Hybrid working arrangements are becoming increasingly popular with workers, as the mix between home and office work can mean that employees get the best of both worlds. This approach offers both time to focus and the chance to enjoy a better work-life balance, but also time to touch base with colleagues and build the social networks that are vital to a good working relationship.
But this shake-up in your routine may be making it harder for you to maintain control over your working life. Whereas a fully office-based arrangement means you can close the office door and leave work behind, hybrid working requires a more self-managed approach. So how can you help yourself and maintain that all-important work-life balance? We take a look.
Set clear boundaries
First off, you’ll need to decide what your boundaries are, before you can communicate them to others. Your working hours will likely depend on your company’s policy, but if you do have some flexibility, try and establish how much work you can comfortably fit into a working day without feeling overstretched.
Make sure that this is clear to the people that you work with, and on the days that you’re at home, anyone else who is in the house with you. Set your working hours in your calendar, so that anyone who tries to schedule a meeting outside of these times gets notified that they’re asking you to attend after hours.
If your company uses a virtual messaging platform, make sure to change your status accordingly, and make use of the ‘do not disturb function’. Also, as tempting as it can be, try not to check your emails out of hours. Give your team a way to contact you in emergencies, but emphasize that this is for vital queries only.
Improve your communication
Sometimes hybrid working can lead to a bit of a disconnect between you and your colleagues that are in the office on different days to you. Conversations that happen in the office casually might not get passed on to everyone in the team, or you might forget to loop someone in on an email if you can’t see them when you’re working at home. Think mindfully about who needs to be included, and make sure to share.
It’s also important to remember to mimic the interactions that you may get in the office on your work-from-home days. If you’re only in the office once a week, and you don’t talk to anyone about anything but work on the other days, you may miss the social interaction. In a hyper-efficient environment, chat might feel like a waste of time, but it builds team rapport and helps stave off loneliness, which can lead to burnout.
Be careful with your office time
It can be tempting to charge in at full speed on your office days, booking back-to-back meetings, and following up with after-work drinks. Whilst some people thrive off this, it’s important to pace yourself, and understand that a heavy office day can impact the rest of your week.
Instead, try and build meaningful conversation into your day, doing things that wouldn’t be as successful if you were at home. Whether that’s a team collaboration workshop, or touching base with your manager to make sure that you’re properly supported at work, make your time count.