You might have heard of the term “hybrid work schedule” at some point. The concept is becoming more and more popular even as the world moves into a world past the COVID-19 crisis.
A hybrid work schedule is becoming the norm for many businesses, but there’s still very little of it we understand. The little that we do, most companies aren’t prepared for yet. In this article, we’ll discuss all you need to know about hybrid work and what kind of activities teams with a hybrid work schedule can do.
What is a Hybrid Work Schedule?
So what are hybrid working and a hybrid work schedule? Simply put, hybrid work combines on-site work setups and a remote working arrangement. People on hybrid work schedule models are given more work time and office time.
A hybrid work schedule is great because it merges the best of both virtual and in-person work arrangements. With virtual work, hybrid employees get to have the flexibility they want.
They can stay home with their family and spend more time with their kids. Remote workers also get the quiet and distraction-free environment of a work-from-home setup. On the days that hybrid work employees have office schedule days, they interact with their colleagues and hold meaningful team meetings without the confines of Zoom.
Many companies have announced that they will adopt a hybrid work setup. Some of the more notable ones include corporate giants like:
JP Morgan Chase;
So is hybrid work the future of work as we know it? The more we look at the employers and employees adopting the work arrangement for the mid to long term, the more we realize it.
Important Hybrid Work Statistics
They say that numbers don’t lie. So it’s essential to see what statistics say about hybrid work too. Take a look at these research and survey findings on hybrid work schedules:
83% of employees now prefer a hybrid work scenario.
Productivity everywhere and hybrid work is a model used by 63% of high-growth companies.
58% of workers reported increased productivity when they started implementing hybrid work.
Up to 29% of people aged 30 to 49 years old reported that they were working in a hybrid work schedule.
55% of employees would prefer to work from home at least 3 days a work week.
92% of companies still haven’t figured out how to pay partially remote employees.
90% of employers plan to offer their employees some form of hybrid work schedule in the future.
It’s undeniable that hybrid work schedules will be a significant part of the future of work. But as teams move towards a mixed setup, the main challenge will be keeping your team engaged and connected despite the physical absence on certain days. Some staff might never even cross paths as they may come in at different times than their other colleagues.
One critical factor to all this is maintaining a set of activities that will help companies continue to engage their staff even remotely. In the next part of this article, we’ll look at activities that your hybrid work team can do to stay engaged even with a hybrid work schedule.
How to Manage Your Team’s Hybrid Work Schedule
Taking on a hybrid schedule has a lot of advantages, but it’s not going to be easy. You’re going to manage the whole process well. These tips and practices will help you ensure that your transition to a hybrid work model will be smooth and successful.
1) Set Clear Expectations
When expectations around accountability structures, behavior, and rules are clear from the beginning, everyone will feel a lot better about the shift to a hybrid work schedule. Some companies fear being too black and white about hybrid work arrangements. After all, it’s about giving your team flexibility, right?
While you are giving them flexibility with a hybrid work environment, doing so without the proper parameters would be a great disservice to them and your management team. Some things that you will need to clarify by including in your hybrid work policies include the following:
What days people will be allowed to work remotely;
What times they are to work when mobile;
How often staff will have to check in with team leaders when working remotely;
When virtual meetings happen;
When face-to-face meetings happen;
Project management structures;
Responsiveness to chat; and
Other considerations related to hybrid work arrangements
2) Keep a Set of Tools for Collaboration
Maintaining a collaborative effort is key to successfully going hybrid as a team. To do that, you’ll need the right tools and software to maintain collaboration. We’ve compiled a set of collaboration tools your team should have and some highly recommended options for you.
Project Management Tools
These tools will help your teams stay on top of deliverables. Project management tools allow managers and teams to share tasks, updates, files, and instructions so that you can run operations smoothly through a remote system.
Here are some project management tool recommendations:
Communication tools help hybrid teams maintain communications despite being far from one another. Teams can use communication tools to send chat messages, get on video calls, send files, and more.
Here are some communication tool recommendations:
Employee Pulse Check Tools
Getting the pulse of your team when they aren’t in the office can be difficult. It’s one of the most significant downsides of working hybrid or remotely. Thankfully, some tools help measure your team’s happiness and employee engagement levels with survey questions. They’re called pulse check tools, which automatically send out surveys to your team members, asking them a series of questions that will help you gauge their engagement, happiness, and so on.
Here are some pulse check tool recommendations:
3) Think of A Way to Fairly Measure Performance
Measuring performance will have to change when moving to a hybrid or fully remote work setup. Gone are the days when things like working hours clocked and peer evaluations based on face-to-face factors mattered as much.
