to spend their office hours collaborating with their team and finish the tasks that require more focus in the comfort of their homes. 

Disadvantages of a hybrid work schedule

Although there’s no such thing as a perfect work schedule, looking into some of the most common downsides of hybrid work schedules can help you avoid them and skip a few steps in making a hybrid schedule work.  

Disadvantage #1: Higher risk of burnout 

Without clear work-life boundaries that come with leaving the office at 5 p.m. sharp, employees might be more likely to end up working later than usual after switching to a hybrid work schedule.

To prevent your team from feeling overwhelmed and exhausted while working remotely, don’t forget to set clear expectations and key performance indicators. 

Disadvantage #2: Increased workplace inequality

With employees working in different locations comes an increased risk of unconscious favoritism.

Sometimes due to a phenomenon called proximity bias, managers offer advancement opportunities to the employees who work on the premises while excluding the ones who work from home. 

To avoid unconscious favoritism from ruining your team’s cooperation, try to bridge the distance gap by introducing a set of work-from-home apps that ensure everyone remains connected. 

Disadvantage #3: Heightened cybersecurity risks

Whenever a team needs to handle company data outside the organization’s premises, there’s a risk of a data security breach.

To prevent your company from experiencing data incidents, don’t forget to devise detailed procedures for handling and accessing information outside the company’s premises and try to implement software solutions that assure data security. 

6 Tips for implementing a hybrid work schedule

Even though introducing a hybrid work schedule comes with a stack of challenges, there are ways to keep them at arm’s length.

Therefore, we’ve listed 6 tips to help you do just that and implement a hybrid work schedule the right way. 

Tip #1: Set hybrid work ground rules

To make sure your work processes remain as efficient and transparent to the same extent as before the introduction of a hybrid work schedule, you’ll need to:

  • Define the exact conditions for working outside the office, 
  • Create a detailed hybrid work schedule, and
  • Clearly communicate working hours rules. 

By setting some ground rules right from the start, you’ll reduce the chances of your company’s hybrid schedule going off course. 

Tip #2: Pick your tools carefully

To avoid the physical distance posing a challenge to your teams’ collaboration, think about introducing tools that can bridge the distance and increase workflow transparency.

Start by selecting a reliable team chat app, a time tracking app, and a collaboration tool that can help you retain your teams’ efficiency. 

Still, don’t forget to test each of your picks to ensure the apps you decide to introduce are the right fit for your new work schedule. 

Tip #3: Think about productivity assessments

Without the ability to reach out to their employees at all times, managers tend to become more prone to micromanagement. 

To prevent this from happening to you and your team, try setting clear expectations and a transparent productivity assessment system from the onset. Focus on outcomes, KPIs, and measurable objectives instead of the volume of emails sent or the time spent in meetings. 

Tip #4:  Let the office match your intention

Before setting up an office schedule, think about when and why you’d like teams to come into the office and reorganize the office accordingly.

If you’d like to encourage team collaboration, try leaving as much open space as possible. 

However, if you wish employees to spend their on-premises hours productively, try to reduce distractions, and provide them with a quiet space with plenty of natural light. 

Tip #5: Stay in touch with your team

Since team communication needs to be more deliberate as soon as physical distance is involved, it’s crucial that you too make room for real-time communication with your team. 

Provide everyone access to your calendar, encourage them to schedule a meeting with you from time to time, and try to give them your undivided focus and attention — especially right after you’ve introduced a hybrid work schedule. 

Tip #6: Take it one day at a time

Change shouldn’t happen overnight — at least not if you want to avoid having to deal with a significant productivity drop. 

If your coworkers have been working remotely for a while now, try inviting them to come into the office once per week. 

The same goes for the on-the-premises workers — it’s better to change their work environment gradually to ensure the same level of productivity and efficiency, even with an altered work schedule.

Further reading

This is just a summary of an article previously published on the Clockify blog.
To learn more about hybrid work schedules, we recommend reading the full article: