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6 Ideas to Help You Navigate the New Hybrid Work Environment

By Pam Dewey • hybrid work, navigating hybrid work, balancing hybrid work, how to do hybrid work, hybrid office, how to handle the hybrid work environment, managing hybrid work, managing the hybrid office • December 30, 2021

Working remotely quickly became the norm for many during the pandemic. Now that vaccines are available, some employees are trickling back into the office. But many more workers are doing a combination of these two, creating a much larger hybrid workforce. The flexibility of the hybrid environment is wonderful, but there are also challenges.

If you’ve found yourself struggling with a hybrid work environment, you’re not alone. Here are six ideas to help you be more healthy and productive, both at home and in the office.

Set a daily schedule and stick to it

With a hybrid schedule, your days will look different whether you’re headed into the office or working from home. But keeping a routine will give your days structure and provide you with balance. states, “A daily workday routine also helps get your brain into work mode, signaling it’s time to get things done and help you stay on task.” So wake up, take a shower, eat breakfast and take the dog for a walk. Of course, on days you’re working from home, you’ll have more time because there’s no commute, but keeping a schedule will help signal the start of your workday. 

Create a supportive office environment at home

At this point in the pandemic, most people have set up a workspace. While your workspace doesn’t have to look like a typical office, you need a work-from-home space that supports your body. A chair with a back and armrests is desirable. A chair with a back lets you lean back and take a break. Fraser Senior Physical Therapist Kim Peterson says to avoid sitting on backless bar stools because it can be really fatiguing for your back muscles. Armrests give your elbows support while you’re typing or using a keyboard. You also want a chair where your feet can rest comfortably on the ground. If your chair is too tall, grab a stool or stack up some books to prop up your feet.

The height of your desk is also important, so your body receives the proper support. You want your computer screen at eye level. This prevents possible neck strain from looking up or down all day. If your desk is too low, you can always prop your computer up on books, or you can buy a laptop stand.

Set an expectation for meetings

If you’ve been working remotely, you’re probably familiar with Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Virtual meetings have become the norm during the pandemic. But when you have people working in the office and people working remotely, meetings can get awkward. Many companies have discovered that it’s best that if even one person is joining remotely to have everyone join the meeting via Zoom or Teams. This prevents remote attendees from missing any in-person chatter that might not be caught on a microphone. Some discussions might be better in person too, so if you set up a meeting that would be better in the office, make sure all your attendees can join in person that day.

Suggest a day when everyone comes into the office

One of the tough things about working remotely is that you miss human interaction, particularly if you formerly worked more from the office. To cope, you might consider setting up a day once a week or even once a month, when you meet up with coworkers at the office. According to the New York Times, financial technology start-up CommonBond, located in New York City, recently started doing a “Work From Work Wednesday,” where employees gather at the office to work and socialize. Going into work gives you important human interaction, and it can be a good time to set up in-person meetings.

Decide how to manage collaborative tasks

You may also want to make your office days ones where you focus on collaborative tasks. If your team has an upcoming brainstorming session, schedule that on a day you and your coworkers will all be in the office. Even if you’re working on a big project with one or two other people, bouncing ideas off each other can be much easier and more productive face-to-face.  

Consider reconfiguring the office environment

With fewer people in the office, it may make sense to reconfigure some spaces there. Fast Company states, “Since humans are social beings, the office will be a place to build relationships and engage, which requires more common spaces.” You could suggest that some areas are reconfigured to become spaces where small groups can meet together and work on projects. This makes sense, particularly if you’re trying to do more collaborative work in the office.  Offering to help clean up these spaces might convince your boss to reconfigure the office.  

Working a hybrid schedule can be difficult, but if you make some adjustments, you can find a healthy and productive way to manage it.