According to a 2021 report, 43 per cent of surveyed respondents expect organisations to offer remote work.
The way we work has changed. With that, the way we manage must too. Learn how to manage a hybrid team and why the future is hybrid.
Remote work and the workforce
Expectations about the way we work have changed considerably following two years of lockdowns.
According to Payscale’s 2021 State of Remote Work, report, 43 per cent of surveyed respondents expect organisations to offer remote work.
This is even higher in some industries:
- 75% in marketing and advertising.
- 71% in IT.
- 69% in art and design.
There are two big reasons employees now want to work remotely. First, they found themselves to be more productive at home. And the big one – they like working at home.
According to the same report, remote workers have higher rates of job satisfaction and are less likely to be browsing job vacancies. This might be because they enjoy things like no commute, being able to chip away at house tasks in their lunch break or feeling like they have a better work-life balance.
With remote work, or a hybrid combination of days in the office and days at home, now expected, the next big hurdle for managers is learning how to manage their hybrid teams.
Four tips to manage a hybrid team
Be disciplined with check-ins
When managing a hybrid team, creating daily rituals, like check-ins, is essential. Whether you use Kanban or Scrum (or another variation entirely) ensure that your company-wide check-in is scheduled and on the calendar for all team members. This sets clear engagement expectations for your employees. It also provides your team with opportunities for connectedness, collaboration and workplace inclusion.
Invest in tech to support you
Technology needs to make your life, and the lives of your employees easier. Find tools that enable clear, fluid conversations between team members. Asana or Microsoft Planner can support project management, Slack or Teams for quick communication and Loom for business improvements and knowledge building.
Improve meeting facilitation skills
Facilitating meetings with a hybrid team can be difficult. Often, the people dialled into a meeting will lose track of what is being said in the office, who is speaking and may not even be able to see everyone who is in the room. The golden rule for improving hybrid meetings is to cater to the person who isn’t in the room.
Get into the practice of having the speaker closest to the microphone or computer and summarise any side conversations that happen in the room for the remote workers. Even if it seems trivial. “Tom made a joke and is now laughing.” It’s also important to regularly check in with those at home by asking for their input.
Focus on creating a team culture
Hybrid teams will have varying histories working together. Some may have worked in the office together, while others may be new to the organisation and have only worked remotely. It’s important that your team culture is strong enough that all employees equally feel valued, supported and appreciated.
The best way to build a strong hybrid culture is to reduce virtual distance and emphasise the importance of contribution. Design virtual team-building exercises that focus on having fun and building trust. Make time for regular video calls with all team members, and make it routine to recognise their output and successes.
It’s also worthwhile ensuring that each employee feels like they have a smaller team of colleagues they can count on. Micro-cultures inevitably develop in organisations as employees work more closely together on projects. Feeling like they are on the same page with others, and that they can work together to solve a problem collectively, will boost the strength and cohesiveness of your team.
For more information on remote culture, head to our post, ‘How to create remote culture‘.