What is a Hybrid Team? And How to Manage Successfully
These days, many workers wonder whether they have to keep working remotely forever or not. Many companies had to stop working in the office due to COVID-19. Even though some companies are transitioning fully to remote work, many others are opting for applying a combination of these two working arrangements, at least for the short-term. Working simultaneously with in-person and remote workers is not an easy task for any company; it requires the development of new skills and the use of new advanced tools. Both work arrangements have a high demand; however, new applicants prefer flexible work arrangements that fit their schedules better. In other words, they want to work remotely.
With technology continuously evolving, it is not a surprise most companies tend to bend to more flexible working arrangements. Living in the digital age seems like the best moment to go remote. However, hybrid team best practices are now emerging as the predominant work arrangement.
But what is a hybrid team, and how can remote and in-person workers work together? If you are looking for a method to innovate in your company's work dynamic and stay connected, this is the perfect article for you. We invite you to keep reading to learn more about how to manage hybrid teams.
What is A Hybrid Team?
A Hybrid Team consists of both in-office and remote workers working together. It is a flexible work arrangement that allows workers to choose whatever fits them better to increase their productivity. Hybrid teams used to be a unique feature reserved for selected distributed teams; however, this changed after the pandemic hit and affected the whole world and multiple companies. These days many people still have mixed feelings about the safety of returning to work in an office, so creating a hybrid work model can be the perfect solution for this group of workers.
By having a hybrid work environment, you can ease your team's workflow by allowing them to work remotely from their homes at least a few days a week without impacting the work of in-office workers. The approach of creating a hybrid workforce has become more popular since companies began doing online businesses, and the possibility of hiring talent from anywhere in the world emerged. However, this also brings many challenges to companies that do it; it is often easier to have everyone working at the office. However, it is also essential to make your remote employees feel like a part of the team by allowing them to participate in brainstorming sessions and other daily tasks.
At first, it is hard to find out the hybrid team best practices, and you might meet some challenges before discovering them. We invite you to continue reading to learn more about this so that you are ready to face those challenges when they arrive.
What Are the Challenges of Leading a Hybrid Team?
Despite the benefits of hybrid teams, like everything in life, nothing is perfect, so here are a few challenges you might have to face when leading hybrid working arrangements:
Exclusion of Remote Employees
Sometimes, by not having part of your staff at the office, people tend to de-prioritize the inclusion of remote workers. Remote staff is more likely to believe that they are not treated equally from the rest of the team. It is a common mistake to make changes to projects without notifying remote workers in advance. However, making mistakes such as this one can influence your employee's trust and productivity severely. It is also crucial to help them with internet costs and provide them with the needed office equipment to set up a workspace. Otherwise, they can feel excluded and can lead to a decrease in their productivity.
Inflexible Work Structure
Many experts point out that when people try to adapt to a remote work arrangement, they opt for sticking to the same systems and processes of the in-office work model; it is one of the main reasons why the new remote workers unsuccessfully adapt to this modality. The main challenge lies in unlearning the old ways of working and learning new practices that are better suited to your new workplace. Routines of hybrid working can be frustrating, but it is essential to embrace them and get used to them. Adhering to new systems can be challenging, but it is up to you to learn how to take advantage of them.
While working in an office eases the communication process between co-workers, being part of a hybrid team might complicate things sometimes; this happens mostly when remote workers live across different regions of time zones. There lies the importance of using virtual team communication tools such as Zoom or any other communication app. In-office workers must stick to these tools to encourage collaboration between them and the remote team. But as we said above, occasionally, there are some details or changes you might forget to tell your remote co-workers due to miscommunication, connection issues, or the informal exchange of information while drinking a cup of coffee.
Lack of Acceptance of Leadership
Even these days, there are still people out there who still do not believe that a combination of flexible working arrangements is a good business decision. If the company does not change the rules to create an efficient hybrid work environment, working as a hybrid team could go beyond challenging. However, this is not a reason to think that a hybrid team could be a bad idea. The best move you can do to maintain your employees' respect is to build emotional connections with your staff and find out what motivates them to work and collaborate. Remember to take advantage of the full potential of digital management tools.
Benefits of A Hybrid Team
Despite these challenging stages, creating a hybrid team is the best choice to improve the workflow and efficiency of your company and promote the use of new and advanced tools. The digital age is better than ever these days, and that is why it is also fair to highlight all the benefits that a hybrid team can bring to your company. Here are some benefits of hybrid teams you should know.
