Hello lovely people ! I'm Amber, a 3rd year Psychology student currently on placement at both the Centre for Family Research and Cambridge Babylab, both part of the University of Cambridge. This blog post is all about hybridised working - that is, being able to work either in an office or at home.
Double hybridised working is an absolute mouthful of a phrase, I am very aware - but it is still the fastest way to explain what I do. Otherwise, I end up in a mumble of "Okay so I am actually a University of Bath student, but I'm here in Cambridge on placement with the University - which one? Oh the University of Cambridge, not ARU (Anglia Ruskin University), but most of my housemates are at ARU. Yeah they're nice! I'm really surprised I thankfully got to move in with nice strangers. Where was I? Oh - yeah so I work at the Centre for Family Research (CFR) - on Free School Lane? Yeah, kinda near the Downing Site? AND the Babylab - but I do a lot of stuff for that at the CFR or at home. What do I do? How much time do you have?".
TLDR - I got two placements at Cambridge - the Centre for Family Research and the Cambridge Babylab (cool right!) and I can either go to the Centre to work (but not the Babylab, space is a premium with COVID regulations), or do stuff at home. Blessed be the VPN.
So, how do I handle it ?
With lots of planning.
It is quite easy to work out what you can and can't do from home. If you need to frequently refer to documents in a locked cabinet only you have the key to because it contains sensitive information, then you better go in. If you are doing social media managing, online meetings, and reading then a day at home is key. I'm also quite lucky in that the working environment is quite relaxed in that, if needed, I could pop in for a few hours to do what I needed with the sensitive information, and then pop back home to do everything else (though, lets be honest, have you seen the Cavendish buildings ? They're gorgeous, the CFR is amazingly decorated and the heating is at the perfect level. Why would you only go in for a little bit?).
Nonetheless, I can, and sometimes do, find myself needing just ONE thing that simply can't justify the time it would take to get to the office and back - this is frustrating at best, but if it doesn't have a looming deadline, there is ALWAYS something else that needs to be done, and so you can simply shift them about.
Flexibility is so important
Overall, the absolute best bit about hybridised working is the flexibility of it all. I can much more easily handle my energy and workload by splitting days - something that is amazingly important to me as a disabled student, and easily the thing I was most frightened about when coming onto placement. If I'm photosensitive, I can use my screen-reader to get through reading. If my energy means I'm tripping over a lot, I can work on and around my bed for any kind of soft landing. If you need a separation between home and work, you can contain it all in the office. How brilliant is that?