Maximizing Hybrid Work Productivity: The Best Work to Do at Home (Video & Podcast)

6 min read
Maximizing Hybrid Work Productivity

To maximize hybrid work productivity, any office-based activities must outweigh the burden of commuting. Hybrid employees should work mostly from home, especially on focused individual tasks, asynchronous communication, and video calls. That’s the key take-away message of this episode of the Wise Decision Maker Show, which describes the best work to do at home in order to maximize hybrid work productivity.

Video: “Maximizing Hybrid Work Productivity: The Best Work to Do at Home”

Podcast: “Maximizing Hybrid Work Productivity: The Best Work to Do at Home”

Links Mentioned in Videocast and Podcast


Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the wise decision maker show where we help you make the wisest and most profitable decisions. Today we’ll talk about the wisest decisions on how to maximize hybrid work productivity, specifically, what employees should do at home. Let’s talk about hybrid work and its productivity benefits. Now, we have researched it. Managers have an increasingly positive outlook and hybrid work productivity, regardless of what you might have heard about all the managers trying to force their employees back to the office. That’s actually not the case when you look at the data. So there was a University of Birmingham study of 597 managers that found that 52% agree that work from home improves, improves employee concentration, over 59% agree that work from home increases productivity, over 62% agree that work from home increases motivation, and over three quarters believed flexible working increases productivity, so clearly, and a bunch of the rest believe it has no impact. And so only a small minority believed that it decreases productivity, decreases concentration, decreases motivation. So clearly, we see that managers increasingly believe that work from home improves productivity, and especially line managers, the people who are closest to the employees. So line managers are more likely to see flexible work as a performance enhancer, that 71% Plus, where senior managers are still more likely than average, but quite a little bit less likely than line managers. So 65% of them see flexible work as a performance enhancer. So that means that we need to spend a little bit more time educating senior management on the benefits of flexible work. And it’s a little bit, you know, not surprising in terms of senior management, not being as close in touch with the kind of work in June that the rank and file staff are doing, who line managers are directly overseeing. And we know that hybrid work, flexible work has a positive impact on employee performance. So managers more broadly need to be educated about that. But they’re already increasingly realizing this. But how do we maximize hybrid work productivity? How do we determine what kind of tasks are best done in the office versus what kind of tasks are best done at home? We know that three quarters of US companies are adopting the hybrid work model. So it’s critical for the success of both individual companies on bottom lines, and the economy as a whole, for us to figure out what are the best tasks to be done at home and in the office? Now, why don’t we just let the rank and file employees and their line managers figure it out, that seems like a natural question? Well, because both my extensive research and experience helping 22 companies transition to hybrid working remote work shows that employees often fail to actually maximize productivity, and then use best practices to ensure success. There are lots of mistakes that they make in making hybrid work work. It’s because they lack understanding of what is best done in the office and what is best done at home, then due to laziness, and due to inefficiency. And it’s not necessarily the employees who are not realizing this often, it’s the line managers, supervisors who are not realizing this, and who are trying to get their employees to do the wrong tasks in the office and the wrong tasks to do at home. They’re trying to shoehorn traditional methods of leadership of collaboration, what they’re comfortable with, into hybrid settings, and that just doesn’t work very well. So the result is low productivity, engagement and morale, which harms the company’s bottom line and undermines employee wellbeing and career success. So what is the basic principle here? Well, we really need to think about minimizing commuting time, we need a hybrid work model that tries to focus on doing as much as possible. To minimize employee commuting time, office visits must be for a specific purpose, because commuting time is just empty, wasteful time. So commuting time involves a lot of costs of time, money and stress. And we see that there’s a hobble survey, for example, where 79% of respondents cite commuting time, the lack of a commute as their favorite part of working from home. And another survey from Zebra shows that over a third of Americans 35% are willing to take a pay cut for a shorter commute. And of those 89% are willing to accept an up to 50-20% pickup, which is pretty huge. Commuting time takes a while. So the average commuting time is over half an hour each way. So over an hour per day, in larger cities. 10% of Americans who commute over an hour each way that’s a whole lot of time wasted. And so we want to be thinking about how to address this problem in terms of time, but also in terms of money. So there were jobs and now flex jobs and Our stars accompany flex jobs that analyzed this question and found that there’s 12,000 that can be garnered in savings per year by working full time remotely. And how’s that coming about? What’s the 12,000 from? Well, their savings and transportation expenses, gas, car maintenance, barking, that’s expensive, then their savings on all the types of professional clothing and eating out that you have to do when you’re in the office. And there’s, of course, some additional costs when you’re working remotely like utilities and cooking. But these are small potatoes compared to office work. Now, we know that commute time harms productivity, so peer reviewed research links, longer commutes to lower job satisfaction, increased strain, worse mental health, bad for employees, bad for productivity, and bad for retention. And there’s a study by Oxford University, which found that happy workers are 13% more productive. And the University of Chicago study found that a third of the time saved from commuting, saved from a lack of a commute, is devoted to working on the primary