Many organizations have found their groove – figuring out a schedule and system that allows people to work in a hybrid way – Some days remote, some days in office. Wouldn’t it be great if your hybrid approach (or whatever approach you take) leverages the best of both worlds?
The office has its advantages. An office environment gives you access to resources and facilities that may not be available remotely. Face-to-face communication with colleagues, teams, specialized equipment or tools, can all enhance productivity and innovation. A physical workspace can be more conducive to certain types of tasks that require face to face communication and collaboration.
As we have all learned, remote work has its advantages too. Remote work offers greater flexibility and autonomy in terms of where and how you work, as well as the opportunity to save time and money on commuting. Remote work can also enable you to work in environments that are more conducive to your personal working style and preferences like accomplishing quiet uninterrupted focus work.
Unfortunately I am still hearing about frustrated employees and situations out there as organizations are struggling to find the right balance. I have a friend in a government job who is deciding to leave her position. The reason is that her organization just instituted a 5 day a week in-the-office requirement. And here’s the thing – her job does not require communication or work with anyone at her office. Most of her work is independent and her communication is with people at different locations. She is being required to come into the office to sit at her computer and Zoom with remote people – work she would be capable of and prefer to do from home. Commuting, putting on pants, and coming in every day from 9-5 feels burdensome and foolish to her.
To make the most of both environments, it is important to engage in activities that are well-suited to each environment. In the office, this might include collaborating with colleagues in person, utilizing specialized equipment or tools, or attending in-person training, meetings or events. When working remotely, you might prioritize tasks that require focus and concentration, take advantage of flexible scheduling to accommodate personal needs or preferences, and leverage digital tools and platforms to facilitate communication and collaboration with colleagues.
By adapting the expected activities to suit the strengths of each environment, you can optimize productivity, creativity, and overall work experience. Be sure you leverage the strengths of your people AND the space they are in!
What do you have your team doing at home and at the office? Are you taking full advantage of the difference between being virtual and being in-person?
If you need help thinking through your return to work plan so that you can optimize people and space, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.