Welcome to the era of hybrid teams – where employees are given the option to work remotely as well as come into the office a few times a week or month. Some employees have enjoyed the flexibility of remote work and being able to tend to their children and other appointments during the week; while others are eager to get back the focus of working in an office next to their teammates. Many managers are finding themselves faced with figuring out the best solution for all employees – giving rise to the hybrid teams.
When companies adapt and cater to their employees’ needs, they see higher levels of productivity and profits. It makes good business sense for managers to keep working toward figuring out the best way to keep their employees motivated and happy at the organization. As managers work on developing a strategy for the ideal hybrid work model, they are faced with the challenges of how to manage and engage their staff in this new way.
Managing Hybrid Teams Effectively and Efficiently
To facilitate and effectively manage employees who opt for a hybrid work model, it’s important to have a strategy in place. Here are some helpful tips when managing your hybrid employees.
Set expectations and trust
Once you have set expectations about the logistics of how and where your employees will be working, it’s important to trust that they will do their jobs efficiently. This means you must avoid the urge to micromanage your team. Foster a culture of trust by evaluating the quality and efficiency of their work – not by how much time they spent sitting at their desk. You can set up regular meetings to touch base and clearly communicate expectations, goals, and deadlines.
Communication will be a crucial part of the process. It might take some time to figure out the best communication structure and how the team can communicate their questions as well as how you can keep everyone informed with updates on projects. When working in situations with remote and on-site employees, make sure every member of the team gets information at the same time. Make sure to adjust communication during meetings accordingly as well. For example, if there are any side conversations or other notes made offline, let your remote employees in on those details as well to ensure nothing is missed. Having regular check-ins is key to identifying what projects need to be prioritized and what the important deadlines are.
Make sure to also set up 1:1 meetings to empower and provide necessary feedback to your employees on a regular basis. Technology like video conferencing makes group meetings with attendees in different locations more efficient, but don’t let that replace the valuable 1:1 time (online or in person) with each individual.
After a year of working remotely, you now know that your team can be productive from anywhere. While you might have members of your team come in every now and then, make sure to keep this flexible structure in mind when prioritizing meetings and projects to keep in mind the employees who are remote. Remote employees should not be excluded from important meetings and news just because they are not physically there!
Focus on inclusion and equity
All employees, regardless of whether they choose to come into work or not, must be included and treated equally. Sometimes people may feel like employees who go into work are more productive, but this is not always the case. As managers, you need to ensure all your employees feel they are part of the team, especially if they are unable to go into the office with other members. This means having everyone on a zoom meeting for important updates or even making sure equal time is set up for 1:1 meetings.
Add an element of fun
Try scheduling social meetings and allow room for informal communication, when possible, to make employees feel connected outside of work. This could mean organizing a virtual meeting with all employees occasionally or give sometime during meetings to open the floor for themed discussions that are aligned with interests outside of work.
Your employees need to be supported and you need to make sure that you are paying attention to each member of your team. If you feel like someone has been acting differently or seems more stressed out, it might be a good idea to check in to make sure no one is feeling burned out. This can be tricky, especially when you’re managing a mix of employees, but showing that you care about their well-being will go a long way in helping them feel engaged and performing at their best.
Lead Your Hybrid Teams to Success
When it comes to adapting and changing guidelines in an organization, there will always be things that will come up that need improvement. Make sure to get feedback from your team and take some time to assess what’s working and what can be done better. Change takes time but can be worth it in the long run – especially if it means keeping your employees engaged, productive and less stressed when it comes to their work.