Working from home is a benefit that is projected to stick around, with 43.6% of respondents to a recent study stating they would either quit or start looking for a new job if their employer asked them to return to a traditional office setting. If your organization has employees working both at home and in an office, understanding how to manage a hybrid team is imperative for team success. HR leaders can help drive and support an organization to effectively adopt and thrive in this work dynamic. Below are some dos and don’ts to consider when outlining your hybrid work model.
Centralize communication and online tools
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, most company’s flexibility was minimal. With offering a hybrid model, the doors open to a wide range of different types of flexibility, creating a more complex method to manage. If employees have more flexible options, creating structure can be helpful to increase organization and productivity.
- Decide who will develop and manage the workflows, processes, and communication tools.
- Develop best practices to delineate what online tools and methods of communication will be used and when.
- Include HR leadership in the team that defines what these processes will be.
Regularly scheduled meetings
A study conducted by Zoom and SurveyMonkey concluded that employees have different opinions on whether they want meetings in-person versus virtual:
- Large group meetings: 61% of remote workers prefer virtual while 31% prefer in-office
- Small team meetings: results were even between meeting in-office (51%) and meeting virtually (49%)
- New client meetings: 69% of remote workers prefer in-person while 31% prefer conducting these meetings from home
These results point to the importance of allowing flexibility for people to choose if they want to be in person or virtual for meetings, while also understanding the pros and cons of each.
A key factor of how to manage a hybrid team is through clear communication and transparency. During regularly scheduled meetings and all conversations, keep notes to refer back to. This not only keeps the team informed and on the same page, but helps manage accountability and performance.
Forget about the need for team building
Most processes will likely be done virtually to accommodate the fluidity of each role, but the need for emotional connection, team building, and cultural nurturing should not be forgotten. An HR leader guiding leadership on how to manage a hybrid team should share ways to encourage a supportive and healthy remote work culture.
Allow diversity & inclusion to drop by the wayside
Who may or may not want to work from home is based on different personal needs and preferences. For example, it was found that women want to work from home full time almost 50% more than men. Having your team split into in-office versus out-of-office can separate culture with one perhaps being more favored based on visibility. Team leadership and company resources should be equal for all employees in the hybrid model.
Hover and micromanage
Employees experiencing more autonomy in their work setting show better overall well-being and job satisfaction. Micromanagement can diminish this instantly. Support your management with training on how to manage a hybrid team without hovering or creating a lack of trust.
Forget a plan for managing conflict
Provide leadership with guidelines on how to manage conflict effectively in a hybrid work environment. Traditionally, managing conflict privately is a better avenue than in a public setting, and by phone, teleconference, or in-person is better than by email or other digital forms of communication. A conversation using higher bandwidth such as a zoom or in-person meeting is more effective than a conversation through an email, chat, or phone call.
Managing a hybrid team can be challenging, but effective and successful if planned with care. One part of this success is hiring people who are a fit for your team and culture.