More businesses than ever are waking up to the benefits of a hybrid workforce. While the hybrid approach differs significantly from the remote model, it does enjoy many of the same perks. However, any business that wants to make the most of this modern way of working needs to get a handle on managing hybrid team members, which does differ from managing remote teams.
While companies can look forward to lower operational costs and increased levels of employee engagement, scheduling, and communication can prove difficult. Thankfully, understanding how to manage a hybrid team is fairly straightforward.
What Are Hybrid Teams?
A hybrid workplace brings together in-house employees with those who work remotely. For many companies, it’s a fairly new and untested work environment, although other organizations have been using the remote work model for years.
Some employees will work exclusively from home, while others will only ever work from their desks in a traditional office. Others will spend some of the time working in an office and the rest of their schedule as part of a remote team.
There’s often confusion about what constitutes remote work and hybrid working. In the case of a remote company, there may not even be a conventional head office, with every department represented by online employees working from home. Things also deviate when it comes to managing hybrid teams. It’s fairly easy to keep tabs on remote teams, with set schedules and clear expectations. With a hybrid workforce, tasks are shared between locations, and performance and productivity need to be carefully considered and reviewed.
Pros and Cons of the Hybrid Environment
The hybrid working model has many advantages. For starters, employee engagement tends to be higher, with many workers enjoying a healthier work-life balance. When properly managed, hybrid working can also lead to a more attractive company culture that can make a business far more competitive. Companies that utilize a hybrid model can also benefit from lower running costs, even if they’re maintaining an in-office operation.
However, hybrid working isn’t without its pitfalls. Without strong leadership, team collaboration can suffer. When dispersed teams are working on a single project, this can compromise deadlines and put corporate reputations on the line. Furthermore, many employees who work remotely don’t know how to manage their time effectively. Without clear hybrid workplace policies in place, it’s easy for employees to push themselves past their limits, leading to high levels of burnout. To avoid burnout, make sure to schedule regular team building meetings such as a virtual team trivia meeting, team happy hour meeting, and virtual holiday party.
10 Ways to Effectively Manage Hybrid Teams
You might think you have everything required to effectively manage a hybrid team, but things aren’t as simple as regularly checking with your employees via an email chain. For the hybrid model to really work, you need to address many different points before you’re ready to reap the benefits.
1. Set Clear Goals and Expectations for Hybrid Workers
If you want a hybrid work model to succeed, you need to be upfront with employees about what’s actually expected of them. They need to have a clear handle on project goals and deadlines, with regular virtual meetings helping with this. Check out these daily huddle tips, as well as best practices for a successful virtual meeting.
Many businesses are fairly flexible when it comes to allowing employees to choose their own working hours. While this can help employees achieve a healthier work-life balance, it’s a good idea to set some regular hours where everyone’s working at the same time and contactable. To avoid any communication gaps, reach out to employees and encourage them to suggest topics that can be added to meeting agendas. We also have tips on creating a healthy remote work culture.
2. Encourage a Culture of Sharing
No matter whether your business has shifted to hybrid working or you’ve always used remote workers, there’s a good chance that your employees will have varying approaches to the way they work. This is understandable, with employees often having wildly different career histories and experience levels.
However, you need to focus on creating synergy when relying on a dispersed workforce. As such, encouraging collaboration is critical if you want your operation to succeed. Once again, it’s essential that you let your employees know that their thoughts are valued. As well as keeping the communication channels open, you can be confident that you’re always selecting the best talent for the right jobs.
3. Create a Culture of Trust
To achieve success, your company culture should be built on a foundation of trust. Employees need to have faith in the abilities of their colleagues and managers. What’s more, remote and hybrid teams need to feel confident that they can communicate with colleagues, safe in the knowledge that what they’ve said won’t be passed on without them knowing.
Another way to achieve a degree of trust within your organization is to avoid the urge to heavily monitor your teams. While some monitoring tools may be essential for keeping track of progress, too much monitoring can have an adverse effect and put a dent in productivity levels.
4. Make a Hybrid Workplace an Inclusive One
You might be operating virtually, but you should still make your workspace an inclusive one. While there’s typically less variety between skill levels with a virtual hybrid team, everyone still needs to feel independently valued and as integral as the next person. A simple way to embrace inclusivity is to regularly applaud success with recognition initiatives and incentives.
5. Focus Less on Hours Worked and Concentrate on Progress
Hybrid and remote teams tend to work more flexibly than their in-house counterparts. However, many managers and project coordinators focus too much on the bottom line and lean on monitoring tools. These can certainly be useful, but there’s a tendency to focus on metrics like hours worked, rather than actual output.