Instead, your company should start focusing on taking on a more results-based performance structure. If you’re handling a team of customer service representatives, you’ll have to look at metrics like customer tickets solved, call time, and net promoter scores. If you’re managing creative marketing staff, you should measure the number of projects completed and deadlines hit. If you’re managing sales staff, you should look more at their sales numbers and the customer lifetime value of their accounts.
Overall, your numbers will become more quantitative than qualitative. That will help you be more objective about the way you measure the performance of your staff or team.
4) Cascade Company Decisions and Announcements Often
Teams with a hybrid work schedule might sometimes feel detached from the company. This scenario will happen more when management makes little to no effort to cascade company decisions.
Make it a point to communicate company decisions and announcements often. You can do so through regular cadence calls, communications platforms, and email blasts. Another great practice to have is to maintain a company intranet— an internal site where teams can get the latest news and insights from the company, including:
New hires or job openings;
Upcoming major company events;
Sales targets hit;
New products or services;
New company partners;
Company priorities and goals; and
Other company news and announcements that could excite or affect others on the team.
10 Activities for Teams with a Hybrid Work Schedule
So let’s get down to business— here are ten of the best activities that you can do with your hybrid team to keep them engaged, connected, and productive.
1) Icebreakers with QuizBreaker
The first activity on the list is using a tool like QuizBreaker to deploy virtual icebreakers for your team. Icebreakers are an excellent way for hybrid work teams to bond even when they’re working remotely. Through this quick gamified activity, team members can ask fun ice breaker questions that will help engage your hybrid team while getting them to know each other a little bit more.
QuizBreaker allows you to schedule team icebreakers no matter where your team members might be. It’s no wonder why thousands of teams use it as a remote team-building activity or five-minute break time game for their teams every single week.
2) Trivia Nights with TriviaNerd
If you’re the kind of team that likes to play a game of trivia every so often, consider having a virtual trivia night to break the monotony. We recommend TriviaNerd when running virtual multiplayer trivia games. It’s a great employee engagement software that allows you to create trivia games and have everyone join in and answer.
TriviaNerd also has a massive collection of over 100,000 trivia questions and hundreds of collections and categories. If you want to create custom trivia, you can also do that.
On top of all of that, TriviaNerd also provides the following:
Up to 200 live participants per game;
Leaderboards, badges, and live scoring system;
Ability to create and host unlimited public and private trivia games; and
Friendly customer support when you need it.
Trivia games are great ways to engage a hybrid work team because you can do them both onsite and online. They're fun and get teams to collaborate and work together. You also have the added value of learning new things in the process!
3) Alice Escapes Wonderland
Here’s another fun hybrid team game you can try: "Alice Escapes Wonderland.” This is a team experience by TeamBuilding.Com, a highly-esteemed team building and game master company that has served thousands of companies around the globe.
The online escape room's official synopsis reads: “Alice is ready to go home, but her magic mirror has been stolen! Was it the Queen of Hearts? Perhaps it was the Mad Hatter? Follow the white rabbit and help Alice find the culprit so she can finally escape Wonderland.”
Alice Escapes Wonderland introduces a 3D immersive experience where you and your team can walk around in your own avatars. Together, you’ll solve virtual puzzles, answer riddles, and engage in a scavenger hunt!
4) War of the Wizards
War of the Wizards is a role-playing game perfect for team-building activities and games for remote and hybrid teams. This is a moderated game you book through the amazing people who created the online event.
The game follows a storyline of talented wizards at war for many ages and a small group of allies who are out to end the conflict once and for all. The game mechanics are simple enough for anyone to follow along. If you want to book a time with the facilitators that made War of the Wizards a reality, visit their official website.
5) Spreadsheet Pixel Art
Pixel art is an excellent and simple activity you can do with an online or hybrid work team. Spreadsheet art is simply a Google Spreadsheet or Microsoft Excel file that you can turn into pixelated artwork.
What we love about this activity is that anyone can do it. You can do it alone, for sure. But it’s much more interactive and fun when you’re doing it with others. And because you can do it online, you don’t have to be in the same place to create a collaborative masterpiece with spreadsheets.
Check out this blog to access some free Pixel Art templates you can use with your hybrid team.
6) Virtual Murder Mystery Parties
A murder mystery party is a whodunnit game that’s perfect for all sorts of settings and groups. You can do it with your family, friends, and clubs. And, yes, you can do it with your work teams too.
