Hybrid Work Schedule Breakdown [2024 Update]

Hybrid Work Schedule Breakdown [2024 Update]

Portrait of Jessica Lark's Author
Portrait of Jessica Lark's Author

Jessica O

February 9, 2024


Feb 9, 2024


15 min read

Hybrid work schedule
Hybrid work schedule
Hybrid work schedule
Hybrid work schedule

The hybrid work schedule is gaining traction — and with good reason. Companies are finding that productivity is maintained, and both employee engagement and satisfaction increase with hybrid work.

And who wouldn’t want those outcomes for their business?

This article explores the different hybrid work models, the pros and cons of going hybrid, and some suggestions for successfully implementing hybrid work in your organization.

What is a hybrid work schedule?

A hybrid work schedule is a flexible working arrangement in which employees work part of the time in a shared office space and part of the time from a remote location.

Hybrid work schedules are becoming increasingly popular, with 40% of employees who could be fully remote opting for a hybrid schedule instead.

Employees who prefer a hybrid schedule but are required to be on-site full-time show significant reductions in engagement and overall well-being. They are also more likely to experience burnout.

Hybrid work offers employees flexibility so they can manage their work-life balance better, but it doesn’t remove the office environment from the work equation altogether.

Also, embracing this type of flexibility doesn’t mean an inevitable drop in productivity. In fact, about 87% of employees believe they’d be more productive if they could choose where they work.

What are the different hybrid work models?

There are four hybrid work models: remote-centric, office-centric, flexible, and fixed.

Four hybrid work models

Remote-centric model

A remote-centric hybrid work model consists primarily of remote workers. In it, a significant majority of — if not all — employees work remotely, but they might meet in an office on occasion.

The benefits of the remote-centric model include access to a larger talent pool. Since you don’t have to worry about employees coming to a single physical office, you can broaden your search to anywhere that works for your business.

You’ll also enjoy the reduced costs of providing shared office spaces. If you opt for fully remote, you can eliminate the costs of rent, utilities, office supplies, and furniture.

The remote-centric model comes with some drawbacks, though. While your overhead costs may be smaller, you must invest in robust, secure technology to support a geographically diverse workforce.

You may also notice fewer opportunities for collaboration. Without a shared space to gather in person, employees may find it more difficult to establish and maintain personal connections with their employees.

Office-centric model

The office-centric hybrid model is the opposite of remote-centric, focusing on employees working out of the office or from a shared workspace most of the time.

Office-centric businesses provide the most opportunities of any of the models discussed here for in-person collaboration and “water cooler” conversations. Employees are in the office more often, giving them more chances to meet up for spontaneous meetings or problem-solve over a cup of coffee.

The office-centric hybrid model comes with increased costs related to shared workspaces. You’ll need to ensure there are adequate meeting rooms, individual workstations, and break spaces. As such, you’ll have to allocate more of your budget toward overhead.

Office-centric schedules also limit employee flexibility. Since employees are expected to be in the office often, they may only have one set day or part of a day to work remotely.

Flexible model

The flexible hybrid model is, as the name indicates, flexible.

Employees of businesses that use this model enjoy significant freedom with their schedules. While the degree of flexibility they get comes down to the business and what works best for it, employees can typically select the days or hours they will be on and offsite.

Employers can expect to see benefits from using a flexible schedule. Employees may demonstrate greater engagement and stay with the company longer, for instance, reducing the costs of recruiting, hiring, and onboarding.

A notable downside of a flexible hybrid model is the challenge of coordinating office spaces to accommodate different schedules. If employees change their schedules often, managers may find it more difficult to allocate office resources appropriately.

In addition, employees who opt to spend more time in the office may get more “manager time” than those who work almost entirely remotely. This may cause tension, as the remote employees may feel that they’re missing out on promotions or access to other opportunities.

Fixed model

A fixed hybrid model offers employees some flexibility in their in-office and remote work hours but establishes a clear set of guidelines that have to be followed.

