How to Gameplan Your Office Days: An Guide to Hybrid Work
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How to Gameplan Your Office Days: An Guide to Hybrid Work

What days in the office will get you the most face time with senior leaders

By Patrick Thomas
Wed, Aug 25, 2021 3:18pmGrey Clock 4 min

Pre-pandemic, you were often the first to arrive in the office and the last to leave. So how, as an overachieving employee, can you make the most out of the new, hybrid workweek?

The rules for maximising office face time with the bosses are about to get more complicated as many companies gear up to reopen offices in the coming months. With Covid-19 cases back on the rise and many employees uneager to give up remote work entirely, many employers plan to let staff decide what days—and how many—they come into the office. For the ambitious worker, that means strategizing what in-office days will get you noticed the most and how to maximize the time to your career’s advantage.

The consensus among many managers and leadership coaches for companies where showing up to the office matters: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are shaping up to be peak office face time days. Mondays are for those looking for an extra jump on colleagues in getting more alone-time with senior leaders—though it isn’t a sure thing those managers will always be there. Fridays are arguably the most negligible, but a jackpot office day if it is just you and the top boss.

Or, you could follow this basic rule: “Your boss’s schedule is your schedule,” says Peter Cappelli, a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Another strategy, he adds, is to simply come in as much as possible. Though many companies say they are letting workers keep some degree of flexibility, it is inevitable that employees with the most in-person access to leaders will get the first crack at promotions, Mr. Cappelli argues. In a hybrid work world, those coming in as much as possible have another advantage: Plenty of co-workers will still be away.

“It’s better that other people are not there and you’re not fighting for attention,” he says. That is particularly the case if you tend to be more introverted. “You don’t have to go out of the way to make contact” with higher-ups, he says.

Others argue the old maxims of office face time no longer apply. To show off your talent and skills in person, it is better for employees to coordinate office appearances with their teams for optimal collaboration, rather than show up on their own schedules, says Cali Yost, the chief executive and founder of workplace-consulting company Flex+Strategy Group.

“Your success should be coordinating with everyone else,” she says. “An overachiever is defined differently as we move into the future. It’s not going to be who comes on site every day but the person who can work and lead effectively across different places and spaces effectively.”

Some companies aren’t leaving what days employees come into the office to individual ambition. Apple Inc.’s initial reopening plans called for most office workers to show up Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the option to work remotely on Wednesdays and Fridays. Those plans, first set for September, then pushed to October, have now been delayed until at least January because of the fast-spreading Delta variant. Salesforce.com Inc. discovered, after reopening its Sydney office, that Thursdays emerged as the most popular day for people to come in.

“Thursday’s the new Monday,” says Brent Hyder, the company’s chief people officer.

Mastering the hybrid workweek also isn’t just about the days you come in, but how effectively you use them, says Tsedal Neeley, a professor at Harvard Business School and author of the book “Remote Work Revolution.”

“It’s not just looking at people’s calendars and trying to run into them,” says Ms. Neeley, who argues that Thursdays—as the week’s work comes to a head—are likely to become the most popular in-office day in many workplaces. “You want to coordinate activities for the week whenever you have in-office days,” she says. That means using the days to set up coffee chats with managers, power lunches and project powwows with co-workers.

Francis Ndicu, a 26-year-old product manager at marketing-and-sales platform provider HubSpot Inc., went to the company’s Cambridge, Mass., office every day but Friday when it reopened in early July. By coming in more often than some team members, Mr. Ndicu says he was able to network with more leaders from other parts of the company he wouldn’t normally work with. To maximize the office time, Mr. Ndicu says he never eats lunch alone.

“Getting that face time, it’s a visual reminder you exist in the company outside of your team,” says Mr. Ndicu, who has since cut his office days to Wednesdays and Thursdays because of the Delta variant. “The next time they are thinking about a new project, you’re closer to the top of their mind than others.”

Keith Ferrazzi, an executive coach and author of “Leading Without Authority,” recommends scheduling 15-minute coffee breaks with the boss and other senior managers each week. Use the time to talk about your accomplishments while you were working remotely or to ask about side projects you could help with, he suggests. It is also a good opportunity to ask more personal questions—such as, how the children are doing—that can be neglected in a virtual setting, he says.

“If you’re really a go-getter, you want to do this for other people around the organization,” he said. “You can just ask for career advice or say, ‘Hey I’d love to have 15 minutes with you just make sure I’m aligning my thinking with your goals for the company.’ ”

 

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: August 23, 2021



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Global economic growth is becoming more broad based, with surveys indicating that business activity in both the U.S. and the eurozone gained momentum in May.

The eurozone economy contracted in the second half of 2023 following a surge in energy and food prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the subsequent rise in interest rates intended to tame that inflation.

By contrast, the U.S. economy expanded strongly over the same period, opening up an unusually wide growth gap with the eurozone. That gap narrowed as the eurozone returned to growth in the first three months of the year, while the U.S. slowed.

However, surveys released Thursday point to a fresh acceleration in the U.S., even as growth in the eurozone strengthened. That bodes well for a global economy that relied heavily on the U.S. for its dynamism in 2023.

The S&P Global Flash U.S. Composite PMI —which gauges activity in the manufacturing and services sectors—rose to 54.4 in May from 51.3 in April, marking a 25-month high and the first time since the beginning of the year that the index hasn’t slowed. A level over 50 indicates expansion in private-sector activity.

“The data put the U.S. economy back on course for another solid gross domestic product gain in the second quarter,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Eurozone business activity in turn increased for the third straight month in May, and at the fastest pace in a year, the surveys suggest. The currency area’s joint composite PMI rose to 52.3 from 51.7.

The uptick was led by powerhouse economy Germany, where continued strength in services and improvement in industry drove activity to its highest level in a year. That helped the manufacturing sector in the bloc as a whole grow closer to recovery, reaching a 15-month peak.

By contrast, surveys of purchasing managers pointed to a slowdown in the U.K. economy following a stronger-than-expected start to the year that saw it outpace the U.S. The survey was released a day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a surprise election for early July, banking on signs of an improved economic outlook to turn around a large deficit in the opinion polls.

Similar surveys pointed to a further acceleration in India’s rapidly-expanding economy, and to a rebound in Japan, where the economy contracted in the first three months of the year. In Australia, the surveys pointed to a slight slowdown in growth during May.

Businesses reported that they were raising their prices at the slowest pace since November, which should reassure the European Central Bank. However, the eurozone continued to add jobs in May, suggesting that wages might not cool as rapidly as the ECB had hoped.

The ECB released figures Thursday that showed wages negotiated by labor unions in the eurozone were 4.7% higher in the first quarter than a year earlier, a faster increase than the 4.5% recorded in the final three months of 2023

The ECB has signalled it will lower its key interest rate in early June, while the Fed is waiting for evidence that a slowdown in inflation will resume after setbacks this year.

Nevertheless, eurozone businesses and households shouldn’t bank on successive cuts to borrowing costs, ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos said. “There is a huge degree of uncertainty,” he said. “We have made no decisions on the number of interest rate cuts or on their size,” he said in an interview published Thursday. “We will see how economic data evolve.”

Continued resilience in the eurozone economy would likely make the ECB more cautious about lowering borrowing costs after its first move, economist Franziska Palmas at Capital Economics wrote in a note. “If the economy continues to hold up well, cuts further ahead may be slower than we had anticipated,” she said.

– Edward Frankl contributed to this story.

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