6 Things to Know When Creating Your Ideal Hybrid Office
If you had a full-time job at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, you were probably sent home to work remotely. Now, at the end of 2021, even as many offices are reopening, many businesses are opting for a hybrid work model.
How prevalent is the hybrid model these days? According to information from Quantum Workplace, 30% of employees surveyed considered themselves hybrid workers. Additionally, 35% of those surveyed reported working remotely.
If you’re an employee of such a company, you might be trying to figure out how to make the home/in-office scenario work for you. The following six suggestions can help you shuttle between home office and office space with ease, while maintaining or even increasing productivity.
1. Maintain a Dedicated Office Space
When the pandemic sent you home in spring 2020, you might have been fortunate enough to have a spare bedroom for your remote workplace. More than likely, your “at-home office” might have consisted of a laptop and cell phone on your dining room table or kitchen nook. At the end of your workday, you put the lid down on your laptop, and moved it somewhere else.
The kitchen-table office might have been okay as a temporary arrangement. But as a permanent hybrid office strategy, not so much. To be productive as a hybrid worker, you need a dedicated space used solely for your office work.
The good news is that you don’t need a separate locale for this to be effective. Carve out a tiny corner in your dining room or bedroom, and add a flat workspace on which you can place your laptop and peripherals. If you are shopping for a new home, ARTAVIA® offers different floorplans to suit various at-home workspace requirements.
Whether your home office is a corner or entire room, another important factor is to place it away from distractions or noise.
Along those lines . . .
2. Set Ground Rules With your Family
Working from home can often signal to your family, especially if you have kids, that you’re available for anything and everything. The problem is that these distractions take away from your productivity.
While this is not to suggest that you shouldn’t manage emergencies, you also need to make it clear to your family that, while working at home, you are not available for casual situations. In other words, your children shouldn’t interrupt you if they’ve misplaced homework, sports items or anything else. And if your spouse has questions about dinner or the bills, let them know to save them until your breaks. Your family needs to treat you as if you are at the office.
What might also be helpful is a visual signal. For instance, if you are wearing headphones while working, you should not be disturbed unless there is an emergency.
3. Maintain Regular Hours
You have specific office hours, when you need to arrive, take lunch and breaks, and go home. Keep those hours on the days you work from home. Even if you’re the “work in my pajamas” type of remote employee, be sure to start your workday at the exact same time you would if you are commuting into the office. The upside here is that you won’t have travel time to worry about.
Also, take lunch and breaks away from your workspace. This is important to help clear your head. If possible, take a brief walk outdoors, or head to another part of the house to enjoy your food or a cup of coffee.
4. Keep in Constant Touch with Colleagues and Bosses
Working remotely means missing daily interactions with colleagues and bosses. It’s important to maintain those connections. Thanks to technology, you can do so. Instant messaging programs, such as Microsoft Team or Slack, can keep you in the loop. Collaborative software is also helpful for sharing documents and ideas. Virtual meeting platforms are also necessary, as is email. And when all else fails, pick up the phone and talk to your colleagues.
Speaking of which . . .
5. Ensure That Technology Meets Your Requirements
Your connectivity to the office will rely on plenty of internet bandwidth and Wi-Fi. Check with your provider to ensure access to high internet speeds, and be sure your home is appropriately “wired” to support it. For instance, ARTAVIA® homeowners can select from fiber and dedicated cable methods to support internet bandwidth.
Just as important is network security. While working from home, you’ll have access to your company’s information online. This can be problematic without the proper protections in place. Many organizations get around this by issuing specific laptop computers to employees, which are only to be used for work.
But if you don’t have a work-dedicated computer, make sure your company has firewalls on its systems to prevent breaches. On your end, install the latest antiviral software and firewall protection on your personal computer. Check regularly for breaches, and frequently change your passwords.
6. Schedule Regular On-Site Hours
Finally, if your hybrid arrangement requires you to be on site, consistently schedule the time. For instance, if you are going into the office two days a week, pick the same two days (such as Tuesdays and Thursdays) over time. This will also help you establish a solid routine. Along those lines, if you work with physical paper or files, be sure to have a dedicated briefcase or professional backpack that offers easy back-and-forth transport of necessary documents.
When managed properly, the hybrid workplace dynamic can offer flexibility and a measure of safety from infections. But working remotely, even part time, requires advanced planning. Be sure to put thought into scheduling and space. Doing so can help ensure your at-home workspace provides you with plenty of opportunity for efficiency.