For example, employers may mandate a certain number of days per week in the office. They can then plan each week’s tasks accordingly since they’ll know who will be in the office and when.

Staggering the work schedules for different employees can also maximize the use of office space in the fixed hybrid model. You’ll also see opportunities for collaboration since employees have set times they’ll be on-site to plan for meetings and check-ins.

The major disadvantage of a fixed hybrid model is that employees have less control over their schedules. Following the established guidelines may cause frustration if it conflicts with their personal needs.

What are the different hybrid work schedules?

The good news about hybrid work models is that there are multiple options to choose from. Select the schedule that suits your company’s mission, needs, and goals. Even better, you can decide whether to implement hybrid company-wide or by team, department, or employee.

Here are some hybrid work schedule options:

2/3 schedule

In the 2/3 schedule, employees are in the office two days per week and working remotely for three.

This schedule helps ensure a good work-life balance. Employees have ongoing opportunities for collaboration since they’ll be in the office with their colleagues twice weekly.

Employers can set a 2/3 schedule as a company-wide policy. They can decide on the specific days that everyone must be in the office or allow employees to choose. However, if employees are allowed to select their time in the office, there may be challenges with scheduling meetings or allocating office space appropriately.

Real-world example

HubSpot is a highly flexible company that offers employees the option to work in the office two days per week and the rest remotely.

3/2 schedule

The 3/2 schedule is the reverse of the 2/3 schedule — employees head into the office for three days and work remotely for two.

As with the 2/3 schedule, employees enjoy opportunities for collaboration since they’ll be in the office with their colleagues for three of their working days.

And, like the 2/3 schedule, the 3/2 work schedule supports the work-life balance employees need.

The 3/2 and 2/3 are the most common hybrid work schedules. About 4 in 10 employees with hybrid schedules report to the office 2 to 3 days per week.

4 in 10 employees prefer 2 to 3 days in office

These schedules are also popular with management, especially if they can set guidelines for the on-site days.

Real-world example

Capital One uses a 3/2 hybrid schedule, with employees working remotely on Mondays and Fridays and reporting to the office from Tuesday to Thursday.

1/4 schedule

In the 1/4 hybrid work schedule, employees only work from home one day per week. The remaining four days are spent working in the office or out of shared spaces.

Employees can expect the most in-person collaboration with this type of schedule. Management will also find scheduling much easier, as staff will be on-site most of the week.

The 1/4 schedule will cost your business more when it comes to office space and resources, as you’ll need to account for more on-site workers throughout the week.

You may hear more employee complaints, too. The 1/4 schedule, with its reduced flexibility, could result in disengagement and higher turnover.

Real-world example

Salesforce uses the 1/4 schedule for its customer-facing teams.

50-50 schedule

Employees working a 50-50 schedule are expected to commit 50% of their workweek to being in the office. For the other 50% of the week, they can work remotely.

50-50 schedule balanced scales

The 50-50 schedule offers a high degree of employee flexibility, as employees have free range to select the schedule that best suits their needs. They choose which days they’ll work remotely for an optimal work-life balance.

This type of schedule gives management limited predictability about who will be in the office and when. This may lead to headaches with scheduling office spaces and higher overhead costs because you’ll need to accommodate personnel changes from week to week.

Real-world example

Microsoft allows employees to work remotely up to 50% of the time, leaving the “where” and “when” up to the manager and each employee.

Flex time schedule

With flex time, employees choose the days and the hours of in-office work. They might have to be in the office during core hours, such as 10 am to 3 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But, outside of those parameters, when they work in the office is up to them.

The flex time schedule offers lots of employee flexibility.

For example, people who come to the office on Monday may adjust their workday to avoid driving in rush hour traffic. Or an employee may choose to work in the office in the morning, head out to pick up their child from school, and then put in a few more remote hours in the evening.

Once again, this schedule makes it tricky to allocate office space and resources. Colleagues may find collaboration difficult, as there is minimal predictability for when they’ll see each other in the office.

Some businesses may even find this solution next to impossible if they rely on having a certain number of employees on-site at all times to manage the workload, interact with customers, or sell their products or services.

