Not Feeling the Hybrid Vibe Yet? Here’s How to Get Into the Zone.

Hybrid work was a necessary response for many businesses during the pandemic and the fact is that in a post-pandemic world, hybrid is the new normal. In September a new wave of employees began commuting back into the office. We saw evidence of the change in Zoom meetings, where office dress returned on screen and groups attending calls were sitting in conference rooms.

The physical side of hybrid work is obvious, but for many, the new hybrid mindset is still a work in progress. Employees have gotten used to the benefits of working from home. They don’t necessarily see an upside to long commutes, wearing pants with zippers, and eight straight hours of being “on” for their colleagues.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Back in May, Apple employees got together to write a scathing letter to management about their resistance to mandated in-person work days. And in July, one of our clients shared with us the challenges of luring people back to the office. But despite these obstacles, most of us recognize that hybrid work is here to stay.

So how do you get yourself into the right mindset for hybrid work? Here are a few suggestions that will help.

Accentuate the positive

When employees were sent home to work, they rose to the challenge. They adapted and got good at working remotely. They also may have gained a new sense of work/home balance, getting time and money back that was previously spent on commuting. With many businesses moving back to the office, it’s easy to get stuck behind the benefits of working remotely. Instead, try focusing on the upside to being in the office:  the opportunity to collaborate, cross-pollinate ideas, and build the informal engagement that contributes to your company culture and helps you deliver great results.

Create a pre-commute ritual

Learn to make the most of working from home and in the office. The goal is to do both well. Make prepping for your commute easy. Create a checklist of what you need when you pack up to go to the office and set yourself up for the commute the night before you go. For example, make sure you’ve got gas in the car or that you’ve purchased your commuter train ticket ahead of time. Set out your snacks, pack up your laptop, and charge your phone. Reach out to other colleagues who are also making the transition and ask them to share their best practices for simplifying the shifts from home office to work.

Focus on the outcomes

After two years of upheaval, it’s time to refocus on the work at hand. Once you’ve established a new routine, you can think about your performance. Check in with your manager about your short and long-term goals and seek out opportunities for growth, whether they are in person, remote, or a combination of the two.

Look forward

Learn from the journey you’ve been on but focus on the future. The fact is that things are different. We’re not returning to where we were before the pandemic. The world has moved on and a new state of work is emerging. Take a moment to stop, reflect, and build the mindset and behaviors that will help you be successful going forward.

Managers note: communicate communicate communicate

If you’re managing people, communication is a difference-maker. Be clear with your team about what is expected. If you’re operating in a hybrid model, be specific about the number of days they need to be in the office and how the team will work. Where there’s flexibility, make that known as well. And this is not a one-and-done message. Be sure to communicate your message, and then repeat it. A lot. This will hold both you and your team accountable to the new structures, and minimize the distraction of uncertainty, so your team can embrace the opportunity that hybrid work enables.

Finally, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to hybrid work that will satisfy everyone. Whatever a company decides will undoubtedly evolve. Adaptability is key to hybrid work success. Stay open and flexible. Get good at change because it’s one thing we can all count on.