We all know that some of our team members are just dying to get into the office, while others might be skeptical. Having a hybrid team allows your employees to choose what’s best for them. However, it means that you will need to adopt a new type of leadership.
Converting all workflows to remote-first, even for those working in the office, is going to be essential. Why is this? In-office workers may feel like they are over-rotating to make sure remote team members feel included. In contrast, those working remote might be sensitive to communication gaps.
Hybrid team: “A flexible work structure where some employees work remotely, and other team members work from a central location or office. Hybrid team structures allow employees to decide whether they prefer an office environment or working from anywhere remotely” (OWLLabs).
- Employees don’t feel pressured to go into the office if they don’t feel comfortable.
- Those that want to return to the office can
- It makes it easier to follow social distancing regulations.
- It helps reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Take a minute and think about your meetings before COVID-19 and while working remotely. What worked and what didn’t? You will want to reconstruct your sessions to be engaging, productive, helpful and friendly to your remote team members. But how do you do this?
One way would be to have all team members join the meeting virtually. This will ultimately help reduce the number of informal conversations that happen after remote employees leave the call and will also help reduce the possibility of coronavirus spreading around the office.
Another way would be to have your in-office employees join in-person and remote employees join virtually. With this option, you will want to have a set way of relaying information that may arise after a meeting to those that are remote, whether that be an email or making a note to discuss it during your next team meeting.
Define Clear Working Hours
This will help your remote employees step away from work. Also, it will allow you and your team to know who is working when and where. Sharing work calendars is a great way to boost the visibility of this information and help everyone know when they can expect someone to answer emails or phone calls.
Understand the Benefits of Each Working Situation
Once you understand the benefits, you will want to be sure that you ensure fairness. For example, remote employees don’t have to commute and can pick up their kids from school or schedule appointments since they can make up the hours afterward. To ensure fairness, you might encourage the same for your in-office team members by giving them some flexibility during working hours. All in all, you will want to be sure you lead by example, and whatever you allow yourself to do, you also allow your employees to do the same.
Setting Aside Time for Each Team Member
You should give the same amount of attention and support to both your remote and in-office employees, no matter their role.
Measuring Performance in a Fair Way
If your focus is still on effort or number of hours at desks, you may want to rethink to basing metrics off set objectives. You want to concentrate on the quality of the work that they’re producing, not on how much time they spend at their desks. Also, look at the career progression paths set into place and ensure that they’re fair for both in-office and remote team members.
The biggest challenge with a hybrid team is going to be communication. The good news is that we have a lot of options when it comes to virtual communication than ever before! We have Zoom, Google Hangouts, Teams, etc. You probably became more familiar with these while social distancing. For your hybrid team to stay connected and not have any team members feel out of the loop, continue virtual team meetings either on a daily or weekly basis. This will be the perfect time to hear announcements, stay connected, have team members brainstorm ideas to overcome obstacles that someone might be facing, go over professional or personal highlights and talk about each person’s goal for the day or week.
If you know that your team’s communication styles conflict, you might want to put measures into place to combat this before it becomes an issue. When communicating virtually, especially over email or chat, there’s more room for misunderstanding someone’s intentions. Having frequent one-on-ones with every team member is going to be essential in combating this issue. This will allow you to catch conflicts before they escalate. Anxieties around job performance are usually higher in remote settings. This may continue for a while, even for those that return to the office because of COVID-19.
It’s going to be hard to connect with coworkers for those in the office due to social distancing and even harder for those that are remote. Do you have outlets in place for all your team members to come together? A fun and simple group chat or scheduling some team activities such as a virtual yoga session or a trivia night might do the trick! Get your team included on this and see what they would like to happen. Take these suggestions into consideration and implement what you think will work for everyone. Make sure whatever you decide to do, remote employees can join in.
Click here to learn more about setting up and creating a Virtual Happy Hour for your team!
Having a hybrid team for the first time will be a lot of trial and error to see what will work best for you and your team. One solution for one organization might not work for another. This is the time to experiment and really make this new “norm” something great! If you need help on figuring out your new norm, take a look at our previous blog post, Future of Work!