Many companies and businesses looking at a return to the office have also opened up the possibility of having a hybrid work environment.
What Is a Hybrid Team and Environment?
Before the pandemic affected businesses, the concept of knowing how to manage a hybrid team seemed like a foreign concept. Today, there is a push towards creating the ideal work environment for the back-to-office transition.
A hybrid work environment is where leaders and managers incorporate aspects of virtual working with that of in-person working.
Pros and Cons of a Hybrid Environment
When it comes to a hybrid environment, here are some pros and cons worth considering:
- Focus on productivity
- Low operational costs
- Employee prioritization
- Reduced or no client engagement
- Employee isolation
- Digital and cybersecurity threats
These are just some of the truths that come with managing a hybrid team and environment. This does not mean it can't work; however, it is going to require some adaptation and modifications before the perfect solution is found.
How to Manage a Hybrid Team
Adapting to a hybrid team is not going to be instantaneous – it is going to require:
- Communication skills
- Out of the box thinking
Without these five skills, transitioning to a well-functioning hybrid team is going to be difficult.
10 Tips for Managing a Hybrid Work Environment
For the leader who has never managed a hybrid work environment before, consider these 10 tips to help the transition for yourself and your employees. Let’s adapt these tips to manage hybrid teams efficiently.
Expectations – Make sure you indicate your expectations, whether it is that they check in when they start or when they log off. Doing this is going to set the tone early for the team.
Be flexible – 9 to 5 is slowly diminishing, and workers find that they are working on a productive schedule that suits their daily needs. As a leader, you want to be flexible when your employee takes a more extended coffee break but works later.
Minimize the meeting length – Research is showing that many employees are experiencing Zoom fatigue. With a hybrid style, it means you are going to have employees both virtually and in person; try to cut back your meeting times to be brief and efficient rather than lengthy. Try to manage virtual meetings time to manage hybrid teams more effectively.
Listen – Leaders and managers would argue that they listen. As a leader, you need to genuinely listen keenly to your employees. When they request equipment or need support for their files, show you are genuinely paying attention to their requests.
Connect – Reach out to employees and ask how they are or if there is anything they need from you to adjust to the transition. It helps to integrate remote team workflow and enhance work performance. Connecting with employees is going to highlight your desire to help them feel at ease and feel like they have someone they can turn to for anything.
Trust – With teams working remotely, there may be an innate desire to want to micromanage – don't. This can only hurt the work culture, which could defeat the purpose of the transition from remote to in-person. When employees are in the office, don't give in to the urge to look over their shoulder while they are working at their standing desk.
Celebrate the small stuff – The last year has been a rough one, both for employees and managers. Because of this, it's essential to take the time to celebrate small accomplishments. They don't have to be work-related; they could be personal, such as a birthday, an engagement, or a new family member. Take the time to show your appreciation by celebrating the small things.
Adapt – From the programs to the equipment, leaders need to adapt to managing a hybrid team. There is going to be a learning curve if you must adjust to the latest software in place that is meant to create efficiency or adapt to hoteling stations in the office. It's okay to feel overwhelmed, but if you can be flexible, it is going to be an easier transition.
Equip – With a hybrid team, you are going to need to be sure that everyone is fully equipped with the necessary tools, resources, and equipment to succeed. After a year away from the office, some items may have been liquidated, or employees may have brought their stuff home. Leaders may need to reorder bulk office furniture. Though this may be costly, it is going to contribute to the team's success and adaptation. It can also benefit you as the leader who now manages a hybrid team.
Reinforce the organization's values - Employees returning to work may feel defeated. They may struggle with the transition, regardless of what they are feeling. Thus, it is essential to boost morale as a leader. One way of doing this is to highlight both your goal to facilitate their transition back to the office and the organization's appreciation of their work and dedication. This is going to reinvigorate them and reinforce your role as a leader during these challenging and new times.
To manage a hybrid team, there is going to be a need for patience and time for both sides. You also need open communication and trust. Typically, leaders could have their doors open, and the employee walks in and has a seat. Now, it's a bit different, and that's okay. Things will settle, and suddenly those once vacant office chairs are going to be filled with your hybrid team members who have embraced this new work style.
The Importance of Supporting a Hybrid Work Environment?
Many employees have found themselves working from home for the last year if not longer. This required them to adapt from their routine practices of "going to work." Numerous research firms have found that employees do want to go back into the office and enjoy the benefits of working from home.
This overwhelming desire to have a mix of both worlds has shifted companies to look at hybrid team training and foster a culture of inclusion. Successful leaders have adapted their business operations and embraced the concept of a hybrid team because to not do so means holding themselves and the organization back.
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