How to balance office and home working in a hybrid work world. 

New York Life | March 23, 2023

The pandemic changed how and where people work. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people primarily working from home between 2019 and 2021 tripled.1

Many employees are now following a hybrid working model, spending part of the week in the office, and part at home. The change has led to a number of employee benefits, which can include cost savings and family flexibility. But how can you make the most of today's new hybrid working policies?

Here are four ways to work effectively when working between home and the office.  

1.  Wake up right     

Working both from home and the office can mean different wake-up times and routines. Thinking about what will help stimulate your brain cells in the morning, so that you’re already in a positive mood before sitting down at your desk, can help your productivity throughout the day. 

At home, while you save time on the commute, waking up 15 minutes before starting work might not make for the most productive start. Sometimes a morning routine ─ drinking coffee, reading the morning paper, doing yoga, or going for a walk ─ can help you ease into the day and kick-start your productivity.

For the days when you go into the office, it’s always a good idea to plan how to kill that “dead time” on the commute. If you’re driving, listen to the radio or a podcast. But if you’re on public transport, you could take the time to read a book or check your emails.

2.  Plan tasks around your schedule

Some tasks may be easier to complete at home, while others are best left to the office. A quiet space at home, without distractions, may be preferable when writing a detailed report or making a string of sales calls. But it may make more sense for team meetings to be held on days when everyone is in the office.

Setting up a quick virtual meeting with a client or colleague is something that can be done in seconds rather than trying to coordinate schedules to meet in person. Virtual meetings have their place; however, as many discovered during lockdown, technical difficulties don’t create a favorable picture ─ especially on a business pitch.

3.  Dress for success

For those working from home, being able to wear a T-shirt and sweatpants rather than a dress shirt and khakis has its advantages. But if you’re asked to attend a video call, what’s the right attire?

Guidelines for virtual meetings should always be clear. In the same way a company might insist on smart dress for a face-to-face business meeting with a client, you should dress appropriately for a similar meeting online.

As for etiquette, it’s mostly commonsense. Just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean you can eat a bagel or fold your laundry even if you’re on mute.  

Also, context is everything. Internal video meetings with just colleagues may well be far more relaxed on what people wear than external meetings, where your appearance says a lot about your company and its values.  

4.  Connect and collaborate, online and offline  

Some people may prefer to work primarily from the office while others may favor working from home. Regardless of your preference,  a hybrid working model can help hone communication skills, increase versatility, and strengthen professional relationships overall. 

Working in the office can be great for connecting with colleagues face-to-face. It can have real benefits for team cohesion and collaboration. New recruits and even existing employees can often feel isolated if their colleagues or mentors are seldom present.

Remote working enables us to practice and improve our collaboration skills, even when our colleagues and clients are not physically present. This can add value to a company’s operations. Employees who can seamlessly transition from in-person to remote working are attractive prospects in the challenging job market.


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Media contact

Kevin Maher
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-7937