Hybrid work today is significantly more complex than at the beginning of COVID-19. Whereas many hybrid roles were temporary to counter lockdowns and industry shifts, many organizations have since integrated permanent hybrid positions with ranging flexibility, structures, and expectations. In this article, we’ll cover how hybrid work has changed, who’s using it, and the types of hybrid schedules you may encounter.
What Is a Hybrid Work Schedule?
Hybrid schedules bridge the gap between remote and in-person work, letting you work from home or other non-office locations on certain days. This flexible work model combines in-person and virtual collaboration, and its intentions are to improve work/life balance, increase opportunities to attract a wider talent pool, and reduce commute times.
How often a hybrid employee is expected to work in the office varies by position and employer. For example, some employees split the work week evenly between their home and office, with two or three days at each location. Alternatively, some employees may have more flexible schedules that leave the daily decision in their hands.
Who Is Using Hybrid Work Schedules in 2023?
While a number of industries shifted to remote and hybrid work models in 2020, that number is now much smaller in 2023. For example, despite almost all classrooms being virtual a few years ago, structured hybrid and fully flexible jobs now only make up 3% of the education industry. Contrastingly, the energy and insurance industries have embraced these new work models, with hybrid employees making up nearly 30% of their workforces.
Industries that continue to use hybrid work schedules frequently include:
- Real Estate
Comparatively, industries that still use hybrid schedules but less frequently include:
Many organizations' hybrid models are changing as they go, and some organizations shifting back to full-time in-office are running into issues. For example, Twitter was predominantly hybrid through 2022 until new leadership scrapped the policy and reopened offices. As a result, employees who had become reliant on hybrid schedules had to exit the company, resulting in thousands of lost employees before the company backpedaled on their in-person policies.
The Different Types of Hybrid Work Schedules
Organizations have coined different variations of hybrid work that further blend remote and in-person models, including "fully flexible" and "structured hybrid," to keep up with changing needs. Your schedules as a hybrid worker may vary by position, employer, location, industry, and many other factors.
Fully Flexible work models allow you to work entirely from home and typically fall into two categories: Fully Remote and Employee's Choice. The most significant difference between these two models is that Employee's Choice organizations have some form of physical office space while Fully Remote organizations usually do not.
A Fully Remote employee must work entirely from home or other non-office locations, such as coffee shops and hotels. Fully Remote jobs usually don't require employees to live in the same area as the rest of the organization, vastly expanding the company's talent pool.
Employee's Choice models allow you to work from home, from the office, or a combination of both as you see fit. Outside of specific instances, such as hiring, company meetings, and new clients, you do not have to set foot in the physical workplace. These models work best for teams with different needs and expectations, as some employees still prefer in-person work.
Many organizations currently use Structured Hybrid work models, such as Specific Days or Minimum Percentage of Time, to mandate clear-cut expectations for in-office work hours. This type of model usually gives you some flexibility when building your schedule without making the position completely remote.
Specific Day models mandate certain dates or days of the week the company expects you to work in person. These often tie into workplace practices, such as meetings and deadlines. For example, you may need to work in person on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or the company may only need you in the office on Fridays for end-of-the-week recaps.
Minimum Days models mandate you to be on-location a certain number of days each week without specifying which days. For instance, employees required to work two days per week can choose which days they go in, such as Tuesdays and Wednesdays. According to Flex Report statistics, two days per week is the most preferred Minimum Days option across all job levels, closely followed by three days and one day per week.
Minimum Percentage of Time
Similar to Minimum Days, Minimum Percentage of Time models mandate the percentage of work hours you are in-office versus at home, usually on weekly or monthly bases. So, an employee expected to be in person 40% of the week can attend work for two days or spend half-days at work and the rest of the work hours at home. This flexibility is ideal for employees with children, pets, and other commitments.
Minimum & Specific Days
In some workplaces, employers combine Specific Day models with Minimum Day models for added flexibility. Under these models, you can generally write your schedule yourself but must be in person for specific days. So, an employee expected to work in-person three days per week but is only needed on Fridays gets to schedule the rest of the week to their preferences.
Who Decides Your Hybrid Schedule and Hybrid Work Policies?
Usually, executive teams determine hybrid work policies, whereas people managers sometimes determine hybrid structure specifics, such as minimum time in-office. However, depending on the organization, some employees may get to negotiate hybrid policies during the hiring process or in lieu of pay raises.
Organizations’ types of hybrid work schedules vary by their location, industry, employees' needs, long-term goals, and other factors. For example, many businesses in New York City have transitioned to hybrid models to reduce employees' commute complications.
According to The Conference Board, only 3% of surveyed CEOs from the US specified they would decrease their remote work availability. So, while some companies, such as Twitter, shift back to in-person, many business leaders intend to keep hybrid work permanent fixtures in their industries.
Making the Most of Your Flexible Schedule
The greatest benefit of hybrid models is how much extra time and flexibility they give you, from reducing commute time to letting you work independently. So, regardless of your current hybrid environment, you always have ways to optimize that flexibility to get the most out of your workflow. You can maximize your flexible schedule by switching around your processes, doing something fun during at-home breaks, and prioritizing certain tasks for certain days depending on what environment you are in.