jobs. That’s over 40 minutes per week. That’s a lot of time. Now, given that, what should employees do at home? And what are the right things to do at home, so that we don’t make them commute to the office for no good reason. Focus tasks, when you’re doing focus tasks, like let’s say you’re writing report, you’re doing some, if you’re designing or doing some design, working on marketing copy, working on programming, that’s best done at home, no question, there are fewer distractions, the vast majority of people, it’s best done at home because of this increased focus. And by the way, I’m talking here, in all cases, about the vast majority of people, something like over 80-90%. This is the case, but for some people, of course, who have different preferences, they will prefer to work in the office. But take it that 80-90% of people focus on tasks, that’s the best done at home. What about asynchronous collaboration, and communication, things like email, they take up a lot of time. So emails, other message processing, doing some various other tasks like editing, articles, editing, programming, things like that you collaborate with others, but asynchronously. So let’s say you do some editing or design, then it’s time for somebody else to do some editing on design, these sorts of asynchronous collaboration and asynchronous communication. There’s McKenzie analysis that 28% of the time of average knowledge workers is taken up by email. So that’s a lot of time that people spend just by email. And that doesn’t count slack, and so on. We don’t need to commute to do email tasks, we don’t need to do commute to do asynchronous collaboration, like when you’re doing some editing on the article or graphic design, and somebody else is doing some editing, or you’re doing some editing and computer code, and somebody else is doing some editing on computer code, that there’s no reason to do that in the office that’s best done at home. And finally, virtual meetings. So there’s no reason for people to come into the office, to sit in their cubicle or in their open office, especially that’s bad, and do a virtual meeting when they’re distracting others by talking. Now, there’s a Slack survey that found that two hours a day on average are spent in virtual meetings for the typical knowledge worker. And Stuart Templeton, who is the head of slack and UK said that commuting to the office just for the video calls is a terrible use of the office. It undermines employee productivity and happiness. So we can of course, think about alternative naans workspaces for non remote workers. So if there are some workers who have bad home offices, then employers should provide an alternative workspace who, for employees who don’t have that quiet comfortable home office, or who have difficulty joining work life boundaries, for example, they can provide office space in their office, so employees can come to the office if they need to do some work there, like on email and so on. Or they can provide co-working spaces. So whatever that is, but the large majority of employees I can guarantee to you will not take advantage of this because they much prefer to work from their home office. So maximizing hybrid employee productivity is something you really need to think about. And that involves making sure that office based activities when you’re requiring employees to come to the office, that these activities outweigh the burden of commuting, because most activities are the employee does, you know, if email takes up 28% of their worker time and average workers on the on the are for two hours a day in meetings, considering that, you know, out of an eight hour work day, that’s two hours, and so that’s another 25% of their time, that’s already over half their time and a bunch of the rest of the time 30% or so on or so 30 to 40% is taken up by the focused work like writing reports doing designs writing articles writing copy, only 10% of the time is taken up by more intense collaborative tasks 10 to 20% of the time. So most activities, the large majority are better done at home these focus tasks, asynchronous communication, and video meetings. So the substantial majority of time should be spent working remotely, something like what only one day a week on average is the right time for people to be in the office. And that’s how you maximize hybrid work productivity through figuring out what is the best work to do at home. I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the wise decision maker show. Please make sure to subscribe to the show wherever you check this out, and make sure to leave a review for the show. It really helps us improve the show and that helps other people discover the show. My name is Dr. Gleb Tsipursky. I’m the CEO of disaster avoidance experts, the future of work consultancy that sponsors the wise decision maker show and they look forward to seeing you in the next episode of the wise decision maker show. In the meantime, the wisest and most profitable decisions to you, my friends.

Transcribed by

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky was lauded as “Office Whisperer” and “Hybrid Expert” by The New York Times for helping leaders use hybrid work to improve retention and productivity while cutting costs. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. Dr. Gleb wrote the first book on returning to the office and leading hybrid teams after the pandemic, his best-seller Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). He authored seven books in total, and is best know for his global bestseller, Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019). His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 650 articles and 550 interviews in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, Time, Business Insider, Fortune, and elsewhere. His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, and other languages. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, with 8 years as a lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill and 7 years as a professor at Ohio State. A proud Ukrainian American, Dr. Gleb lives in Columbus, Ohio. In his free time, he makes sure to spend abundant quality time with his wife to avoid his personal life turning into a disaster. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on LinkedIn @dr-gleb-tsipursky, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Facebook @DrGlebTsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, YouTube, and RSS, and get a free copy of the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace by signing up for the free Wise Decision Maker Course at