Global Talent's Involvement
How can the capability of hiring global talent beneficiate your company? Well, sometimes there are tasks that local talent cannot accomplish, and this allows your employees to look for talent from across the world to achieve these specific jobs. The goal of companies with remote workers from around the world is to create an inclusive, diverse, and global work environment where all their employees feel accepted, collaborate and communicate. However, these days it is more difficult to find appropriate remote workers due to the lack of trained professionals looking for online jobs, so it is your job to find qualified personnel for the job you have to accomplish.
Both Remote and In-Office Employees
As its name implies, by creating a hybrid team, you allow your company to have both in-office workers that attend the workplace several days a week and remote workers that complete all their tasks from the comfort of their homes. Having an office space is a great and traditional way to share ideas, collaborate, and spend time with your co-workers with ease. However, by connecting your team with employees from across the world, you allow them to create relations and get access to the rest of the globe. By creating diversity and inclusion from all kinds of people, you encourage them to produce more original ideas, which can be helpful for clients from different regions or different time zones.
One way to increase the loyalty and trust of your employees is by allowing them flexibility when it comes to different working time zones and locations. Workers should be able to decide whether to work in an office or work in the comfort of their homes; by giving them the right to choose where they work best, their productivity and happiness can increase exponentially. Some prefer to work in a co-working environment such as an office, but others prefer to work on the couch of their homes; it should not matter where they work as long as they accomplish all their tasks.
Allowing them to choose can also strengthen the bond between employee and boss by evaluating the work based on results and not the number of hours worked. It also allows them to create a hybrid remote work schedule that fits them better in their daily routine and helps increase their productivity during their work hours.
How to Manage a Hybrid Team Correctly
Now that you have learned the challenges and benefits creating a hybrid team can bring you, it is time for you to learn how to manage them correctly.
Equality Between Both Remote and In-Office Staff
You can create equality between these two groups of workers by ensuring they have the same experience working with you, whether they're in an office five days a week or working from their homes. But how can you do this? Firstly, you have to evaluate if your work structure is working the same for both of them; if not, you should consider restructuring it to accommodate all your employees. Otherwise, if you do practices in the office that can affect remote workers in the future, it can also influence the effectiveness of their work. The solution to this is making processes more inclusive for remote workers.
Utilization of Asynchronous Communication
A common misconception is expecting that your remote staff answers your messages or calls immediately. This misconception emerges from the in-office working routine where all your employees can communicate without taking too much time. However, this does not apply to remote workers as they probably cannot attend all meetings, answer all messages on time, or might have problems accessing information.
Before you call your remote employees at any hour, here are some basic asynchronous communication rules you can follow to avoid this:
- Remove unnecessary meetings from the calendar.
- Reduce the length of meetings and business phone calls.
- Set agendas in advance and request availability before scheduling any activity.
- Document all meetings and record any off-record crucial conversation.
- Promote the utilization of specific outputs for communication. It allows your team to keep track of the progress of any ongoing project.
- Every time you communicate with your employees, do it with context.
Ensure The Acceptance of Leadership
As we said above, to have your employees' respect, you must create an enabling work environment that supports both in-office and remote employees equally. The best way to make sure that they respect you as a leader is to communicate openly to build trust between co-workers, encourage their collaboration by strengthening their relationship and build a positive work culture. Building trust is your best weapon when it comes to problem-solving as a team.
Get the Best Management Tools
No team's productivity can increase without using the appropriate equipment, so investing in the best productivity tools can influence their workflow. Hybrid team best practices can bring chaos that only the best project management tools can put in order. You must provide your employees with excellent management tools that encourage collaboration between both in-office and remote teams.
Another crucial element is to get a video conference tool such as Zoom to arrange meetings when necessary. Additionally, you should also get a central platform to allow your employees to store information and download other business documents if needed.
Here is a list of some products you should consider investing in for your in-office or remote workers:
- Standing desk
- Ergonomic chair
- Quality microphone and camera for zoom meeting
Inclusion of Remote Workers
A crucial element in successfully managing a hybrid team is to keep remote employees as close as in-office workers to make them feel part of your team. Here are a few activities where you can include them:
- Birthday parties or any other celebration.
- Create a chat room where all your employees can interact and share random or funny events at the office.
- Constantly organize virtual bonding activities.
- Arrange company retreats involving both teams.
Flexible Working Arrangements
Last but not least, trust your remote and in-office workers the same way; you cannot implement expectations to a group and reserve them for the other. Remember, trust goes both ways!
Now you are ready to create a hybrid team to improve your company's productivity 100%. We invite you to share this article with your friends, family, and co-workers to help them learn more about this new way of working.
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