Since the pandemic, remote and hybrid models of working have become the new normal. It’s now standard for some team members to work part or full-time from home while others continue to come into the physical workspace.
For companies, managing this hybrid way of working can be uniquely challenging – but it offers huge benefits, too, to employers and employees alike. Staff members generally report feeling more satisfied in their role and better able to balance their home and work lives when undertaking their tasks remotely for all or some of the time.
Here are the top tips for successfully managing a company in the new hybrid era to help keep every member of your team happy, as productive as possible, and on the same page.
Make the Most of Collaborative Working Tools
The key to success is deploying an arsenal of effective collaboration tools that’ll keep your team in sync. Cloud-based word processors and editing tools allow team members to collaborate on the same document or file in real-time, while project management software can be used to allow members of staff to keep track of their assigned tasks and those of other members of the team and able to clearly view interdependencies and potential log-jams.
Use digital tools to allow for seamless one-to-ones and staff meetings: having video meetings with the team is a great way to stay in touch and gauge how your staff is doing. Video allows you to take note of body language, as well as what’s being vocalized, making it much more likely that you’ll pick up on a problem before it develops into something bigger.
Video meetings can also be used to gather the team for an informal virtual morning coffee break – this sort of non-work group interaction is good for morale and developing stronger connections in hybrid and fully remote teams.
Create Clear Policies
One of the problems that can arise in hybrid working environments is resentment or a disconnect between team members, with a divide growing between the employees office-based and those working remotely.
The most effective ways to deal with this are, firstly, by establishing great communication and collaborative process, as we’ve outlined above, and, secondly, by creating clear policies that every member of staff understands and subscribes to.
These policies should lay out work arrangements, job roles and responsibilities, and standards of behavior. Having a staff meeting to agree on these policies is an excellent way to bring the whole team on board.
Ensure the Resources are in Place
How employees access and use resources is likely to be very different in a hybrid work model as compared to in a company where every member of staff is office-based full-time. Starting with a company-wide survey of the resources available, what is and isn’t in working order, and what useful pieces of equipment are missing is a great idea as a jumping-off point.
From here, resources can be ordered as necessary and then either placed in the physical business location or distributed to those members of staff working remotely. As part of your regular check-ins with your team, ensure that everyone continues to have the resources they need to do their job.
Be sure, too, to build processes around resources (in terms of what’s available and how to ask for something that may be missing) into onboarding for new remote members of staff.
Be Mindful of Staff Wellbeing
While, for most people, remote working is a great opportunity to achieve work-life balance and get more done in a day, it can come with challenges; remote staff are more susceptible to feelings of isolation and could face greater stress levels as a result.
There are a few steps that managers and team leaders can take to help prevent this. Staying in touch regularly, both in terms of work meetings and the occasional personal check-in, is important, as is ensuring that your remote staff feels just as valued and ‘in the loop’ as your in-office employees.
Why not set up a fun regular virtual quiz evening or other events for your team? You could also consider introducing a weekly team newsletter to celebrate achievements, recognize great work, and share other stories.
You may also want to consider giving your team access to online courses for mindfulness or to courses that promote assertiveness, or collaborative work skills, to help them manage hybrid working and boost the skills they need to undertake their job successfully.
Creating a Happy, Hybrid Team
The shift to hybrid working is likely to require changes to almost all the ways your business operates, from the physical layout of your office space and the introduction of hot desks to the on and offboarding processes.
When deployed properly, the hybrid model can result in a lower turnover of staff, decreased costs for businesses, and happier employees – making it win, win, win. Having clear processes that cover every aspect of how your hybrid team will work is vital and can help circumnavigate problems that would otherwise have arisen.
Conversely, remote working may just offer you the opportunity to build a closer-knit and more connected team.