Future of Work: Unstructured Workdays and Work-Life Balance

How Blended Workdays are Challenging the System 

It's no doubt that remote work has increased flexibility for employers and employees alike –– and with blended workdays, the way businesses operate has changed. Depending on your situation, there have been both positives and negatives associated with the lack of structure. 

To increase awareness about the concerns facing the workday structure, we will be discussing common issues that are arising, and strategies for navigating these changes. 

Common Challenges of Blended Workdays for Employers

For employers, it can be a challenge to define the new parameters of a workday. Here are a few challenges that leadership teams are faced with, and some ideas for how to tackle these changes.

Knowing When to Communicate with Employees

With employees working at all hours of the day, it can be difficult for managers to know the best time to communicate with each member of their team. For instance, night owls who do their best work late into the evening may spend more time working at night. This can leave some leaders torn on whether or not it is appropriate to reach out with work-related questions after traditional working hours. In the long run, this can trickle down and impact the dynamics of the team. 

What You Can Do About It: 

Talk to your team members on an individual basis and try to understand their schedules. Discuss what time of the day they perform their best and how they plan their day around that. Remember, blended workdays are all about flexibility, so do your best to trust your employees and remain open to their personal preferences.

Engaging Employees

From improving productivity and performance to increasing retention, employee engagement plays a critical role in various aspects of a business. With blended workdays, all members of the team need to get creative when looking for ways to engage with each other, and with their work.

What You Can Do About It:

To improve engagement, consider setting up regular “team time”. During this time, teams get together to build relationships, share new ideas or any problems they may be experiencing, and continue to evolve as a unit. By dedicating time to this collaboration, it will allow each member of the team to feel a sense of community and develop a connection with people other than a boss/manager.

To prevent disengagement and long-term exhaustion from negatively impacting your teams, schedule regular check-ins with them, virtually or in person. These conversations can help you get to know your employees on a deeper level, making it easier for managers to understand their employee’s goals, interests, and genuine experiences with the organization, and identify ways to support these wants and needs.

Also, encourage members to take breaks during the day, and vacation time where they are encouraged to disconnect completely. When employees know that taking time off is supported, it is easier for them to do so guilt-free. And when they return to work, they feel rested and refreshed, ready to perform at a higher level.

Common Challenges of Blended Workdays for Employees

While it may seem that employees are coming out on top in the blended workday era, they do still face a number of obstacles that can be affecting their engagement and satisfaction. Here are a few concerns employees are facing and how to address them.

Work-Life Balance

While work-life balance has definitely been one of the most talked about outcomes of remote or hybrid work, the way it manifests itself in each employee is different. Some have benefited from the flexibility, allowing them to create a schedule that allows them to do more of what they love, resulting in renewed employee engagement. 

On the other hand, there have been employees who have been unable to separate the two, and find themselves working longer hours, unable to ever truly disconnect from work. With home offices, which in some cases are in their own bedrooms, it can be even more difficult to detach oneself from work.

What You Can Do About It: 

If you notice that it's challenging for your team members to distinguish between work life and home life, encourage them to set clear boundaries. For instance, the physical environment they work in can play a big role in how they feel at work, and make it hard to completely disconnect and recharge. One way to help them create a more balanced space is by encouraging them to physically separate their workspace from where they tend to rest and unwind, such as a bedroom or living room. This will create both a physical and mental separation, making it easier for them to “log off” completely.

Another important thing to remember is that now employees are taking time out of their day for errands and other daily tasks. Because of this, it can be easy for managers to assume their employees aren’t doing the same amount of work. Establish your communication expectations so you can understand their schedule, and prevent misunderstandings and negative assumptions.


Burnout is a common condition in the workplace, yet it often goes unnoticed by leaders and employees alike. The first step is to learn the signs of burnout in order to recognize them in your own team. Then, have the necessary conversations to dig deeper and learn exactly what steps you can take to alleviate their situation. 

What You Can Do About It: 

Since the onset of burnout can creep up without an employee even realizing it, it is important to regularly evaluate how each of your employees feels at work, maintaining open dialogue and asking them about their biggest challenges or where they could use extra support. These personal check-ins can help you to identify where burnout or disconnects may be growing, and what changes would be necessary in order for them to feel engaged and accomplished in their role.

In many situations, employees feel as though they are not being challenged enough, and taking a new position with more responsibility could help them regain motivation. By looking internally for high-potential employees to develop, you can reduce turnover and the costly effects on your bottom line. 

Key Takeaways

  • In the end, helping your employees find their flow in the era of blended workdays requires proactive and clear communication from both management teams and employees.

  • To streamline this shift, establish a plan that outlines clear expectations to keep everyone connected and hold each other accountable.

  • Check in regularly and discuss what is working well and what needs to be adjusted to make the situation successful for both parties.

About Kinsley Sarn

We are an executive search firm with offices in Indianapolis and Denver, specializing in executive recruitment services. With more than 15 years of experience and 23 industries served, we have the expertise you are looking for in a partner. Our skills help you build and develop your leadership teams, ensuring they can respond to industry changes and drive meaningful results. 

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