The danger of the office schedule


Max Shepherd-Cross


September 16, 2021

The world is moving to hybrid work, few people now dispute that. However, once you start considering how hybrid work will work for your company, things can get a little murkier.

A lot of companies are taking a top-down approach, mandating who should be in the office each day. This option can be broken down into two strategies: company wide and team specific scheduling.

Company Wide

A company wide schedule is when businesses announce that everyone should be in the office on certain days, for example, everyone must come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays and work from home the remainder.

There are two reasons why this won't work: firstly, it contradicts one of the driving factors of hybrid work, being able to work where is most productive for you based on the work you have to do that day. Each role is different, a marketer, a highly collaborative role, might benefit from 4-days in the office, whereas a junior developer, a role associated with more individual focused work, might only benefit from one. Adopting this model will result in an underperforming workforce. Secondly, having an office building that is empty 60% of the time (if they are only in 2-days-a-week) is incredibly wasteful.

Team Specific

Team specific scheduling is when a company mandates that particular teams are in the office on particular days. For example, the Sales Team might be told to come in on Mondays and Wednesdays, whereas the Marketing Team are told to come in on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This option is slightly better because it gives more flexibility to roles, sales might be scheduled in more often than finance for example. However, it still has two major issues. Firstly, it ignores the fact that the need to collaborate is not consistent over time. You might have weeks when you need to be in the office 5-days if you are preparing for a big pitch for example, whereas you might have weeks when you are much better off focusing at home. Secondly, this model results in certain teams never overlapping in the office, which is terrible for company culture.

So how should you manage hybrid work? We believe the office should be used on an 'as needed basis' and that 'need' should be determined by the employee. We call this employee-led hybrid work. It allows you to get the most out of your employees, whilst giving them the flexibility they crave.

Max Shepherd-Cross

Max is one of the cofounders and CEO of Officely.

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