One thing that has become more evident over the past year is that a hybrid work environment is here to stay.
According to JLL’s report, more than 65% of office workers globally are looking forward to operating in a hybrid environment after the pandemic.
However, while a hybrid model provides greater flexibility and better work-life balance, it also poses a unique set of challenges for managers to lead their teams effectively.
So to cope with this hybrid management conundrum, here are five helpful tips for managers to ensure effective collaboration within hybrid teams. Jump right in!
1) Make Sure Every Team Member is Being Heard
Communication is the essential building block of a highly effective hybrid team.
It’s imperative to understand that your team members may feel isolated, especially those working remotely. Some might think that they are not being heard due to the gap bridged by the distance.
So as a manager, you should promote healthy interactions by giving each team member a chance to speak and present ideas in your team meetings whether in virtual or in-person forms.
For instance, you can begin your meetings by mentioning that everybody’s opinion holds equal importance. You can also raise some open-ended questions to encourage interactions.
Also, do not forget to value new team members. It’s highly likely that they get overshadowed by their more dominant colleagues or by co-workers who are physically present in the office.
2) Invest in the Right Tools
In theory, it is easy to say that remote work is a piece of cake. Apart from noisy neighbours or dogs barking on the street, inefficient tools can also be pretty frustrating while working remotely.
As half of your employees would be working remotely on their laptops in a hybrid model, ensure that they have adequate webcams, headsets, printers, a reliable video conferencing software installed or any other specific industry-related tools they need.
Also, invest in the right project management or productivity software for seamless collaboration between physically dispersed teams.
Surprisingly enough, some companies have installed inverters in their employees’ homes in countries with electricity problems.
Moreover, investing in the right tools is not limited to the remote workplace. You should also pay attention to the on-site tools and try to upgrade if required.
3) Try to Have Frequent One-on-One Catch-Ups With your Team Members
Frequent one-on-one catch-ups with team members can go a long way when it comes to the general well-being of employees. This means every face-to-face interaction with your team members when they are in office and not working from home is a valuable opportunity to strengthen relationships.
Do not miss these individual meetings as they provide you a chance to understand:
● How your team members are feeling?
● Are they being appreciated?
● How’s their work-life balance going?
Furthermore, showing up at these meetings will make your employees feel valued in your organisation or team, especially in the case of employees who are frequently working from home and who cannot have that little impromptu chat with you on the escalator ride up to the office as often.
4) Avoid Employee Burnout by Giving Them Flexibility on Their Schedules
Flexibility is of utmost importance in a hybrid work model.
Your remote employees might think they should work more as they are physically not present in the office. Similarly, your physically present team member might also put in extra hours as they are more visible to the management. Inevitably, this would lead to burnout.
So to avoid such an unwanted consequence, offer flexible hours for your team members to attend to other essential things in their lives. At the end of the day, a mentally healthy co-worker is a productive one no matter where he or she works.
5) Foster a Robust Team Culture
If your team is physically distant, it does not mean that they should also be distant emotionally and socially.
You can keep your teammates connected by creating a positive culture and perhaps even lead by example. Encourage them to collaborate in virtual or hybrid spaces and remind them to seek help from one another whenever needed.
Hybrid is the New Normal!
While a lot more can be written on managing and leading inclusive hybrid teams, the aforementioned tips can pave the path for you towards success in a hybrid environment.
Hybrid work is the new normal and is going nowhere for the foreseeable future. So as people managers, we should keep on honing our leadership skills to develop a strong culture and lead our team members effectively regardless of their location.