Will hybrid soon be the new remote?

As more people are vaccinated against COVID-19, businesses are readying plans to reopen their offices and bring back their employees. Already, though, it's clear the new workweek will look different than it did pre-pandemic.

Daniel Pinto, co-president and chief operating officer of JP Morgan recently told CNBC, there is zero chance of 100 percent of people going back into the office full-time, and zero chance that everyone continues working remotely.

That comment reflects the success of remote work during the pandemic. Indeed, in large part thanks to technology and remote working tools, workers transitioned seamlessly to home offices while productivity increased. According to a PwC survey, 52% of executives say average employee productivity improved during the pandemic.

As a result, hybrid work may very well become the new normal for many people, and schedules could look very different depending upon the situation. For instance, some employees may split the days of the work week between home and traditional offices. Others may rotate into their company's workspace on weekly schedules.

It's Not Just a Trend: Hybrid is Here to Stay >

The hybrid model is especially attractive to knowledge workers, 63% of whom say they prefer it. So, you may be wondering, are you a hybrid worker? Here are eight signs that indicate you'll flourish in this new environment.

1. Focus time is productive time.

Your home office is a converted spare bedroom with a view of your well-tended flower and herb garden. It's quiet, although you often have your Amazon Echo Dot streaming classical music at low volume. Your workspace is more conducive for projects that require deep thought, but you can still hold an impromptu webchat with your colleague to ask questions.

2. Learning time happens in the "culture space".

What was once upon a time your traditional office has been transformed into a space to foster your social connections and build your working relationships. The company's downtown building is buzzing with energy. It's not only a hub for learning but also for unscripted collaboration. Here is where you make a point of having coffee or lunch with colleagues who work in other teams. These other perspectives are vital for spurring new ideas.

3. Every day is a team day.

In a hybrid work schedule, time can be used more effectively. That means technology and an innovative approach to scheduling can improve team collaboration, brainstorming and project management. Hybrid workers have the benefit of quiet time at home to work on projects. In a fully remote environment, the lack of in-person meetings risks stalling ideation and sometimes makes innovation harder. But as a hybrid worker, you have the best of both worlds: quiet time at home to focus on projects and in-person meetings to brainstorm ideas. Technology makes it possible to continue conversations in collaborative workspaces and via video. Some teams set up regular times (like Workshop Wednesdays) to connect socially and to build on ideas. The overall result: collaborative time, at home or in the office, is more productive.

4. Flex your hours.

Two days a week, your workday starts at 6 am. The other three? 8:30 am. The good news? On days with an early start, you're also able to have lunch with your six-year-old. When you own your own schedule, you can manage work-life balance more efficiently―and accomplish more in both worlds.

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5. You're a master at multitasking.

No, not writing a report while also attending your team's weekly conference call. Hybrid workers know how to make the most of their time without infringing on other tasks. You've learned how to get a few things done around the house while also giving your full attention to work. That's the magic of washing machines and robot vacuums.

6. Focus on your goals not the clock.

Working remotely required a certain level of trust. One thing we've learned from the experience is that performance isn't measured by time in the office, but rather by accomplishments. Your employer trusts you to get things done and you feel more empowered. Whenever you go to the office now, it's not for more face time with the boss. Instead, the focus is on learning new skills and engaging with colleagues in working sessions.

7. Solve client problems, from anywhere.

Mobile technology and unified communications have made it possible to serve the needs of clients for some time now. But as a hybrid worker, you value these capabilities more than ever. They make it easier for you to transition from work to home without missing a beat.

8. 3-2-2 works for you.

One of the benefits of remote work during the pandemic was the flexibility employees enjoyed. Despite the challenges of managing family and work in the same place, you've found remote work made it easier to balance competing demands. You'd welcome the opportunity to continue a flexible work schedule after the pandemic. The 3-2-2 model advocates three days in the office, two days at home and two off― which sounds perfect.

If these reasons sound like you, you're a hybrid worker. Taken together, they also say something notable about you: you're a modern worker in a state-of-the-art world. As Unilever CEO Alan Jope points out, the pre-pandemic, five-days-in-the-office structure "seems very old-fashioned" after a year of remote work.

Find out more about The Now of Work >

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