A few years ago, work schedules looked very different. You’d find most employees at their desks around 9 AM and packing up to leave around 5 PM. Flash forward to today, and you might find employees coming in at different times and days because of hybrid work.
A few years ago, workplace schedules looked very different. You’d find most employees at their desks around 9 AM and packing up to leave around 5 PM. Flash forward to today, and you might find employees coming into the office at various times and on different days because of hybrid work.
According to a study from early 2022, 74% of U.S. companies either are currently using or plan to implement a permanent hybrid work model. And that plan is very aligned with employee sentiment. In fact, almost half of employees (47%) would look for another job if their employer doesn’t offer a hybrid working model.
So what does this mean for workplace leaders? They’ve got to figure out how to implement a hybrid model at their organization and figure it out fast. So we created this handy blog post to help you learn more about the different types of hybrid work schedules and figure out which is the best for you.
In this post, we’ll go over:
- 4 types of hybrid work schedules
- Questions to ask before choosing a hybrid work schedule
- How to roll out a new hybrid work schedule
4 types of hybrid work schedules
Hybrid work is a flexible approach that combines working in an office environment and working from home. It allows employees to choose how and where they work, and offers autonomy to employees to design their working week in a way that works both for them and with company policies.
That being said, there isn’t one right way to do hybrid work. There are plenty of different schedules and plans that combine the best of remote working and the best of in-office working. No matter which schedule you land on, you’ll need the right technology to support it. Here are four of the most common ones to consider:
1. Hybrid at-will
According to our At Work survey, 56% of companies that have adopted the hybrid work model have an at-will schedule. This means that employees can choose which day(s) they come into the office. One employee might choose to come in on a Tuesday one week and Thursday and Friday the next week. There is no prescribed schedule employees must follow.
Employee flexibility is the foundation for this schedule, and it gives decision-making power to the hands of employees. This is the most common hybrid work policy in 2022, but also one of the hardest policies to plan for since there are no set requirements.
2. Hybrid split-week
In the same survey, 11% of companies said they have adopted a split-week schedule. This is where the company assigns days of the week for specific teams to come in. Team and function dictate those decisions. For example, you could schedule your marketing team and data team to come in on Tuesdays so they can work together, while you can schedule your customer service and sales teams to come in on Thursdays.
While the number of employees in the office might be different on each day of the week (depending on each team’s schedule), there’s a major benefit for planning. A hybrid split-week schedule allows companies to plan ahead because they know exactly how many and which folks will be onsite on any given day.
3. Hybrid manager-scheduling
The hybrid manager-scheduling policy is the least common, according to our survey, with only 8% of companies going this route. In this work schedule, managers choose which day(s) their teams into the office. This schedule fosters high levels of productivity and collaboration. The main difference between the split-week and manager-scheduling is that in a split-week work schedule the company decides which onsite days employees come; whereas in a manager-scheduling plan, the manager decides.
Managers can schedule team days where their teams are onsite and participating in weekly status updates, brainstorms, and working sessions. Like the split-week work schedule, this plan allows for easier planning because you’ll know which teams will be onsite in advance. You can work directly with managers and team leaders to coordinate what those days will look like.
4. Hybrid mix
The last hybrid work schedule, hybrid mix, is exactly what it sounds like: a mix of all three of the above. 25% of companies are using a mix and match method where some employees come in at-will, some teams have scheduled days onsite, and some are manager-scheduled. The primary benefit? All of them. With a hybrid mix, you can enjoy the flexibility, choice, and planning that exists in the other policies.
What questions should you ask before choosing a hybrid work schedule?
Now that you have an understanding of what types of hybrid work schedules there are, it’s time to pick one that works for your organization. And in order to do that, you’ll need a good understanding of the resources, technology, and workspace you have available. You might want to choose a schedule that brings everyone in on the same day, but you only have enough desks for half of your employees. Or you might choose a schedule that allows employees to only come in once a week and find yourself with extra space and food.
When sitting down to pick the right schedule for your organization, ask yourself these questions:
What people or departments need to be onsite at the same time to be effective?
Some teams or roles will need to be onsite at the same time to perform their job. Maybe your marketing and data teams are closely collaborating on a new initiative. You’ll want to consider scheduling these teams to come in at the same time in order to boost their collaboration efforts. Maybe your executive team and HR team need to come in to sync up on high-level priorities. Consider scheduling the HR team to come on the same day as the executive team’s meetings.
The easiest way to figure this out is by checking with team leads to understand the team’s functions and who needs to work onsite together to be effective.
How much time will it take to manage each type of schedule?
