Hybrid work is here to stay.
And as employers try to navigate the needs and preferences of their business and team, a new concept has arisen: shiftwork.
The idea boils down to sharing a workspace for employees to rotate through.
Instead of dedicated workspaces and 40 hours in-office, employees can come in for a few hours to a few days per week when they need to and then work from home the rest of the time.
There are many benefits to shiftwork, but it can feel complicated to set up.
Here’s why managers and leaders should care about shiftwork and how they can implement them for their hybrid teams.
In the new professional landscape, shiftwork can be the ideal middle ground between employers who want their teams in the office and employees who don’t really want to be there.
As Launch CEO Mike Kriel explained it:
“Shiftwork means having a workspace where people can come on certain days or on an as-needed basis. They have a place to collaborate and spend their time in the office in a purpose-driven, intentional way rather than being mandated to be in a cubicle for 40 or more hours per week.
This benefits employees by giving them available space when they need it without forcing them to be there when they don’t while making sure they still benefit from added flexibility and reduced commute times.
For business owners, this allows them to have a flexible workspace and least terms where they only pay for space for a portion of their team rather than shelling out money for unused space for the whole team.”
3 Types of Hybrid Work Schedules
A hybrid work schedule is beneficial to all parties and it’s increasingly becoming the norm. Creating a shiftwork schedule, though, is new for many business owners and can be administratively challenging.
It’s important to choose a method that will work for you, your team, and your business goals.
If you’re unsure where to start, there are three broad categories of hybrid work schedules, and each can be customized to your company and team’s needs:
1. Set schedule model
This model sets specific parameters of who’s in the office and when, typically on a 3:2 schedule (three days in-office, two at home, or vice versa). Employees can either be split into cohorts that rotate or everyone comes in at the same time for part of the week.
Instead of allowing the working from home vs. office productivity debate rage on, this model requires everyone to have a bit of both.
- Key benefits: It’s easy to plan and coordinate work activities (i.e., meetings or onboarding new employees) while everyone is on a set schedule, while still allowing employees some days to work at home.
- Common pitfalls: Employees don’t have as much flexibility as other models, and employers may not be able to reduce office size if all employees are still coming in regularly.
2. Semi-flexible model
This schedule allows employees to choose when they come in based on a minimum company-wide goal. For example, a company may indicate employees need to be in the office two days a week but don’t dictate which days.
It could also be based on the number of hours per week or specific tasks (i.e., project update meetings are held in person).
- Key benefits: Employees get more autonomy over their schedule, while employers can look at flexible office solutions because they no longer need a full office space.
- Common pitfalls: Coordinating schedules, workstations, and tasks may be more challenging as there is no set schedule each week.
3. Total-flexibility model
This style of work allows employees to choose to work from where they want, when they want.
They could be 100% remote, 100% in an office or shared coworking space, or any combination of the two. Even in this model, employers could still call for quarterly in-person meetings and make use of on-demand meeting rooms or flex spaces to bring people together.
Many companies are turning to software solutions to help manage the flow of staff in and out of shared workspaces and ensure eight employees aren’t fighting for just five available desks. Eden and Kadence are two popular tools to check out.
- Key benefits: Total flexibility and autonomy for employees.
- Common pitfalls: May be challenging to coordinate schedules, and some companies may find it hard to build a strong culture with little or variable in-person time.
How to Choose the Right Hybrid Schedule
The hybrid schedule you choose should meet the needs of both your employees and your business functions.
And to make the right choice, you need to think both practically and ideally—what do you need to function as a team and what do you want to become the best team?
Do you need people in the office at all times?
In-office presence may be important for client-facing industries or certain types of work. If that’s you, you’ll need to create a schedule that ensures coverage throughout your working hours.
- Solution: Choose a set schedule to define working hours and ensure coverage.
Will you let your employees choose their schedules or do you want to dictate specific parameters?
This depends on the location of your employees, number of employees, and goals for hybrid work. Increased autonomy over their schedule means less equitable results; not everyone will choose the same thing. Consider how this impacts your business operations, workloads, and company morale.
For example, if you’re expecting people in the office a few days a week but some employees have a long commute, they may perceive it to be unfair.
- Solution: Spend time talking to and collecting feedback from various stakeholders in your organization. This ensures everyone has a voice in the decision-making process. Then, deliver your decision with clarity and a strong rationale for why.
What kind of office space meets your hybrid team’s needs?
One of the main benefits of shifting to a hybrid work schedule is that you likely no longer need the same office you had before.
Flexible office space with features like open workstations, private offices or team suites, on-demand meeting rooms, or private phone booths means that you can provide exactly what meets the team’s needs. This way, you’re only paying for what’s needed, too.
Choosing a flexible office solution gives employees what they need and makes their time away from their home office productive, engaging, and enjoyable.
- Solution: Contact us at Launch to learn more about how a flexible office space can support your team’s needs in a hybrid work environment.
How will your team’s communication and collaboration be impacted by your new schedule?
Remote communication can be effective, but most people agree that nothing replaces in-person communication for certain tasks or projects. Consider what’s best done together in-person for your company and who should be in the office at the same time.
Also, think about the team-building impacts of gathering together in the same physical space and how that may align with your company culture or goals.
- Solution: Foster the Great Reconnection and intentionally plan your hybrid work schedule to include things like socials, networking events, in-person meetings, or robust online channels. Flexible and on-demand meeting and event space can help bring your team together and foster collaboration.
Hybrid work’s not going anywhere. There are benefits to both employers and employees who embrace shiftwork and a flexible schedule. But, knowing how to implement one can be challenging. Use these tips to think through what the best shiftwork schedule is for your hybrid team.
If you’re looking for a flexible workspace that can help your hybrid team do their best work together, book a tour of your local Launch Workplace today.