In recent years, hybrid working has become the norm in many parts of Australia. Many of us now enjoy a flexible working arrangement, splitting time between being in the office for a few days and the rest spent doing work from home. 

Recent studies have shown that most employees (88%) agree the flexibility to work from home or the office has increased their job satisfaction, and three-quarters of respondents say their work-life balance has improved as a result of hybrid or remote working despite dedicating more time to their jobs.  

But sharing your time between a cubicle at work and the home office wedged in the corner of your bedroom isn’t without its challenges. Mentally, it can be difficult to switch between two offices, while physically there’s always the risk of a forgotten charger or misplaced diary. 

If you're hybrid working, these productivity and lifestyle tips can help you get the balance right.

SEE ALSO: Home Office Ergonomics: A How to Guide

Structure Your Day to Suit Your Work Environment

Four adults sit on office chairs in a collaborative breakout space, surrounded by workplace equipment.

To make the most of peaceful home and collaborative work environments and to get the most out of hybrid working, try to arrange for focused research or writing tasks when you work from home, then schedule meetings and brainstorming sessions for when you’re in the office, suggests Dr Silvia Pignata from the Centre for Workplace Excellence at the University of South Australia.

“We all crave structure,” she says. “It’s really important to structure your workday so you can do intensive, thinking-based tasks at home in quiet areas and more of the socialisation and teamwork tasks when you’re at the office.”

Clare Gleghorn, CEO of Bastion Reputation, also recommends being prepared to be flexible if an urgent deadline or drama with a client crops up. “When you're thinking about optimal performance and where you need to be to do that, think about it from your own perspective – but it's also just as valuable to think about it in terms of what the business needs of you.”

Set Up a Dedicated Home Office

Does your version of work from home mean from the kitchen table, couch or even bed? If so, it’s time to get serious about setting up a dedicated, ergonomically sound home office to make sure both parts of your hybrid set-up work for you.

That’s not to say you need a dedicated room of the home – a quiet, clutter-free corner of your bedroom or lounge room that you can set aside for the long term will do the job, says Silvia. “Have an area where you've got that work desk set-up,” she says, “so you don't have to move your PC or laptop and whatever you're working on from the dining table every night.”

Did You Know? Flexiworks, part of Officeworks, is an online platform helping organisations support their team to work from anywhere. As well as providing employees with access to equipment that sets them up for hybrid work, or providing new starters with everything they need for day 1, Flexiworks also offers advice and recommendations on products that assist in safeguarding the health and wellbeing of employees. It can also help enhance your existing Employee Benefits Program. 

SEE ALSO: How to Assess Your Home Office Ergonomics

The Right Desk Essentials

Shot of a male in casual office attire, visible from torso downwards, sitting on a chair with a backpack between his feet.‍

Organisation is key when hybrid working. Avoid purchasing double of everything, by ensuring you carry essentials – (which may include) pens, highlighters, diary and laptop – between both locations. Or have a supply in the office and at home. Making your set-up as portable as possible means you’ll be able to work no matter where you are and not have to fork out for two sets of everything when it's not necessary. 

Clare recommends equipping both of your desks with chargers, keyboard and mouse combos, second monitors, headphones and any other workplace essentials. “Think, what does my set-up need to be so I can effectively plug in and go at both ends?” she says.

Silvia suggests putting everything of which you only have one – your diary, presentation notes or printed documents – into a dedicated bag at the end of each workday, regardless of your location. “Use that bag and put everything religiously back into it so you can easily transport it from home to work, and vice versa.”

Make a Plan for Life Admin Tasks

Streamlining life admin is a huge advantage of flexible work arrangements, and hybrid work has the potential for even greater lifestyle benefits than purely working from home. Pop a load of washing on or receive a delivery in between calls when you’re at home, or go to the bank or buy a birthday present on your lunchbreak when you’re in the office. Hybrid working at its finest.

Silvia recommends planning ahead and matching tasks to your work location. “Whatever we can do to make our lives easier and manage our time better is just so important,” she says.

SEE ALSO: Office Desk Styling Guide: Hot Accessories Trending Now

Create Opportunities for Social Connection

Overhead view of a man and woman sitting at a table looking at a tablet, with phones, coffee cups and a camera around them.‍

We’re social beings and it’s important to build opportunities for social connection into your workday, whether you’re working in solitude at home or in a busy office. In the office, you might catch up with a colleague for lunch or have a face-to-face discussion. “You might go into a meeting room for a chat and have a side conversation on the way, or go out for a coffee meeting,” Clare says. 

When you work from home, it can be more difficult to interact with other humans. However, Silvia says maintaining social connections is just as important – especially as many people work three days in the office and two at home. “At morning tea or lunch, get away from your computer and call a friend or colleague to have a chat over a cup of tea or coffee,” she says. “Whether or not we're introverted or extroverted, we still really need that social connection.”

What To Try

This article was originally published in 2022 and has been updated.