In today’s world of work, hybrid teams are the new norm. A hybrid team comprises some employees who work from the office (or other physical premises) while some employees work remotely. This set-up, largely brought about as a consequence of the pandemic, seems here to stay and can offer both a business and its employees many benefits.
However, managing a hybrid team comes with its own set of challenges, too: maintaining staff retention and productivity levels are two of the major ones that we’ll focus on below. Use the tips to help navigate your hybrid team through the issues that this way of working may throw up to make for a happy and more productive workforce.
Make Collaboration Easier
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as the manager of a hybrid team is figuring out how to ensure that all your staff members can work together effectively and efficiently, whether they’re based in the office or at home. Great communication improves everything from productivity to employee work satisfaction, so it’s worth going all out to get it right. Luckily, however, putting in place the systems your team will need to collaborate effortlessly is easier than you may think.
Begin by looking at the platforms and apps your team uses regularly and think about how these promote the best communication possible when deployed by a hybrid team. Consider switching to apps, platforms, and clients that could better serve your team’s needs. For example, the Spike best email client is a feature-rich email app that is designed to help a remote workforce or hybrid team manage their workflow effortlessly and enable colleagues collectively to meet, chat, edit documents, and brainstorm. Users can go from instant messaging-style emailing to video meetings or voice notes in-app, with no need for the hassle of switching between platforms or accounts.
Look at all of the devices, software, and apps your staff uses, and assess each for the quality of the collaborative opportunities they offer.
Make Parity a Priority
This is a key factor in both retaining your workforce and positively managing your team. It can be easy for an Us and Them culture to develop in a hybrid team, with the in-office contingent coming to view themselves as a separate team to the remote workers. This can cause frustrations, resentment, and stress and lead to staff seeking other employment.
As with problems around communication, however, it’s easy to avoid this mindset if mindful steps are taken early on to ensure parity and that each member of the team feels fairly treated. Do this by, firstly, ensuring that work and projects are distributed equally: if the in-office employees feel that they are taking on more than their share (even if this is not the case), this can build up to create a big problem. Be clear about the roles and responsibilities of each member of staff, and have your team use shared calendars or diaries to help keep everyone in the loop about what everyone else is doing.
It’s also important to ensure that every member of the team feels equally supported; it may be easier for those who are based in-office to access this support or raise a concern or issue. Take some time to make sure that there are processes in place to support remote workers, too; whether it’s an informal virtual coffee break first thing on a Monday morning or a regular phone call to see how they’re doing and if they have everything they need to do their job properly, this can make a big difference to the overall wellbeing of your team.
Build Team Spirit
Building and maintaining a strong team spirit will benefit every part of your business, help employees to feel valued and supported, and ensure that your team works together like a well-oiled machine.
Creating this team dynamic may take some time, but the rewards to workers and the company alike make it more than worth doing. Begin by making sure that every member of the team knows exactly the role and responsibility of every other member. If you’re managing a new hybrid team, consider having a lunch or dinner get-together to help everyone get to know each other and begin to make a connection.
Plan regular team-building sessions, and social events, so that your team can learn to work well together as a unit, and have the chance to relax together, too. Setting up some friendly inter-departmental competitions is also a great way to build and boost team spirit!
Hybrid teams are here to stay, and if you find yourself managing one, it’s important to bear in mind the advantages that they deliver, as well as the challenges they pose. Hybrid teams, if managed properly, can become highly productive, motivated, and innovative groups of people that support each other effectively and specialize in ‘outside of the box’ thinking. Take some time to put in place the support and processes that your team will need so that both you and your employees can enjoy the results.