Real-world example

Spotify’s work-from-anywhere policy encourages employees to choose the location that suits them the best, whether that means sharing a space with fellow team members or working from the comfort of their couch.

Team-based schedule

A team-based schedule is as advertised. The teams themselves (or management) decide on their in-person and remote workdays.

Team-based schedules

This hybrid work schedule ensures ongoing collaboration. Team members who share their in-office and remote days may be more likely to meet project deadlines and anticipated outcomes.

It’s much easier to plan for meetings, too. If shared spaces aren’t available, a team might meet virtually during its remote days.

Team members working in alignment often show higher productivity, as they can brainstorm and problem-solve together when needed.

A team-based schedule also works well if you’re considering switching part of your business to hybrid. For example, you may decide to have the accounting, payroll, or customer service department work remotely.

If management leaves the scheduling up to team members, resentment could brew since stronger personalities might sway the work week to fit their personal preferences. In addition, some members may find it challenging to adapt to a new schedule if they change teams or departments.

Real-world example

Google offers a team-based schedule within set guidelines. The company requires employees to be in the office three days per week but gives teams the flexibility to choose the days that best suit them.

Manager-driven schedule

In a manager-drive schedule, it’s up to managers to develop the hybrid schedules that work best for their teams or departments.

Managers have the most control and flexibility with this schedule. They may find that it’s optimal for one department to be in the office just once per week, while another team might benefit from the collaboration opportunities of being in the office more often.

Managers with shift considerations might turn to a 2-2-3 work schedule to balance the workload. Or, if the number of hours employees work is a manager’s top consideration, then the 9/80 work schedule might work best.

The chief drawback of a manager-driven schedule is the time needed to compile the schedules themselves. You’ll need to balance the resources and spaces available while also ensuring you have the appropriate amount of staffing needed to ensure operations run smoothly.

You might notice employee frustration with this system, especially if employees perceive inequality among their schedules in terms of days worked remotely and in the office.

Real-world example

IBM leans on its managers to determine optimal hybrid schedules for their teams.

Remote-first schedule

The remote-first schedule prioritizes the remote work environment.

Employing remote-first staff means you have little to no overhead costs for shared office spaces. You’ll also enjoy access to a larger talent pool, as you can recruit and hire from anywhere your company does business.

Employees may find it more difficult to establish relationships with their colleagues without in-person time, however. You’ll also encounter scheduling challenges, especially when your employees work in different time zones.

Your company should also prepare for more technology- and security-related costs.

Real-world example

Grammarly focuses on the remote-first approach by employing workers in five different countries. They encourage employees to meet in person for two to four weeks per quarter to build trust and foster positive working relationships.

What are the pros and cons of a hybrid work schedule?

Now that you know the hybrid work models you can choose from, let’s look at the pros and cons.

Pros of a hybrid work schedule

Here are a few of the upsides of a hybrid work schedule:

Improved work-life balance and engagement among employees

Hybrid employees report having a better work-life balance.

Employee engagement high with hybrid work

Employee engagement is also higher for those working within hybrid or fully remote schedules. Specifically, you can boost employee engagement with the flex time, 50-50, 2/3, and 3/2 schedules, as they provide the best balance between in-person and remote work time.

According to Sir Richard Branson, Founder and CEO of Virgin Group: “First and foremost, I believe in flexible working. It is important that employers appreciate their employees’ work-life balance and give them the flexibility to work around their personal lives.”

Time and money savings

Both the employee and the employer can expect cost savings with a hybrid work schedule.

For employees, the time and money that goes into commuting is reduced. These savings can be significant, given the average of $5,700 per year employees lose from commuting.

Employers can expect reduced overhead costs for office space. These costs can be all but eliminated if a remote-first hybrid schedule is adopted.

Cons of a hybrid work schedule

It’s not all sunshine and roses. Here are some of the cons of hybrid work schedules:

Fewer opportunities for in-person connections

The biggest challenge of a hybrid work schedule is the reduced collaboration time. There are also fewer chances for informal office conversations, which makes building relationships more difficult.

