The Covid-19 pandemic forced the introduction of plenty of creative solutions to coworking in the lockdown era. Almost overnight, and with literal lives on the line, companies around the world had to fundamentally change the way they did business to accommodate social distancing protocols and quarantines. Two years on, many businesses have grown accustomed to Work From Home business models—so much so that the vast majority of American workers prefer working from home at least some of the time.
With vaccinations readily available and improved safety measures in place, the, at least, partial return to the office seems inevitable. However, since most American employers approve of partial WFH schedules as well, managers now have the unique opportunity to implement the best work schedule for increased productivity and work/life balance for their staff. One of the most popular burgeoning hybrid work models is the “3/2 Split.”
What Is The 3/2 Split Model?
Put simply, the 3/2 Split or the 2-2-3 Work Schedule refers to the idea of working three days of the week in a physical office space, two at home, and having two off on the weekend. In May of last year, Google CEO Sundar Pichai described how the company would move to what is essentially a 3/2 Split model, resulting in “a workforce where around 60% of Googlers are coming together in the office a few days a week, another 20% are working in new office locations, and 20% are working from home.”
The 3/2 Split provides for flexibility that workers value while allowing optimal time for person-to-person collaboration in an office environment. With 80% of workers preferring to have at least some time in the office, the 3/2 Split allows for the kinds of personal interactions that contribute to team cohesion, without the kinds of depersonalization that can happen in a fully remote work environment.
Other Types Of Hybrid Shift Scheduling
The 3/2 Split could be described as an “office-centric” model, as employees spend more days in the office than out. However, other types of flexible scheduling include “Remote First”, which may only include one day per week in the office; “Half and half” which split the time evenly; or even block schedule that allows for three weeks of office work followed by a full week of remote work.
Hybrid schedules are meant to give workers and managers alike more control over their work environment according to the unique needs of the business and workforce. It’s important to gauge those needs while implementing a rotating shift schedule, so here are a few things to consider when deciding what would work best for your company.
If your business requires a decent amount of real-time collaboration, a Remote First model might not work best. Start by thoroughly assessing the responsibilities of your employees as well as their personal needs for scheduling and decide which roles can be done from home. If the balance falls more strongly in favor of in-person or WFH tasks, it may be a helpful guide in deciding which type of schedule to implement.
Consider Equity Among Your Workforce
While employees prefer the lowered expenses and commute times of working from home, many also recognize that isolation from the office can leave them feeling overlooked in a professional sense. This is especially true of fully remote workers—which are historically more likely to belong to marginalized groups like people of color and working mothers. Consider the access your staff has to the office space when deciding how often they are required to come in to avoid prioritizing those in the closest physical proximity.
Rethink the Office Leadership Paradigm
It’s tough to run a truly hybrid office when employees think they need to be in the building to get the boss’ attention. Management staff themselves might want to consider an appropriate amount of WFH days to better increase their own productivity while avoiding the appearance of office favoritism. Considering the office as more of a collaborative meeting space instead of the stage of corporate hierarchy can lead to more productive use of space and time—both inside and out of it.
How To Manage A 3/2 Split Office
The benefits of a hybrid schedule have already been documented but managing the comings and goings of your entire workforce at different times can get complicated. For example, a 3/2 Split office requires your employees to be in the office three days per week—resulting in an empty office the other two days. That empty space can be costly in terms of rent and building upkeep.
Incorporating a Rotating Shift Schedule, where certain groups of employees come to the office on certain days, means businesses can downsize their office space to real estate that only needs to house, say, 40% of their workforce at a time. The resulting savings in rental prices alone can be worth the switch, but how do managers ensure that everyone is where they are supposed to be?
With the addition of Smart tech, office managers can monitor how office space is used in real-time, relying on workplace management with occupancy data. R-Zero’s office motion sensor counter uses PIR and ai-based thermal technology to sense when someone is present in a workspace or cubicle, and even provide accurate headcounts for how many people are using a room at a given time—all completely anonymously.
With this kind of data, managers can keep track of a Rotating Work Schedule, verifying office occupancy and tracking unused space in real-time—even if they are working remotely themselves. Systems like this can help implement 3/2 Split Schedules or other hybrid models while minimizing the learning curve that is natural with a company-wide change.
Doing What’s Best For Your Business
Like many changes over the past few years, the shift to hybrid scheduling may seem sudden and huge, but employees and managers alike have the choice to see a new way of working as an opportunity—one that can provide a better standard of living and increased productivity all at once. With the right kind of data, technology, and communication with your workforce, your company can invest in a new way of getting your work done.
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