The Pros and Cons of Hybrid Work Schedules
Flexible work is not only the preference of most employees, it’s also the predominant business structure in the new workplace. In fact, recent data from WFHresearch shows that 40–50% of workers have a consistent hybrid schedule, whereas just 30% are in the office full-time, and 20–25% are entirely remote.
The research also projects that hybrid work will continue to maintain its dominance. But while it’s clear this business model is here to stay, which iteration of it is right for your team? Keep reading to learn about the three most common hybrid work schedules — as well as their pros and cons — to help you find which one is the best fit.
Hybrid Schedule Meaning
The main feature that sets hybrid work schedules apart from any other business structure is flexibility. In a hybrid environment, all team members — from senior leaders to managers to employees — can vary their work setting between home and in the office.
Whether it’s on-site, at home, in a local coffee shop, or just about anywhere else in between, hybrid schedules allow team members to do their best work by facilitating focused productivity. The flexibility of the work model also has its advantages. When measuring job satisfaction, flexibility ranks just behind compensation, Future Forum’s 2022 Pulse Survey indicates, as flexible arrangements tend to curb stress levels and improve work-life balance.
It’s interesting to note, most employees would prefer not to work from home on a daily basis. The majority want to be remote about three days a week, research from Stanford University points out. But with that said, many workers are more productive at home than on-site, the study also reveals. Two main reasons for this are less time wasted commuting and a quieter environment for “deep work” with fewer interruptions.
Who Should Be Determining the Hybrid Schedule?
At their core, hybrid work schedules are all about choice. As the Pulse survey shows, employees want to break away from the traditional “on-site for eight hours, five days a week” structure, which no longer aligns with their priorities, values, or expectations. Rather, 80% want location flexibility, and 94% want time flexibility. But while all types of hybrid schedules allow for flexibility — in that workers can flip back and forth between locations — they don’t always give employees the flexibility to choose which days they’ll go into the office. So who should be dictating their schedules — team members, their managers, or an organization-wide policy? Well, it all depends.
Here at Scoop, we're given complete autonomy to choose the days we come into the office. That may not work for every size organization, and that’s okay! Some organizations want to have a top-down approach to hybrid schedules; others want to delegate that task to individual managers. But regardless of who makes the final call, the number one thing that every single organization should understand is why employees are motivated to go into the office in the first place.
Thanks to a new Microsoft study, we know the most compelling reason is for team members to spend time with each other: 85% of employees are willing to come into the office to build team relationships, and 84% will show up to socialize with colleagues.
Moreover, nearly three-quarters of respondents said they would be there more frequently if their direct team members or work friends were also on-site. In other words, human interaction and collaboration is often worth the commute alone for employees — which is convenient, since 68% of business decision makers feel team unity is a challenge to maintain in the hybrid environment.
Before you create your team’s hybrid work schedule, have direct conversations with your team members and take a general poll to find out how often they'd be interested in coming in. Then, no matter who decides the policy, you know you’ll have the support of the true stakeholders — your employees.
Common Hybrid Schedules: What Are the Pros and Cons?
So what is a typical hybrid work schedule? Here’s the short answer: A typical, one-size-fits-all formula doesn’t exist. How you choose to structure a hybrid work schedule hinges on a number of variables, including the needs of your team members and the nature of your specific industry.
But while the mechanics might look different from one business to another, there are three main hybrid schedules to be aware of. Below, we’ll dive into each of these formats, while discussing their pros and cons, so you can determine which one to implement.
With this model, all team members work in the office on specific days. For instance, you might require everyone to be on-site Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays each week.
- Planning in-person meetings is easier since employees know exactly when everyone will be in the office.
- There’s less time spent trying to keep up with the whereabouts of team members on a day-to-day basis.
- When you bring the whole team on-site during the same hours, you also risk an influx of interruptions and distractions, which can hurt productivity.
- The rigidity of this schedule may leave employees who value flexibility less satisfied with their jobs.
With this model, all team members work in the office for a set number of days, but they have the option to choose which days those days are.
- Team members have more autonomy, which is better for work-life balance.
- In the absence of the right hybrid coordination tool, chaos may result. For instance, one employee might come on-site to meet with a coworker only to find out they chose to work from home that day.
Remote First Hybrid
With this model, all team members are free to choose both if and when they work in the office. For instance, they might come on-site once or twice a week, or even just a few times per month — if at all.
- This schedule is the most flexible, which makes it a favorite among employees who want to feel autonomous in their roles.
- It shows a high level of trust from leaders.
- It can boost productivity by giving employees the freedom to decide which setting allows them to do their best work.
- Without clear visibility into which days certain people are coming in, it can be hard to incentivize employees to come into the office at all.
- It can be harder for managers to build rapport with all team members equally.
- Building relationships among colleagues can be more challenging.
- Proximity bias can be harder to combat, making it more difficult to recognize the achievements of mostly-remote employees in favor of employees who choose to work on-site more frequently.
Which Hybrid Work Schedule Is Right for Your Team?
No two companies or team dynamics are the same, so just because a particular hybrid schedule works for one business doesn’t mean it will for your own. At the end of the day, you have to listen to your employees, understand the dynamics of the teams you’re managing or working alongside, and try to find common ground. Your hybrid schedule may also change over time, and some trial-and-error might be involved — and that’s totally normal.
And finally, remember: hybrid work is new for all of us. Chances are, there will be some bumps along the way, but if you approach the conversation from a place of mutual respect, authenticity, and transparency, your team members will stick it out with you along your journey.
Looking for more help with hybrid team coordination? Scoop’s Team Sync is the first assistant built to eliminate time spent scheduling for hybrid teams. Get it for free.