Thirty-two percent of employees find virtual meetings less effective than in-person ones. There is also a higher probability that employees who primarily work remotely will feel isolated.

The 2/3 and 3/2 schedules help to minimize this problem, as they mandate that employees work in the office together for about half the week. Team-driven schedules are also a good solution, as they ensure in-person collaboration while also allowing employees to adapt their workdays to suit their needs.

Scheduling challenges

When employees are given more autonomy in making their schedules, the availability of resources and shared spaces can be affected. It’s much trickier to plan meetings if schedules are continually shifting.

If the hybrid work model doesn’t apply to all company members, resentment and frustration may build.

Manager-driven and set workday schedules, such as the 3/2, 2/3, or 1/4, can help to avoid this.

Consider advice from George Penn, Vice President at Gartner, when deciding whether to go hybrid: “Success in a hybrid work environment requires employers to move beyond viewing remote or hybrid environments as a temporary or short-term strategy and to treat it as an opportunity.”

How do you switch your company to a hybrid work schedule?

Here are some tips you can use if you’re ready to start implementing a hybrid work schedule:

Steps to a successful switch to hybrid

Decide which schedule type makes the most sense for your company

Manager-driven schedules make the most sense If you are in retail or restaurant management. While most of your staff will be on-site full-time, accounting and payroll could work remotely.

If you’re in consulting or finance, determine whether your employees can split their time in the office and at home. Would a 50-50 or team-driven schedule work better for them?

Determine how much office space you’ll need to accommodate workers

If on-site time is required, carefully consider all the spaces you’ll need for your employees to be successful in their tasks. These include individual workstations, break or quiet rooms, and meeting spaces with the technology to support remote/hybrid workers.

Look at who will be on-site and when so you know how much space to allocate.

Start on a trial basis

If you’re implementing a new hybrid schedule, why not select a team or department to roll it out with? This will give you the chance to evaluate how effective hybrid is and work out the kinks before making company-wide or long-term decisions.

Set clear expectations and transparent processes from the get-go

Ensure your employees have access to the guidelines around hybrid or remote work, including its rationale, goals, and objectives.

Clearly outline whether certain employees, teams, or departments aren’t permitted to shift to hybrid to ensure clarity.

How can Lark help you implement a hybrid work schedule?

If you’re transitioning to a hybrid work schedule, you don’t have to do it alone.

Lark subscribers enjoy many benefits that help them implement and maintain a successful hybrid work model.

Even better, Lark has a host of free features that you can access right away.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • Lark Base is the perfect place to get started. You’ll have everything you need to collaborate, schedule, and share documents using one platform.

  • Messenger lets your hybrid team members connect easily through its shared chat feeds. It encourages collaboration, connecting with email, calendars, and tasks to keep everyone on track without having to leave the chat.

  • Meetings can help you schedule and hold virtual meetings from any device. This feature also saves you valuable time by transcribing all meetings for asynchronous members to access later.

Meetings also encourages cross-cultural collaboration, offering subtitles for native English, Chinese, and Japanese speakers.

Once you’ve decided on the perfect hybrid model for your business, make scheduling a breeze with Lark’s free templates. Check out the Shift Schedule Template, the Staff Schedule Template, or the Scheduling Matrix Template to get started.

Whether you employ knowledge workers or are involved in retail management, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of Lark.

Start your seamless transition with Lark

The hybrid work model has distinct advantages, including increased employee engagement and satisfaction, reduced turnover, and lower costs.

If you’re ready to make the shift, evaluate the various models to determine the best fit for your business. Narrow down your office space needs, then roll out the new schedule on a trial basis to see where you need to make adjustments.

You can make the process even easier with Lark, an all-inclusive platform that puts everything at your fingertips. With Lark, you won’t have to shift between apps — instead, you’ll find everything you need within easy reach. Plus, Lark’s free templates, such as the Scheduling Matrix, will allow you to stay on top of employee schedules with ease.