Going from a traditional workplace to a hybrid office is typical for employees to run into conflicts initially. Why? Because they're trying to apply their traditional work mindset to their hybrid work - creating even more problems.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with the challenges of any hybrid role. Embracing hybrid work requires effort, planning, and flexibility from all employees (not to mention the company itself!). Although employees might feel a little lost at first, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
So, you've just landed a new job at a startup that utilizes hybrid work – and you already feel like you're struggling. With the juggle of in-office work and working from home, you forget tasks, get confused about when your coworkers will be in-office, and can't seem to find a good rhythm.
You're not the only one!
While it might seem like your coworkers have hybrid work all figured out, we can guarantee one thing: they are probably struggling with the same things as you are. Luckily for us, hybrid offices aren't all that new (it's just skyrocketed in popularity in the last couple of years), and we can learn plenty from the hybrid work gurus that have been trekking along for decades.
What are the solutions?
Analyze, analyze, analyze.
Without knowing exactly where your productivity levels are (and where they are a bit low), you won't be able to find the right solution. Open up a blank Excel spreadsheet and start tracking everything you're doing throughout your in-office and remote days. From phone calls to project completion to collaboration with coworkers, make a list of everything you can get done (and the quality of each).
Eventually, you'll start to see patterns within this data that will show you where you are struggling and where you seem to shine. You can better pivot yourself to play to your strengths no matter where you're working.
Plan in advance (but not too much).
With a shifting schedule, it's essential to establish a structure for yourself. Keeping a handy planner with you can help keep you organized on in-office tasks and remote projects. By planning a few days or a week at a time, you're less likely to forget tasks or upcoming projects.
However, within a hybrid office, employees must be flexible. Don't take your planning skills too far by trying to schedule things out weeks and weeks in advance - you may start to feel pigeonholed by what you can and can't do, throwing your productivity out the window.
Use the right tools.
There are tons of tools for hybrid work, with more and more being added every day. Your office either provides or recommends a list of great tools that work well within your industry - don't be afraid to use them!
During such a big transition in your career, tools like Asana, Monday, and Notion can assist you in keeping track of your task list (and can be used with your coworkers). Communication with coworkers on different schedules is simple with apps like Zoom and Google Meet, and you can even use programs like Stay focused to keep you away from social media and honed in on big projects.
The downside to this can be an overwhelming use of new tools that makes it confusing for you to know where to look to get things done. Rather than trying to implement a new tool for every issue you come up against, start with a few and gradually increase to more as it makes sense to do so.
There are apps and browser extensions to keep you laser-focused on tasks while working. However, Instagram and browsing through Facebook marketplace aren't the only things that can distract you.
At home, your spouse's dance workout morning routine can be pretty distracting and cause you to lose focus on serious projects. On the other hand, overly talkative coworkers can steal a chunk of your productivity away from you with an extensive conversation you feel compelled to continue so you don't hurt their feelings. When you're at home, attempt to schedule breaks or less intensive tasks around the times you know your spouse, children, or pets will be extra rowdy. When you're at work, don't be afraid to put headphones on and place an "I'm busy, come back later" sign on your door.
Understand you'll never reach hybrid "perfection."
We all strive for peak productivity, but unfortunately, that doesn't happen with the click of a mouse. Worrying about reaching productivity perfection can take a toll on your mental health and make you even more unproductive! As you waste time worrying about not keeping up with your coworkers, you're taking away precious time to tackle that long to-do list.
While beneficial to many employees, hybrid work will always have pros and cons. One of the pros is that you don't have to do it alone. Coworkers and supervisors are all learning and fumbling their way through hybrid work. Don't be afraid to reach out to others to see what works for them, and always be transparent with the company you work for and how they can support you.
Now, hack away those inefficiencies.
When shifting into a hybrid work mindset, analyzing your situation, using the appropriate tools, minimizing distractions, and understanding that there is no level of hybrid "perfection" to reach are all ways to hack your productivity levels. By simply being aware of what's causing your productivity to decrease, you're taking a step in the right direction.
Use these hacks to chip away at the inefficiencies during the workday, and you'll be well on your way to becoming a hybrid work guru.
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