Tackling productivity challenges in a hybrid work model

Guest Author 29.05.2023
Hybrid work model illustration

The popularity of the hybrid work model – the combination of remote work and in-office work – has grown immensely. It almost feels weird if a company doesn’t offer a hybrid work option. Experts estimate that today 81% of companies prefer a hybrid work model over full-time office life, and 63% of high-growth organizations have a hybrid work model in place.

Location is not the only focus of hybrid work. It enables a lot of freedom around work time as well. A hybrid work model allows employees to enjoy greater work flexibility and, in the process, achieve a healthier work-life balance.

Besides combining the best aspects of remote and traditional work to create a flexible environment, hybrid work also imposes some challenges to one’s productivity. In this article, we explore hybrid work tips to deal with the hurdles and remain productive.

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Improve your hybrid work-life balance

A person meditating outside

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial to productivity and output. Besides, a healthy work-life balance can also provide tangible benefits to employers.

Gap, the famous clothing and accessories retailer, ran a study in 2015 to find out the implications of including flextime (a time management approach that lets employees choose their start and end time) in their work model. The results were staggering, as just after nine months, employees could better cope with work-life challenges. And that’s only half of it – the company increased sales by 7% and overall labor productivity by 5%.

Other than productivity and increased sales, it’s essential to take care of one’s work-life balance because:

  • A balanced work-life promotes physical and mental health. It encourages exercise, relaxation, and self-care, reducing burnout and stress-related illnesses.
  • Work-life balance fosters healthier relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. 51% of employees have missed important life events due to work, but achieving balance grants more time for such occasions.
  • Employees experience enhanced job satisfaction. People tend to enjoy their jobs and feel appreciated when having a positive work-life balance.

Achieving work-life balance in a hybrid work model

We know tips on balancing work and life in a fully remote setting and have heard a lot about doing the same if working from the office full-time. But what about a hybrid work model and work-life balance?

1. Evaluate your priorities

One of the best ways to establish positive work-life balance in a hybrid work setting is by evaluating your priorities. Consider cutting out unnecessary obligations, such as declining your presence in a meeting where your attendance is optional. 

2. Engage in leisure activities and embrace sports

The idea behind leisure activities is to provide a break from the demands and stresses of work. Or in other words, unplug from work and spend time away from your phone or laptop. 

One of the best ways to reset your mind is exercising. A study found that regular exercise can help you balance work and family. The rationale is that when you work out, your body releases feel-good and relaxation hormones, typically putting you in a good mood.

3. Schedule regular pauses

Sticking to your work schedule and taking regular breaks during the day is crucial to your productivity and overall sanity. 

In a hybrid setting, chances are that office days are intense as you’re asked to participate in meetings or you have plenty of duties that need to be explicitly done while in the office. Thus, you must make room in your schedule for short pauses to remain productive throughout the day. 

The same goes for remote work days. Working from the comfort of your home may create a feeling that you don’t need breaks. But don’t let it fool you – step away from the screen once per hour and see how it benefits your efficiency.

Communication and collaboration in a hybrid work model

A hybrid worker in a video meeting

Although the hybrid work model is quickly gaining popularity among organizations and businesses, it also comes with some challenges on the communication and collaboration front: 

  • Communication gaps   the risk of communication gaps in hybrid teams is higher than usual due to distributed team members even vastly different time zones. 
  • Technology barriers – hybrid work heavily relies on technology. Hybrid teams often face technical issues such as unstable internet connections, software glitches, or tech compatibility problems that hinder communication and collaboration.

Hybrid work tips on effective communication and collaboration 

Here are some hybrid work tips to bypass communication and collaboration challenges.

1. Technology training

Embracing new digital tools and platforms through training can empower team members to navigate the challenges of hybrid work and bridge the communication gaps. It also means having the tech in place to facilitate distributed teams. Think messaging platforms like Slack or asynchronous video call tools like Zoom.

2. Regular check-ins 

Regular check-ins are another powerful way to enhance effective communication and collaboration for teams using the hybrid work model. By having regular check-ins, team members can stay updated on the progress of projects, raise concerns or questions, and provide feedback on their work, effectively streamlining communication.

