5 Ways to Navigate Remote and Hybrid Workplaces
Over the past few years, hybrid and remote work has taken the world by storm and it looks like it’s here to stay. Remote and hybrid work models have been game changers for those with traditional office jobs who struggled to maintain a health work/life balance. These flexible options give employees the ability to reduce their commute, get more sleep, and spend more time with family and friends. However, it doesn’t come without its challenges.
For those familiar with in-person office work, switching to remote or hybrid can seem like a daunting change. You may have concerns about staying motivated, communicating with your team, having a quiet location, and staying on top of deadlines. Not to worry. We’re here to help. While it may be an adjustment, following these remote and hybrid work environment tips can help you adapt and transition to your new way of working successfully.
5 ways to navigate remote and hybrid workplaces
If you’re wondering how to work in a hybrid environment without feeling overwhelmed or lost, you’ve come to the right place. With the right hybrid work tools, you can be just as productive — if not more — as you are in the office.
1) Establish a consistent schedule
You’ve probably heard the saying “consistency is key” before. Well that definitely applies to hybrid work. If you have the ability to set your own hybrid schedule, make it as consistent as possible. If not, consider requesting which days you’d prefer to be remote, and ask for it to be the same each week.
Having the same work-from-home days each week makes it easier to remember when you have to be in the office, and when you have to prepare for your commute. This also allows your coworkers to have a good sense of when you’ll be available for face-to-face meetings. A consistent schedule can help you avoid mix-ups and frustrations with others in your office.
2) Plan ahead to maximize time
It should come as no surprise to hear that there is much less preparation time involved with working from the comfort of your own house compared to the office. When working from home, you may not need to think about prepping lunch the night before, packing up everything you need to bring, and what time you must leave by. Everything you require for work is right in arms length when you’re remote. But this isn’t the case for days in the office.
When you’re hybrid, preparation for work will look a little different depending on whether you’re remote or on-site that specific day. Think about your schedule and plan ahead to ensure you’re not forgetting anything. This means if you know you’re remote one day but in the office the next, consider using the time you save from not commuting to prepare your lunch so you’re not rushing to get it together the next morning.
Another way to plan ahead is by setting your hybrid schedule to match things going on in your personal life. For example, if you know your child has soccer practice every Thursday, that may be a great day to work remotely so you don’t have to worry about traffic and being late. That way, should your meeting run over-time, the other things in your schedule won’t be impacted.
3) Make the most of your time in person
There may be some tasks that you’ll find are just easier to accomplish in the office. This could be because you have extra resources such as multiple screens, printers, and other office tools, or because you have less distractions. Regardless of the reason, make your time in the office count and take advantage of these resources.
Being in the office also allows you to have thoughtful interactions with your coworkers. While Zoom meetings are great, they don’t always allow for conversation that isn’t about work related matters. When you’re in the office with coworkers, it’s important to establish a healthy relationship with others so you’ll feel more connected when meeting virtually.
Ask about their lives outside of work, what they’re doing for the holidays, and what their weekend plans are. This helps to establish a positive and welcoming work environment both in the office and on screen.
4) Create healthy work boundaries
When you’re working from home, don’t expect yourself to be able to sit in front of your computer for eight hours at a time — it’s unrealistic and uncomfortable. Make sure you’re taking regular breaks throughout the day to pace yourself. Don’t forget that you should also take your lunch even if you feel as if you have the energy to just work through it.
If you’re expected to be logged on between certain hours of the day, try and stick to those start and end times. Set healthy boundaries around evening and weekend work so you aren't spending all of your time at home on completing assignments. Your home is still your home, and just because it’s easy to open up a laptop while on the couch, doesn’t mean it's an emergency. Discuss with your superior what defines an “emergency” and what can wait until the following day or Monday.
These boundaries help you prevent burnout and can make you an even more productive employee.
5) Communicate often
Communicating with coworkers and supervisors can be as simple as walking down the hall when in the office. You knock on someone’s door, ask a question, and get an immediate answer. With remote work, communicating may not always happen in real-time. Sending messages, emails, and leaving voicemails are all asynchronous forms of communications that are vital to remote work.
Embrace the asynchronous communication rather than trying to only talk to others synchronously. Without these asynchronous forms, miscommunication is more likely to occur. Staying connected with others is also a great way to feel like a team even when you’re not together physically.
Get ready to start your career with NJIT
No matter how much you plan, there are bound to be unexpected events that occur during remote work. Take one day at a time and remain patient and flexible. If you have to make an adjustment to your schedule, don’t let it throw off your workflow. If you find that your schedule isn’t working for you, talk to your supervisor and try to come up with a new one. Compromise, communication, flexibility, and trust will go a long way when working remotely.
One of the best ways to learn these skills and prepare yourself for hybrid work is by earning your graduate degree or graduate certificate. When you take your education one step further, you’ll feel more confident in your abilities whether working on your own or in the office. At NJIT, you’ll have the opportunity to complete an online Master’s degree program, giving you the perfect practice for virtual work. Take advantage of all that NJIT has to offer by applying today.