Running a murder mystery game is quite simple. Here’s a simple guide that anyone can follow:
- Create a plot for your murder mystery game. Alternatively, you can avoid the hassle by buying a ready template online. You can check out these great options that we’ve had fun playing with ourselves:
Blood, Gold, and A Night of Jazz — The murder mystery game follows the murder case of a tycoon found dead in his home office. There are a bunch of suspects with good enough reasons to take the billionaire out.
Prom Night-Mare — When a local goon is killed on campus grounds during Prom Night, there’s a lot of confusion. But there’s also a killer on the loose. Now everyone has to work together to find out who the murderer is.
Roller Disco Disaster — A small town’s only attraction becomes an investigation scene when a local enforcer gets gunned down. Now the whole group has to help each other find the suspect. The only problem is the killer is in the room.
Assign the characters. You should have more than enough characters for a good murder mystery game. Optionally, you can have people show up for the virtual murder mystery party in costume to make things more interesting.
Pick the murderer. And when you do, make sure that it’s private. The point of the game is to find out who the murderer is. And whoever is the murderer needs to do everything possible to distract people from the truth.
Go through the assigned scripts. You’ll do so in stages. Each murder mystery typically has two to five rounds of questions, and each suspect will read their assigned lines.
Guess who the murderer is. Everyone gets a guess. Whoever guesses the murderer wins. When no one makes an accurate accusation, the murderer wins.
Give prizes. This step isn’t required, but it can add a nice touch to your murder mystery party. You can also do other awards like:
Best actor or actress; or
Most likely to be called the murderer (the person with the most accusations).
7) Coworking with Gather.Town
If you’re looking for a fun and interactive way to get a remote or hybrid team together in one space, you might want to check out Gather.Town. It’s a video-calling space that joins the power of a video conferencing tool and an RPG. Think about Pokemon and Zoom rolled into one. That’s what Gather is.
One of the fun aspects of Gather is the ability to create a virtual space. You can decorate a room, office space, or any other virtual gathering place with an array of furniture, office decorations, gardening supplies, coffee shop paraphernalia, and so much more.
Once your space is up, you can join the team for a co-working hour or a quick conference. Alternatively, you can use Gather to run any other events mentioned on this list! On the app, you can also share your screen, mute and unmute participants, and so on.
8) Virtual Campfires
Who doesn’t love to bond over a cozy campfire and share stories? Well, you can have a version of that experience with something called Virtual Campfires. We got the idea from the people at Tiny Campfires, a virtual team-building company that does virtual campfires for other organizations.
Tiny Campfires runs 90-minute Zoom events with a team that replicates a campfire experience. As part of the package, they also send over gourmet S’mores kits that your team can eat over a virtual campfire sesh. Share stories, laughter, and memories with your team, even if you’re on a hybrid work schedule.
9) Online Team Bingo
There’s nothing like the fun and laughter that bingo can bring. With online team bingo, you get more of it as you can add your own twist. Instead of using numbers, try fun examples like life experiences (have you ever typed scenarios such as ‘visited Rome,’ ‘gotten drunk,’ ‘left your keys in the car,’ etc), possessions, work experiences, and so on.
One example you might want to try for an online team is Virtual Workspace Setup Bingo, where you list items that a virtual workspace might have and see how many your colleagues will get. You can include things like:
Custom flask with your name;
Laptop riser; and
10) MTV Cribs Work From Home Edition
Since most people will probably be working from home on flexible schedules, why not ask them to do a house tour? And to add a twist, let them do it in MTV Cribs style. If you’re not familiar with it, MTV Cribs was a reality TV show where artists and celebrities would do house tours for the show.
You can have one or two people do a house tour for ten minutes to break the ice. Encourage them to be creative and witty with their house tours and have them act as if they’re home his a lavish mansion. Let them dress up in fancy clothes and use fancy terms. Instead of calling their washing machine a washing machine, they can call it an “automated laundry solutions device.” Instead of toaster, they can say “electric-powered bread toasting mechanism.”
The sky is the limit regarding how crazy you can be about these tours. So encourage your staff to go all out! Just make sure everyone keeps the fun clean and wholesome.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have some questions in your mind about hybrid work setups? Not to worry. We’ve compiled a few frequently asked questions that could shed light on the matter.
How many days in the office is optimal?
There’s a lot of research work that has gone into this question. One study from a paper from Harvard Business School on research done back in 2020 shows that the optimal hybrid work schedule consists of two days in the office and three from home. The same study showed that people who worked two days from the office and three remotely were more productive while battling feelings of isolation from peers at work.