3. Setting clear expectations

Clear expectations help to avoid potential collaboration or communication gaps that may arise in a hybrid work model. A solid example of a company that has set clear expectations for its hybrid teams is Hubspot. The company has crafted a conversation template for managers, and it guides the conversation by discussing communication, work hours, performance, team connections, career growth, and more.

Establish a dedicated workspace at home

Inspirational visual on a wall

Having a dedicated workspace at home is an often underrated hybrid working productivity hack. The psychology behind having a dedicated workspace is to provide your mind with a mental stimulus to allow you to get the job done. According to James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, our environment ultimately shapes our success. 

Setting up a productive home office

While in-office days provide you with a natural productivity-boosting vibe, your home office also needs to serve your work performance. Here are two quick tips on how to make sure it does.

1. Choose the ideal location

Quickly assess your home and find a spot with enough lighting and ventilation. Also, consider a room with a door to bar out any distractions. If your living area is relatively small – don’t worry. You can still set up a home office area that puts you in a working mood.

Plus, while it may be tempting to work from the comfort of your bed or sofa, a table and a chair go a long way when it comes to work efficiency.

2.  Choose solid home office equipment

Investing in comfortable home office furniture is in your best interest. This also goes for other accessories that support good posture and prevent injuries or discomfort caused by prolonged sitting. 

Also, ask your workplace if they can allocate some budget for home office equipment. They’re the ones that directly benefit from your productivity and efficiency, after all. 

Want some more ideas? Take a look at our video on creating the perfect home office space, or read our article featuring 10 ideas to improve your home office space.

Be vigilant about protecting company data 

A worried office worker

Typically, companies have measures in place to ensure network security when you’re working at a given company’s premises. Thus, with the hybrid work model comes some data security challenges. Planting viruses, malware, phishing scams, and hacking are some of the most common cybersecurity threats faced by organizations whose employees work in hybrid or remote settings. 

Hybrid work tips on cybersecurity

1. Use secure networks 

A great hybrid work tip on cybersecurity is setting up a secure virtual private network (VPN). A VPN establishes a secure connection between your device and the company network, encrypting data. It’s like a virtual shield that ensures sensitive information remains confidential, even when accessed remotely. Fortunately, some of the cheapest VPNs do a great job while taking it easy on your pocket. 

2. Avoid public Wi-Fi

It’s a good idea to avoid public Wi-Fi outside the office because it can leave your personal and work-related information vulnerable to cybercriminals. Public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured, meaning anyone can access and potentially intercept sensitive data you transmit. 

3. Use two-factor authentication

A two-factor authentication system, also known as multi-factor authentication (MFA), is a security system that requires users to provide multiple forms of identification before accessing a network or platform. 

When you log into a platform that uses multi-factor authentication, you’ll be asked to provide two or more forms of identification. One-time passwords, and biometric authentication, such as iris scanners and fingerprints, are great examples of MFA.

Time management in a hybrid work model

Time tracking in a hybrid work model

Time management is vital in a hybrid work model as it helps prioritize tasks effectively, creates a structured schedule, and minimizes distractions.

According to Gitnux, 88% of the workforce procrastinates daily. A further 17% of people admit to wasting up to 4 hours daily because of repeatedly putting off tasks. This negatively affects productivity as time management is vital to the overall output.

Tips on how to manage your time effectively 

1. Set goals 

One effective way to manage time while working in a hybrid work model is to set goals. Goals can help you prioritize tasks and focus on what needs to be accomplished. 

2. Use a time tracking tool

A time tracking tool can seriously up that time management game of yours. Benefits of time tracking include productivity boost, more efficient task prioritization, better work-life balance, and more.

Need the motivation to sort out your day?

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Parting remarks

The hybrid work model is here to stay, and organizations worldwide are hurriedly moving to adopt it. Regardless of the benefits it may offer, it still comes with challenges that can hamper the productivity of hybrid teams. Luckily, the above practices and solutions can help hybrid companies deal with all kinds of hurdles – from communication problems to data security challenges.

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