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Five quick ways to help you create a happy hybrid working life

The traditional working week is long gone. Business psychologist Tony Crabbe tells Kate Wills how to perfect the balance between working at home and in the office

<p> Communication is key: keeping an open channel between employers and employees is vital</p>

Communication is key: keeping an open channel between employers and employees is vital

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By
10 June 2021

1. Check the tech

“There are some incredibly innovative tools out there to support hybrid working and engage people beyond the video call,” says business psychologist Tony Crabbe. “I use an app called Klaxoon which is like a virtual whiteboard where you can post notes, move them around and vote on each other’s ideas. I also like a platform called Social27 which is good for hosting big events and connecting people afterwards.” Then there is YonderDesk which creates an interactive floorplan of your office and shows who is working virtually and who is there in person. Employees can collaborate on the platform and ‘decorate’ their virtual desks.

2. Communication is key

“Employers and employees need to have open conversations about how they want the hybrid to work and what they need to feel supported,” says Crabbe. “If you feel your manager isn’t hearing you, can you talk to your peers or is there someone else in your organisation you can go to? We’ll also need to regularly check in with each other on this, as how we feel about the home-work balance might change over time.”

3. The Three Cs

“When it comes to planning your hybrid template, think about the three Cs,” says Annie Auerbach, author of Flex: Reinventing Work for a Smarter, Happier Life. Clarity — how can it work best for your life? Creativity — can you plan your week around childcare, circadian rhythms, moments of flow, the need for camaraderie and collaboration? And Conviction — making sure you have hard boundaries to your flexibility to avoid digital presenteeism.”

4. Create microbreaks

“We might initially find the office quite overwhelming so it’s important to intentionally set aside some quiet time in your day where you can go for a walk or be alone,” says Tony. “Equally, when we’re working at home we miss out on those natural transitions like the walk to and from the meeting rooms or the commute. Create those microbreaks for yourself by using an app such as Tomates which schedules in breaks for you and sends you an alert.”

5. Know your rights

During lockdown, many workers found themselves footing the bill themselves for setting up a home office, or using their own equipment. Conciliation service Acas says both sides should agree beforehand on how they should work, what equipment will be used and who will cover the cost. Employers may, for example, be willing to pay a portion of your broadband bill. HMRC says that some of the cost of working from home may be eligible for tax relief, such as business phone calls or the gas and electricity for your work area.