What is a Hybrid Work Schedule [With Examples]

A panel showing an employee working from home on the left and an employee working from an office cubicle on the right

The choice between in-office and remote operations continues to be a topic of debate in the current business landscape. Certainly, each has various advantages for workers and business leaders alike. However, it’s worth considering that the either/or approach isn’t the only option available.

Many companies are currently exploring the potential for finding a good middle ground between these two working methods. As a result, the term “hybrid schedule” features in conversations among workers, on job vacancy postings, and in strategic meetings. But what is a hybrid work schedule? As with so much in business there are simple definitions, but also nuances. 

We’re going to dive a little deeper into hybrid work schedules, exploring some examples of models and the benefits that this approach offers.

What Are Hybrid Work Schedules?

The term has become part of the popular office lexicon lately, but what is a hybrid work schedule exactly? Hybrid work is a flexible work arrangement that combines both in-office and remote work. It allows employees to split their work time between working at a physical office location and working from a remote location, such as their home.

As a result, rather than sticking to the same old rigid working structures that are not always relevant or practical, businesses can adopt hybrid schedules that are flexible enough to allow individuals to strike a balance between the collaborative environment of the office and the autonomy of remote work.

One of the mistakes businesses and employees new to this idea make is that it’s about complete freedom to drift in and out of the office. While that may work in some businesses, for most it would likely quickly devolve into chaos. In reality, the sweet spot is where a solid structure meets flexibility. This enables everyone involved to take best advantage of the different environments while also maintaining productivity.

The result of this need has seen a range of hybrid work schedule models emerge. These are often geared toward the different types of challenges, working cultures, and employees each company navigates. For both workers and companies, understanding the features of each enables them to make informed choices about which is suitable for the company or individual.

So, let’s explore a few of the most prevalent examples of hybrid work schedules.

Examples of Hybrid Schedules

Three days on-site, two days remote

In this model — also known as the 3/2 model — employees spend three days working in a physical office environment and the remaining two days working remotely. This both provides some freedom while also establishing a kind of regular rhythm for the business. It’s a repetitive approach that helps everyone feel autonomous, yet connected and in-synch with one another.

Hybrid Work Schedule Example

Having three days on-site means workers get a good stretch of time to be in the same space as one another. They can meaningfully engage in real-time collaborations, spontaneous exchanges of ideas, and relationship-building. This structured block of face-to-face time can be particularly important when the business is running projects that require intensive teamwork or brainstorming sessions that really need real-time feedback.

At the same time, those two remote days give employees a chance to tailor their work environment to suit their individual preferences and maximize their productivity. It can also be something of a palate-cleanser, breaking from the intensity of in-person collaborations. Workers are still being productive while also being in spaces that may be more in line with their needs.

Alternating weeks

This model has a pretty simple premise. Employees alternate between working remotely for a week and then working on-site the following week. It tends to provide workers with some consistency in their schedules. When they’re working remotely, they get to fully immerse themselves in their projects in a way that may not always be practical in the office environment. This makes the alternating weeks method particularly useful for those tasks that require a lot of intensive research, sustained creativity, or deep analysis.

On the flip side, there is the consistency of the on-site weeks that facilitate direct interaction, team building, and in-person collaboration. This part of the structure gives opportunities for intensive concentration of energetic interactions with colleagues, clients, and competitors. Not to mention that it helps to foster a genuine sense of community among team members and mitigate the isolation that remote working can sometimes bring.

Half-day on-site, half-day remote

Another approach to hybrid scheduling that provides some consistency is the half-day on-site, half-day remote option. As the name suggests, employees split their workdays between environments, spending half of their time in a physical office setting and the other half working remotely. Often, employees will work with management to choose which half of their day they’ll work in either location ahead of time in line with both their own preferences and the business’ current needs.

One of the strengths of this particular hybrid model is its adaptability to different job roles and responsibilities. Positions that require both individual focus and collaborative input on a daily basis can benefit from the structured daily combination of on-site and remote work. It also empowers employees to leverage the strengths of each setting without compromising on either.

Optional on-site days

There are some businesses that can practically give their workers a greater amount of freedom. For these companies, the optional on-site days hybrid work schedule introduces a high degree of flexibility that enables employees to choose when to work in the physical office and when to opt for remote work. There is very little structure in this model, though some companies will insist on at least a couple of days in the office each month.

This approach thrives on how much trust it places in its employees. When companies select this hybrid schedule, they’re telling their workers that they have a great deal of belief in employees’ ability to self-manage their workloads in a way that stimulates productivity. Similarly, it relies on workers to know when in-office days can be valuable to them, their colleagues, and specific projects. With a self-driven workforce and protocols in place that ensure remote and in-office employees are fully supported, this method can really pay off.

Benefits of Adopting a Hybrid Work Schedule

Adopting a hybrid work model can represent a big shift for both businesses and workers that can require a period of adjustment. So, why invest in implementing one at all? Well, a hybrid schedule can hold multiple benefits. 

These include:

  • Increased productivity: One of the main pluses of a hybrid work model is the potential for greater productivity. By providing employees with the flexibility to choose their work environment based on their preferences, organizations are effectively empowering individuals to optimize their productivity. Employees can often tailor their schedules to align with their most productive hours or what space fits the tasks they’re performing, resulting in improved focus and efficiency.
  • Enhanced work-life balance: Working remotely for a portion of the week reduces commuting time and offers employees more control over their daily schedules. This additional flexibility enables workers to better manage personal or family commitments. The result is often reduced stress and improved overall well-being. 
  • Cost savings for both employers and employees: In some cases, hybrid work schedules can result in substantial cost savings for both employers and employees. When fewer workers are in the office at any given time, this tends to reduce office space requirements. This gives companies the freedom to downsize their real estate commitments and costs. On an individual level, workers often benefit from decreased commuting costs and other work-related expenditures.

Wrapping Up

Rather than insisting on purely remote or in-person operations, a hybrid work schedule can offer the best of both worlds. Nevertheless, it’s important for businesses to take the time to carefully review each hybrid schedule model to establish which is likely to be most suitable for the company’s unique needs. Similarly, workers seeing job postings with hybrid schedules should make enquiries about what this means to the specific business or role, so they can make informed decisions about whether the methods mesh with their needs. With some planning, communication, and collaboration, hybrid schedules can be a powerful tool for everyone involved.

Founder : Wherever I May Work | Website | Other Posts

Jared has worked remotely for 15 years in various marketing capacities, and has managed hundreds of marketing campaigns along the way. He has held freelance, agency, and in-house positions for companies large and small.

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