-- Weglot --
With hybrid work becoming the new normal for many organizations, they can pose unique challenges when it comes to management, especially for those new to the concept. From getting collaboration right to ensuring everyone is on the same page, leading hybrid teams requires a different approach than managing traditional in-office teams.
In this guide, we'll share nine tips on how manage hybrid teams so that you can make the most of this new way of working without running into common pitfalls.
When managing hybrid teams, one of the unconscious biases you need to be aware of is the tendency to give preferential treatment to office-based workers. This can manifest in several ways, such as giving them better or more frequent opportunities for development, being more lenient with them when it comes to meeting deadlines, and similar issues related to rewards, benefits, and performance management.
It's important to be conscious of this bias and ensure you're not inadvertently treating your remote workers as second-class citizens. One way to do this is to establish rules that provide fair rewards and benefits and develop a result-driven performance measurement system that doesn't discriminate against remote workers.
This also works both ways – you should make sure that office-based workers are also given the same opportunities to work flexibly, such as being able to take a run during the day or pick up their kids early if they need to.
Finally, it’s essential to dedicate equal time to each team member, regardless of work location. This means regular check-ins, scheduled one-on-ones, and being available when they need you. By ensuring that everyone is treated equally, you'll create a more cohesive and effective team.
Among the common challenges of leading hybrid teams is that there can be a lack of accountability when it comes to meeting deadlines and completing tasks. This is often due to the fact that team members aren't physically present in the same space, which can make it difficult to monitor progress.
To address this, it's important to set clear rules and expectations from the outset. This includes defining roles and responsibilities, setting deadlines, and agreeing on a method of communication.
It's also essential to establish a system of checks and balances so that everyone is held accountable for their work. This could involve using project management software to track progress, setting up regular check-ins, or using a task management system to assign and track tasks.
By being clear about expectations and setting up a system of accountability, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals, regardless of where they're working. You don't want to micromanage your team, but it's important to have a system in place so that you can ensure that everyone is meeting their obligations.
Sometimes, employees can give the impression that they're not working as hard as they should be because they're not in the office when in reality, it's just that they feel isolated and disconnected from the rest of the team (this is the case for 54% of remote workers). This is often due to a lack of access to the necessary tools and resources, making it difficult for them to do their job properly.
To prevent this, it's important to provide remote workers with the tools and resources they need to do their job effectively. This includes things like project management software, task management systems, video conferencing software, desk booking tools for sharing where people will be working each day, and other tools that will help them stay connected and collaborate with the rest of the team.
And what's more important than providing them with the right tools is making sure that they know how to use them. This means providing training and support to get the most out of the tools and resources at their disposal.
Apart from being fair, it's also important to ensure that everyone feels included in the team, regardless of location. This can be a challenge when team members are working in different time zones or aren't able to attend face-to-face meetings, but it's essential for maintaining morale and ensuring that everyone feels like they're part of the team.
There are a few different ways to ensure that everyone feels included, such as:
These are just a few ways to ensure everyone feels included in the team, regardless of location. By making a conscious effort to include everyone, you can create a strong sense of team spirit and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals.
With hybrid working, coworkers could go months without seeing each other face-to-face. This can lead to a feeling of isolation, which is why it's important to create occasions to bring the team together physically. This could involve holding regular retreats or off-sites or simply getting everyone together for a team lunch every now and then.
It isn't about the event itself, but rather the quality of the time you spend together. When you do get together, make sure that it's for a purpose other than work so that everyone can relax and get to know each other personally. This will help to build trust and understanding, which are essential for effective teamwork.
Research post-COVID-19 revealed that remote workers tend to overwork, which can lead to burnout. This could be for multiple reasons, among which are:
For that reason, when you're leading a hybrid team, it's crucial to check in on the well-being of your remote workers. This involves setting boundaries, such as not emailing them outside of work hours and making sure they take breaks and use their vacation days.
It's also important to encourage them to disconnect from work when they're not working so that they can recharge and come back feeling refreshed. If you notice that someone is struggling, have a conversation with them about it and see how you can help to make their workload more manageable.
If your company decided to allow hybrid work, you shouldn't make your employees feel guilty when they need to take advantage of it. Working from home two days a week so that you can avoid the commute or being able to leave early to pick up your kids from school are both valid reasons for why someone might want to work from home.
As a manager, you need to be flexible and understand that people have different needs and circumstances, so don't judge based on what you think is best or your values. Instead, focus on the outcome of the work that needs to be done and trust that your team will get it done, even if it means working from home.
This is all to say that if the hybrid work policy is in place, but you're not allowing your employees to take advantage of it, it's not really a hybrid work policy. So be flexible and let your team members choose what works best for them.
With a hybrid team, there will be times when people are working in the office and times when they're working from home – but often, it's just the manager who knows the schedule, not the team members.
The reason this isn't good practice is that it leads to two problems: first, team members miss out on chances to collaborate because they're not sure when their colleagues will be in the office; and second, it creates an imbalance where some team members are always working from home while others are always in the office.
The solution is to create a shared group calendar where everyone can see when people are working in the office and when they're working from home. This way, everyone knows when they can schedule meetings or catch-ups, and no one feels left out. It's also a form of transparency.
Lastly, when you're building a hybrid team, it's important to hire wisely. Just because someone is great at their job and works well in an office doesn't mean they'll be just as good when working from home.
Consider what skills and qualities are necessary for the role, and then look for candidates who have those skills and qualities, regardless of whether they've worked remotely before.
Some important qualities for remote workers include self-motivation, independence, time management skills, and the ability to stay focused. If you can find candidates who have these qualities, you'll be one step closer to building an effective hybrid team.
Hybrid teams are definitely here to stay, so understanding that managing hybrid teams is a different story than managing traditional teams is key. What worked for you in the past might not work now, so it's important to be adaptable and try new things.
The tips above should help you get started on the right foot, but ultimately, the best way to learn how to effectively manage a hybrid team is through trial and error. So don't be afraid to experiment and see what works best for you and your team. And if you need a desk booking system to help you manage your team's workspace, be sure to check out Tribeloo!