Working life

Hybrid work and your first job

22 Jun 2023, 13:24

Work from home setup

Hybrid work first made the news during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, hybrid work has proven to be popular with employees, and most employers, and it looks like it’s here to stay. According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), 23% of employees had worked remotely at some point before the pandemic. Since the easing of restrictions, 88% of the people they surveyed wanted to continue working hybrid and 28% wanted to go fully remote.

It is likely that most graduates going into the workforce will adopt a hybrid working model at some point in their career so here are some tips on making it work for you.

The pros of hybrid work

  • It can benefit employee well-being by allowing more autonomy over their work, enabling you to work in a way that works best for them.

  • It eliminates the need to commute on some days, reducing costs and time spent commuting. It also allows you more flexibility in where you can live, you can choose to live somewhere with cheaper rent or stay closer to family.

  • It can widen the pool of opportunities for job seekers, making roles more accessible for candidates with a wider range of circumstances and those who live further afield.

The cons of hybrid work

  • A hybrid work arrangement isn’t for everyone – or every sector of work. Some people need the structure of a workplace environment particularly while they’re ‘learning the ropes’ of the job.

  • Not seeing colleagues in the office every day may make it harder to form work friendships. Being able to develop a social life with colleagues is particularly important if you have relocated to a new area and don't know anyone.

  • You might miss out on informal networking opportunities and on-the-job learning opportunities (by observing employees), unless you actively seek them out or your manager/HR actively facilitates them.

How to master the hybrid workweek

Find a suitable space to work: Separate your work life at home from your personal life at home. If you have to work in a bedroom or living area, pack away your work things at the end of the day to mentally switch off from work.

Get out of bed: No matter how tempted you are to stay in bed all day, put your work laptop on a desk and don’t just work in bed all day. This will create the right discipline.

Have the right resources: Check that your internet connection is up for the job. Make sure you have access to peripherals such as a mouse and a second screen if you need these to work.

Plan effectively: There can be less structure to a working-day-at-home. You may need to experiment to discover which time management and productivity techniques suit you best. Learn to prioritise tasks and take short breaks to walk away from your laptop when you can.

Don’t mix work and personal tasks: For example, avoid flitting from filling in a work form to a personal tax form. As mentioned above, draw a boundary between work and home life.

Accept that you may have to work harder to earn trust and to trust in return: When you are not in the office it is harder for your colleagues to see that you are delivering what you have been asked to and, conversely, for you to see that others are doing the work they have promised you. So, expect to give and receive regular work updates.

Do make sure you’re visible to your boss! Ensure you are seen to be online when you should be. Contribute to online discussions. Answer questions from your boss promptly, even if just to confirm that you have received their note, will look into the matter and get back to them later.

Ask for help and advice: Ask your co-workers for advice and opinions on your work. Just as you would walk across to someone else’s desk in the office. Don’t be afraid to ask a colleague for help or to talk you through a task.

Seek out networking and learning opportunities. You could plan a virtual coffee break with your co-workers to emulate the informal learning and socialising that would take place in the office. You could also ask a more senior colleague to act as a mentor if your employer doesn’t run a formal mentorship or buddy scheme.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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