Instead of seeing a red flag at fewer hours worked, focus on how much work an individual has delivered. Remember, workflows are going to vary considerably between those working virtually. You can’t always account for the different ways employees take notes or perform everyday administrative tasks.
6. Use the Right Software Communication Software and Collaboration Tools
Hybrid working models can be a successful enterprise, but they do involve running simultaneous workflows that include in-office workers, remote team members, and those who fall in between the two. Many collaboration tools can simplify a virtual workspace, making it easier to manage hybrid teams and monitor progress.
While an overreliance on virtual meetings can lead to so-called Zoom fatigue, they’re still an indefensible tool for any hybrid workplace. If you’re looking for a reliable video conferencing platform for hosting daily huddles, weekly progress reviews, or monthly meetings, think about giving Gloww a try. With a host of interactive features and the ability to create custom meeting templates in moments, you have the perfect platform for every eventuality.
7. Introduce a Mentorship Scheme
Career development pathways are a must if you want to inspire loyalty and ensure you retain the best talent for longer. However, mentorship programs aren’t necessarily easy to implement if there’s a lack of face-to-face interaction.
However, don’t discount the idea of mentorship schemes just yet. You can adapt an existing mentorship program for hybrid workers relatively easily and introduce it during the onboarding process. Think about pairing a new hire with someone who’s already thrived in the virtual space. Alternatively, partner a remote worker with an in-house colleague to create synergy between the two halves of your organization.
8. Define Work Styles
Effective team management means understanding the way your employees are working. Defining this when you rely on a hybrid workforce can be difficult, but is by no means impossible. Use monitoring tools to gather insights and pinpoint those individuals who are excelling. You can use these as best practices to steer less proficient workers in the right direction. With just a few minor tweaks, it’s easy to get everyone on the right track and give productivity levels a shot in the arm.
9. What’s Your Hybrid Working Policy?
Employees who divide their time between a traditional office and home working can often find it a challenge to fulfill the requirements of their remit. In many cases, any shortfall is completely innocent and down to a lack of clear direction. To overcome this, establish clear guidelines with a hybrid workplace policy.
A standard document should cover things like which tasks need to be carried out in the office and which assignments are suitable for remote working. Do you wish your employees to be in the office for a certain number of days every month? Make sure this is clearly underlined. What’s more, you need to drum home the point of regular communication, outlining expectations when it comes to meetings and correspondence. You can be more flexible when detailing the specifics of remote work.
10. Ensures Your Teams Have the Tools They Need
If you’re experimenting with a hybrid model for the first time, it’s vital that you provide your teams with everything they need to complete certain tasks remotely. Do you need to provide any additional hardware or software licenses? Will employees need to have access to certain internet speeds in order to access particular pieces of software or online resources? If roles are customer-facing, such as sales positions, your teams may also need to access peripherals like communication equipment or VoIP systems.
The Future of Hybrid Working
The hybrid work environment is still a fairly new and novel concept. As such, the hybrid workplace of tomorrow is likely to look a lot different from the one we’re familiar with today. Going forward, expect more hybrid companies to prioritize professional development as businesses invest more in retaining talent. Company culture is also likely to change, with an increased focus on promoting inclusivity and transparency.
For many industries, the hybrid model is also relatively untested. While it can prove an effective option for some organizations, others have encountered considerable teething trouble. Some industry sectors may decide some roles are incompatible with hybrid working, while others are likely to realize that the ironclad arrangements they’ve had in place for years can be relaxed, opening up new opportunities for remote employees.
Use Gloww To Make the Most Out of the Hybrid Model
Are you embracing the hybrid model for the first time? If you’re having a hard time integrating remote teams into an in-office operation, you can overcome the teething trouble by using a reliable video conferencing platform. With Gloww, you have an all-in-one solution that will revolutionize the way you keep connected with virtual teams and remote employees.
Create in-depth presentations in moments with a wealth of readymade templates, including super fun ones such as Disney template, celebrity team adventure, the perfect vacation template, and more. There are more traditional templates as well such as brainwriting, pitch meeting, and quarterly planning template.
Alternatively, create your own meeting templates from scratch. You can keep things simple with basic video conferencing tools, or make things more collaborative with interactive tools and activities to gamify your get-togethers. You can get started with Gloww today. If you want to learn more about Gloww’s advanced features, why not explore our pricing tiers? Still have questions about the service? Get in touch with the team.