Success factors for the hybrid worker

15.12.2021

In the age of hybrid working – at home, on the road or in the office – you increasingly decide for yourself when and where you work. But the choices you make about this are important for your efficiency and productivity. We review a few tips.

1. Timing: when to work?

During the corona crisis, a new way of working imposed itself: asynchronous working, meaning you no longer have to be limited by traditional working hours. You define for yourself what you do and when. “As far as that’s concerned, I absolutely follow my own biorhythm. That means I try to do more intellectual work in the morning. Then in the afternoon as far as possible I opt for more social activities. These are also online,” says Joseph Roevens, a Belgian economics professor at Breda University of Applied Sciences. Naturally, Roevens doesn’t have his timing entirely under his own control: for example, he still has to give lectures at set times. “When I don’t have something scheduled, I divide my time according to my energy and attention. Generally, after one-and-a-half or two hours of intensive activity I go for a half-hour walk or a bicycle ride,” he says.

For Koen Blanquart, who works very internationally as a management consultant and start-up entrepreneur, time zones also play a role. As a “digital nomad”, he also offers tips on this in his recent book, Thuisvoordeel (Home Advantage). When you work across several time zones, it’s best to arrange for sufficient overlap for consultation with others. “I therefore recommend that European companies that are expanding to the US first establish themselves on the East Coast, where the difference in time zones is smaller.” He also has some personal tips. “Plan out your working day in advance, do the most important tasks first and be very conscious about taking breaks,” he advises. “And as soon as you shut the door of your office behind you, your working day is over.”
 

2. Place: where to work?

As a professor, Joseph Roevens works an average of two to three days a week on location at the university in Breda. “One or two days a week I work at home or in the city. I like to work in one of the relaxing coffee shops in Antwerp,” he says. “A good mix of social contact – and that can be either colleagues or strangers – with being able to work in peace and quiet is ideal for me,” he explains.

“An office is an excellent place to work together, and so it’s a place where you go in order to be disrupted,” says Koen Blanquart, who usually only goes there for meetings. “When I was in New York, I could only fully concentrate on work when I had my headphones on. My colleagues learned not to ask me anything when they saw them on my head.”

 

3. Technology: what works?

Roevens takes the usual approach: a good laptop and smartphone. “Plus apps like Microsoft Teams and Zoom, which I also use via a mobile app, are crucial for the job. Everything is reasonably user-friendly, but an ICT helpdesk is still necessary in case of any problems.”

Blanquart warns against overkill with regard to web meetings, a technology that has achieved its real breakthrough over the past two years. “Last year I spent more hours in front of the camera than many an actor does over his entire career,” he jokes. But video meetings don’t work, according to him, if managers want to keep a close eye on their employees. “They can be effectively used for what they’re actually intended for, namely solving problems. So make clear which problems have to be discussed at a meeting. And ask certain employees or colleagues to present reports.”

 

Want to know more about the new way of working and how you too can introduce it in your company? Then be sure to read our whitepaper “Your staff: unbound, always connected.”

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