Over the past three years, people have grown accustomed to working from home.
Despite some working longer hours than usual, many people say the perks—more time with family, shorter or non-existent commutes, and added flexibility—far outweigh any shortcomings.
But the world continues returning to normal, and that means a return to offices.
90% of companies plan to implement return-to-office policies by the end of 2024—despite 68% of employees preferring a hybrid work schedule.
Working in person with your team has many benefits, including strengthening relationships with co-workers and clients, which can boost team morale and engagement, and make employees more productive.
If you’re lucky enough to have a hybrid work schedule, you may wonder: What are the best days to WFH? and What days should I work in the office?
The answer isn’t so simple.
Are You an MTFer or a WTFer?
There’s tons of advice out there on the best days of the week to work from home and go into the office.
According to Wired, there are MTFers—people who plan to go to work Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays.
Then, there are MTWers—people who work Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays and get the final two days of the week at home.
Finally, there are WTFers—people who work from home at the start of the week, and then show face for the final three weekdays.
But really, that’s only scratching the surface.
How to Choose the Best Days to Work From Home and Go Into the Office
According to Bloomberg, Mondays are popular WFH days for project-based people. Fridays, too, but for opposite reasons (it’s easier to end early and enjoy the weekend sooner if you’re already at home).
LinkedIn research previously indicated that Mondays and Tuesdays were likely to be the busiest days in physical workplaces—good for extroverts who want to level set for the week, but not so much for introverts who want to get down to business.
That said, a scientific study found that colleagues become less civil as the week goes on, indicating that Wednesdays and Thursdays were particularly bad days to work in the office, which may be important to consider if the people around you have a big impact on your productivity.
When Going Into the Office, It Pays to Be Strategic
When choosing a hybrid work schedule, it’s important to strategize.
“The rules are changing and so is the potential to exploit them,” says The Economist’s resident columnist on management and the world of work. “To flourish in the era of remote working, employees will need the cunning of Machiavelli and the tactical brilliance of Napoleon.”
For him, working from home on a Monday signals you might’ve been “drinking all weekend.” It’s a bit suspicious. Same with staying home on a Friday.
“To avoid suspicion, don’t pick Monday/Friday or Thursday/Friday as your remote combination,” he writes. “Tuesday and Thursday might be a good selection, as it means you will be at the office (and thus visible) every other day.”
If pulling a fast one on your employer isn’t your thing, the Wall Street Journal has some thoughts on how to get “the most face time with senior leaders” in their “Overachievers Guide to Hybrid Work.”
According to managers and leadership coaches, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are shaping up to be the preferred office days for employees. But they also suggest to “simply come in as much as possible” to maximize face time.
“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,” says Peter Cappelli, a management professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
Missing the Point
As Diana Wu David, author of Future Proof: Reinventing Work in an Age of Acceleration, tells Wired, there is no best day (or days) to go to work—it’s all subjective.
“The smart thing about the impulse to pick a day is simplifying [a] routine,” she explains. “But thinking more deeply about what individual teams, projects, or people need is better.”
When deciding when to work from home or go into the office, you should consider your team’s availability, when you work best, and how to maximize your time together, so you can focus on the most important tasks that require collaboration, and save your time at home for deep work (or when you need some flexibility).
When deciding what the best days to work from home are and which days you should work in the office, Elizabeth Grace Saunders, a time management coach writing for the Harvard Business Review, suggests asking yourself four questions:
- What tasks do I prefer to do in the office?
- When does my team need me?
- How can I maximize my productivity?
- When do I feel the least motivated?
Answering those questions should help you figure out the best days to work from home and go into the office.
Final Thoughts on the Best Days to WFH
As Amanda Mull argues in The Atlantic, the beauty of the hybrid work model is its flexibility and being able to choose what’s right for you.
“Being constantly forced to ask permission to have needs outside your employer’s Q3 goals is humiliating and infantilizing,” she writes. “By letting people choose their own office adventures, employees can gain back some of what’s sorely missing in… work culture: self-determination.”
That level of choice and ambiguity may seem daunting to some who have worked remotely over the past few years.
But, if anything, it gives you the freedom to focus on what really matters each day of the week—whether that’s working in the office with your team, focusing on a particular project at home, or building stronger relationships at work.