Depending on what type of schedule you land on, setting and maintaining schedules in a hybrid work environment will require time from your workplace team, your employees, or your people managers. Think about who will carry the load and how you can automate this work to free up people’s time. A workplace platform that has all of your necessary hybrid workplace tools can be a huge time-saver for your workplace and IT teams.
Will this schedule support both my employees’ preferences and company’s goals?
It’s difficult to pick a policy that will match everyone’s personal preference. So it’s key to strike that balance between a large pool of employees’ preferences and business objectives.
A Gensler study shows that 52% of people want to work from the office 2-4 days per week. The remaining 48% want to work full-time in the office (29%) or full-time remote (19%). Where your company falls on this spectrum should inform how much flexibility your office schedule offers. Send out a survey to your team to figure out how your organization feels about hybrid schedules.
What workplace tools do I have to support a new schedule?
Trying to run a hybrid office without workplace tools is like trying to run a marathon without shoes. Before embarking on a new hybrid schedule, take a second to evaluate your current workplace tools and their functions.
For example, do you have a desk booking software that can sync with the amount of desks you have? Do you have a way to see employee registration so you can have an accurate headcount? Do you have a way to pull the data you need to help with planning and forecasting? Evaluate your current workplace tools and identify if you need to upgrade or change any of them.
What kind of schedule can my office space support?
The hybrid schedule you choose is going to depend on the kind of office space you currently have. You need to make sure there are enough desks, meeting rooms, and gathering areas to accommodate the amount of employees you expect onsite each day.
When considering which hybrid policy to choose, think about your office space. How many desks do you have? If you expect 150 people onsite on any given day, do you have enough meeting rooms for them? Check out this handy spreadsheet on space management to help you better understand your capacity.
Rolling out your new policy
Once your team has decided which type of policy will work best for your company, it’s time to create a roll-out plan. A new policy is a major change for everyone so you want to make sure you don’t rush it, take other perspectives into account, and thoughtfully roll out this plan to your employees. Here are a few steps you can take.
Step 1. Send out an employee survey
It’s great to get feedback from your employees on what kind of a work schedule they would be interested in. Recent studies show that 55% of employees want to work remotely at least three days a week. But these benchmarks might look different for your company. Send out a survey asking your employees which type of hybrid schedule they would be most interested in. This will help you with a starting point to make sure your company objectives and the employee experience are aligned.
Step 2: Get your workplace tools set up
Now that you know what kind of policy you want to set up, you need the tools to support it. Here are a few tools you should consider adding to your workplace tech:
- Employee scheduling: In order to make any policy stick, you need a scheduling tool to help employees and leaders manage their calendar. A scheduling tool allows employees to see who is in the office, book their own days onsite accordingly, and even invite others to join them on specific days.
- Desk booking: Desks are the bones for most workplaces. With a new hybrid policy where not every employee is in office on the same day, the amount of desks you need can vary greatly. You can utilize your space much more efficiently with fewer desks. However, you’ll need a way for employees to view, book, and unbook those desks.
- Meeting room booking: If your hybrid policy is designed to enable collaboration and teams getting together for their meetings, you’re going to need an easy way for them to book meeting rooms. A room booking solution can help your employees and managers reserve a room for their recurring stand-ups, 1:1s, or impromptu meetings.
Step 3. Run a trial with a test group
Roll out your schedule to a test group to start. This could be one team or one shift, depending on your business. After they’ve had time to try out the new schedule, send out a survey and gather feedback from each individual involved in the process.
You’ll want to hear from employees, managers, the IT team, and the HR team. Do they have the resources they need to get their work done when they come onsite? Is the process to register and come into work intuitive? Are they able to collaborate with the right people? Use their feedback to fine-tune your planning or decide on a different work policy.
Bonus tip: Now you have super-users who have tried the policy already and can be a go-to source for other employees with questions or concerns.
Step 4: Introduce your hybrid policy to the larger team
Once you’re happy with the results and feedback session with your test group, it’s time to roll it out to the rest of the company. Communicate clearly with the new guidelines and expectations. Provide employees at least two weeks of a heads-up to allow them to adjust to the new policy, change any routines they may need, and schedule their days onsite. At this time, you’ll also want to set up Q&A sessions with employees to help them navigate any questions they might have. Also work with your IT, HR, and workplace leadership teams to set up technology training if you do adopt new technology.
As more organizations find their groove with hybrid work, defining hybrid work schedules will be essential in keeping the workplace running. Knowing when and which teams and employees are coming into the office will help create better opportunities for collaboration and build community.
Want to learn more about hybrid work?
We’ve got a resource that will help you feel confident running a hybrid office.Get the guide