Best Practices to Manage Hybrid Teams
The level of intensity we experienced over the past two years has been phenomenal. As time passes by, hybrid working in which a team works both onsite and virtually emerges itself as a new norm and as such, managers are now required to find creative ways to tackle the challenges that are by product of this new way of working.
In this post, we will look at 10 best practices to help managers navigate changes and establish new processes easier.
Trust has always been an essential element of any successful team, however, opening up remote work options to almost every employee as opposed to keeping it for certain individuals has made trust even more critical for the success of the team[1,2].
As a manager, it is important to make sure that you make the effort to build the culture of trust and maintain it.
Turning cameras on while having one on one meetings and trying to meet in person with employees even on rare occasions are suggested as potential action items to enhance the trust in your team.
As suggested by Industry leaders in various articles [3,4] , some of the practices that can help you overcome “us versus them” culture across team members at the office against the ones remote is to ask your team to organize all meetings virtually and try to avoid holding major work related discussions only with the team members physically present at the office.
Adjust onboarding process
Now that the base is covered, it is time to focus on welcoming newcomers on board. This process has always been difficult and now it is even more so. From various suggestions and practices across different industries and organizations, we have outlined the following items:
- Extend the culture of trust and inclusion to new people joining your team; accompany them in each and every step; it can be as simple as asking questions and addressing their potential concerns.
- Establish buddy and mentor programs; this will give an opportunity to the newcomer to hear everything from peers over informal and casual conversations.
Accommodate learning on the job
Learning on the job is not something that can be left out with the transition to the hybrid work environment, and as such, streamlining the learning process becomes a must. Individual mentoring and coaching programs seem to be working seamlessly for many organizations during the pandemic.
Decent prioritization helps the team stay focused. It is highly recommended to be flexible while establishing clear goals for the team. For example, you can hold a meeting on a weekly basis to make sure the team is clear on the tasks and deliverables that are “Must Haves” versus “Nice to Haves” that can potentially wait for a later time.
Make it enjoyable
To keep your team engaged and connected, schedule occasional virtual meetings to discuss social and fun topics. This will simulate laughter and social engagement that existed prior to the pandemic and helps keep the spirits up.
Communicate wisely and respectfully
Proper and transparent communication has always been at the core of any united team. In the hybrid environment it becomes a leading necessity since water cooler conversations in-office brainstorming are eliminated. It is strongly recommended to encourage your team to summarize these conversations as they happen and share it with the remote team members over a preferred means of communication your team is using. Defer all the final decisions to when all the team members have been informed and had the chance to weigh in.
Organize team building activities
To keep the momentum going, engage your team members in virtual team building activities at least once or twice a year. This will help them stay connected, united and push the boat forward stronger.
Step forward with empathy
With homes playing a dual role of a sanctuary as well as an office, empathy becomes a more important factor. Be thoughtful of your employees and their mental health with staying in touch and being realistic in terms of expectations and deliverables [1,2].
Manage performance fairly
Your strategy should be more oriented towards the quality of the work your team produces rather than the time spent on the desk or the hours available online. Take every opportunity to share positive feedback with your team. You should also assure that the development path is clear and fair for everyone at the office or remote [1,4].
Going in for a hybrid working model has been turbulent for the majority of us. While it makes sense for us to feel a little uneasy and anxious about what this means for every team and how we should plan for it, embracing this change journey is inevitable.
In this blog post, we suggested different approaches you can take to make this journey more fruitful for you and your team.
Have you been using any of these hacks in your daily work? Feel free to share your experience and comment!