Combatting the new normal: Hybrid working as an introduction to office life

By Catherine Devine, Senior Associate of HannawayCA
Entering the workplace for the first time on a hybrid basis? Check out my top 5 tips to combating the new hybrid working environment, engaging with your team, practical learning and remaining productive.
Combatting the new normal: Hybrid working as an introduction to office life.
In any circumstance, starting a new job can be nerve-wrecking but taking that first step into your chosen career, and getting settled into your new ‘office life’ can lead to next level nerves! Couple this with a global pandemic bringing in a new hybrid way of working and you have yourself the recipe for heightened stress and anxiety but don’t worry, this blog has been designed to help calm these anxieties for you start out on your new adventure.
Before I get started into my top tips for a hybrid working situation, there’s one piece of advice that I must share to anyone who is entering the corporate world for the first time- remember to enjoy the journey! There’s nothing more exciting than getting your first job. Remember the pride your felt when you first got that acceptance call? Keep that in mind on your first days on the job and as daunting as this transition can be, don’t forget that at some stage or another, every colleague, at every level once started were you are right now! When you’re starting out, every day is a learning curve- mistakes are part of the process of learning!
The pandemic has forced Companies to develop a new normal that only a limited amount of people are used to. Learning to split your workspace between two different places- the office and home- can be difficult at first. Are you mixing well with your peers? Are you making the most out of remote learning and training? Are you communication skills adequate when working remotely? Follow my tips for a helpful guide to dealing with a hybrid working situation.
  1. Create a suitable working environment at home
Depending on your agreed schedule, you could be working at home for days at a time and therefore, it’s important that your working space is comfortable with limited distractions. Each person’s working space will be different; however, it is key that you prepare your space before starting your days’ work.
I would recommend that your space has all the equipment necessary for you to complete your daily tasks. If you have everything in the one place i.e., pens, notepads, printer etc. then there is less chance of wasting time searching for what you need.
It has also be recommended that replicating your office area at home can help ensure that your are settled in the two places. The idea is that by having similar set ups in both working environments can aid with organization and boost productivity throughout your working day.
  1. Create boundaries when you’re working at home
When working at home, it is easy to find yourself working later or skipping out on regular breaks to continue working. It is also easier to get distracted by home life around you.  It’s important to set boundaries and creating a working schedule to ensure maximum productivity.
Keep your routine similar when working at home to your office routine. For example, get up at the same time you would on a day you’re working from the office and use your commute time to go for a walk, do some exercise or prepare for your working day; Schedule your lunch at the same time you normally would and regulate your finishing time to the time you would normally leave the office.
I would recommend keeping your working life separate from your home life. For example, when taking a break, change rooms. Use this location change the way you would a tea break in the office.
By using a similar routine and creating separate areas for working and home life, it will help to unblur the lines between work and personal time and ease any stress of combining the two.
In addition to setting boundaries, creating a plan is also vital to ensure that you are keeping up with your day-to-day task. Make use of your Microsoft Outlook calendar to plan out your week accordingly. I would recommend setting time blocks to build in focus time and regular breaks to ensure maximum productivity. I recently read a book called ‘Working Hard or Hardly Working’ by Grace Beverly and I couldn’t recommend it enough. The book details out helpful ways to organise your time accordingly and maximize your productivity.
  1. Communication is key
Communication is key wither you’re working from home or in the office. It’s important to stay in touch with your manager to ensure that you’re keeping up with day-to-day tasks as well as your on-the-job training. When starting out in any job, it is expected that you will have questions on pretty much everything! This doesn’t change when you’re working from home. However, your manager may not always have time to schedule in zoom calls or meetings, therefore, I would recommend asking that your manager and team share their calendars with you so that you can schedule in a meeting yourself to raise any questions you may have. Showing this kind of initiative will help you get ahead in your learning while also showing your management that you’re willing to learn.
  1. Plan your days: Make your office time more valuable.
Make use of your days in the office. This will be your only chance during the week to get face to face time with management. Your time in the office should be used effectively and efficiently. It’s a time that you should utilise to collaborate and learn from your management and peers.
In person time shouldn’t just be spent working on your technical ability but also learning how your management and peers deal with clients and other situations. Be perceptive and learn from how your colleague’s work.
So, arrange important training meetings and brainstorming sessions for the days you are in the office. Ask your manager can you sit in on meetings that would be useful for your growth within the Company and interact with those around you to learn the ways of the office.
  1. Don’t isolate yourself
Last but not least- Don’t isolate yourself! Not only is it important to connect to your peers and colleagues for business purposes but also for your own mental health. Rather than sending an email, schedule a video call or pick up the phone. With the approval of management, make time to schedule in some virtual socialising- wither it’s a 15-minute virtual coffee break or a Friday afternoon get together, by staying in contact with your colleague’s, you will be boosting their mental health as well as your own! Remember also, if you are struggling with working from home, reach out to management or colleagues for support.
Take these tips, make them your own and use them in a way that best works for you!