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4 schedules that power hybrid work and how to roll them out

Learn about the 4 types of hybrid work schedules, how to choose the best one for your company, and how to roll it out.

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.

According to our recent survey, 34% of employees are coming in earlier than they did before the pandemic and 26% are taking off earlier. That’s because hybrid work gives employees more flexibility to come in at various times and on different days. But for workplace teams, that flexibility means more planning. 

Workplace managers have to think about workplace occupancy. They have to make sure there are workstations and meeting rooms available and food and drinks stocked up to accommodate employees each day. It can be a lot to manage if there isn’t a great structure in place first.

One of the best ways to plan ahead for the different elements that make the hybrid work week run smoothly is by planning for specific hybrid schedules. Your workplace team will have a better understanding of who to expect in the office. Employees will know when they can collaborate in-person with their teammates and who to expect to work with when they come on-site. 

So what are the different types of hybrid work schedules and which one is best for your company? In this post, we’ll go over:

  1. Questions to ask before choosing a hybrid work schedule
  2. 4 types of hybrid work schedules
  3. How to roll-out a hybrid work schedule 

What questions should you ask before choosing a hybrid work schedule?

Before choosing the schedule that’s right for you, it’s important to take a step back and understand the resources 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 on-site at the same time to be effective? 

Some teams or roles will need to be on-site 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 on-site 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. 

4 types of hybrid work schedules 

Now that you know what goes into choosing your hybrid work schedule, let’s dive deeper into the different hybrid schedules that the workplace can use. Each one comes with its own unique benefits and challenges. 

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 on-site 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 on-site days employees come; whereas in a manager-scheduling plan, the manager decides. 

Managers can schedule team days where their teams are on-site 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 on-site 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 on-site, 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.

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. First, you’ll want to find a tool to help you facilitate workplace scheduling for employees. No matter which approach you take, you’ll want a simple way to view registered employees coming to the office each day.

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 group 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 on-site? 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. Once you’re happy with your hybrid work policy, roll it out to a larger group.

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.

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Maria Akhter
Author Bio Maria Akhter

Maria is a content marketing manager at Envoy, where she helps workplace leaders build a workplace their people love. Outside of work, her passions include exploring the outdoors, checking out local farmers' markets, and drinking way too much coffee.