There has been another study, however, that shows that three days a week in the office might be a better option— at least in the eyes of executives. 29% of surveyed executives said three days in the office is optimal for maintaining a company culture. 15% said they needed only two days a week, and 18% said they needed four.
Truth be told, we’re still in the early stages of the hybrid work revolution to have a fixed number. The best thing for you to do is test with your team and see how it affects work output, employee happiness, and engagement. There’s often no hard-fast rule on how long an employee should work in the office and at home. The key is for you to get feedback from your team constantly. You could use a Pulse Survey tool like Pulsemate.
Also, remember that there are now many ways to keep your teams connected and engaged even when they’re at home. We gave you fifteen ideas above! So if that help lessens the isolation and disconnect while working from home, you can spend more days flexible than in the office.
Why should we push for a hybrid work schedule?
There are a few compelling reasons to take on a hybrid work schedule. The first is that it’s good for the employees. People on your team get to enjoy all kinds of benefits, including:
Saving money and time on commutes. This is super helpful, especially if you live in a city with a lot of traffic. In some places, employees can spend between two to three hours every day just getting from home to the office. Remote days help offset the costs and time spent commuting.
More productive hours. Working from home could mean getting more done for team members who might need the distraction-free environment of a quiet home. Offices are sources of all sorts of distractions— water cooler conversations, last-minute requests, or even that teammate who plays music without a headset! At home, your employees can get more heads-down work done.
More work-life balance. For employees with families, work-from-home setups could mean more time being present for their kids. For single professional staff, they will still have time for their personal life given they can stay at home or spend time working with outside work friends in a cafe. While they will still be working, they can take quick breaks to talk to their spouse or kids every now and then. That’s always a nice perk to have when working from home.
Not only is a hybrid work schedule good for employees. It’s great for their employers too. Consider these advantages to companies when you take on a hybrid work setup.
You save money on utilities like water, electricity, and other office amenities.
You can get a smaller space if teams don’t end up coming to the office at the same time.
You get to retain great staff as they will be happy with the flexibility. 42% of working adults are willing to take on pay cuts for more flexibility.
You reduce your carbon footprint as a company as you lessen the amount of travel time and, consequently, car emissions.
Should I work remotely or hybrid?
Some companies might feel stuck between two decisions — having a fully remote setup or remaining hybrid. Which is better? Once again, this is dependent on your company’s context.
Some businesses might find it more beneficial to keep a fully remote setup. This arrangement works if you want to work with a team from different cities or countries. It’s also great for a company with a digitally delivered product or service.
But keeping a hybrid setup can be extremely helpful when you have your team in one place. For one, you get to have catchup in-person meetings, which could lead to more connection and ideas. You can also give your team to catch up in person, which has all sorts of social advantages over doing it over Zoom.
Still, you can make further ado with your online efforts and have in-office work when necessary. With a hybrid model, you get the best of both worlds— gaining the social interaction and personal touch of in-person collaboration and flexibility of remote work.
How do we implement a hybrid work schedule?
So the big question on your mind, if you’re planning to shift to a hybrid work schedule, might be, “how do we implement this kind of setup?” Here are some tips and practices that you can follow to turn your workplace into a hybrid company.
Decide when your team will work from the office and from home. It helps to specify which days your team will work from the office and which days they’ll work remotely.
Set up your collaboration tools. Choose the collaboration tools you will use from the list we mentioned above and give everyone access to it. Don’t forget to provide adequate training, so everyone is on the same page regarding collaboration tools protocols.
Have a test period. There’s a chance you won’t find the optimal work schedule or tool in the beginning. That’s completely fine. You can have a test period where you try a few tools and setups and then adjust with time.
Roll out in tranches. If you have a large team, it might help to roll out a hybrid work schedule in tranches, meaning not everyone transitions together. You can do it per department or per cluster.
Evaluate regularly. If there’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic taught us, nothing is permanent. Things change, and so our companies should change too. So it’s good to always evaluate your work setups and make changes when necessary. This keeps us adaptable to the things we can’t control and allows us to stay optimal and relevant.
So there you have it! We hope this guide has helped you understand all the nuts and bolts of hybrid work schedules. We hope the ideas you’ve learned from the article can also give you several ideas to engage your hybrid work team. Which ones do you want to try first?
We wish you all the best as your team enters into the new and exciting world of the future of work. All the best!