Before we embark on the journey of exploring hybrid teams in the workplace, let us explain what is meant by the term hybrid team. A hybrid team is an amalgamation of employees working in the office and remotely.
Basically, this adaptive workspace is taken up to provide a flexible working environment to the employees. In return, the business will improve its productivity because the employees will choose to work according to their ease and comfort.
With the changing world, the workplace environment is also adapted to keep up with the pace of changing trends. Workplace rules and regulations are also revised to give some space and power to the workers.
One of these necessary changes is the incorporation of in-office and work-from-home employees into a team. Moreover, this choice in itself is quite satisfying for the employees since they are given the autonomy to choose their preferred work style.
Benefits Of a Hybrid Team:
Hybrid teams come with a lot of benefits for businesses. Let us look into some of the convincing pros of this changed system:
- Flexible work structure
- Lower costs
- More productivity
- More alert, active, and agile during tougher times
- Employees’ satisfaction
- Revenue generation
- Off-site and on-site workers
- Improved work-life balance
- More room for creative talent across regions
- Freedom to work from the office or home allows them to be more focused
Besides these benefits, working in a hybrid team is certainly not a piece of cake. With remote and on-site workers coexisting, the leadership has to suffer a lot to maintain balance. There is a lack of communication and many other problems that need to be addressed. Hybrid teams can be really helpful if the system is properly structured and run smoothly.
With different work environments, synchronization is difficult to achieve. The communication gap is another problem that leads to more difficulty for the managers to control different issues.
For Tech-Oriented Millennials:
The modern workspace is largely comprised of millennials ranging from 22-37 years of age. This modern workforce constitutes 35% of the US labor force which is quite large. Therefore, their needs are not negligible. These employees are digital natives with their work largely based on technologies.
Studies also suggest that in recent years, PC sales have decreased whereas tablets and laptop sales have gradually topped the charts. As the market is adapting to the needs of modern employees, workspace adjustments are inevitable.
A hybrid workspace is also an extension of such adaptations because 62% of employees opt to work remotely at least once a month. Furthermore, more than half of multinational companies have included remote work to cater to their employees.
Where, When, And How to Work
A hybrid workspace gives the employees the autonomy to choose where, when, and how to work. Such teams allow their workers to choose if they would like to work at the office or from their home remotely or even co-exist as part-time remote workers and vice versa. The employee is given the freedom to regulate their working hours and their working space. The crux, however, is focus and productivity. Adopting a hybrid approach to project management also helps to improve workplace communication.
Researches also suggest that 60% of workers with flexible working space are more productive and focused than the workers who are bound to follow strict and rigid workplace rules.
Challenges To This New Management Style:
Although the adoption of hybrid teams seems an interesting idea but the change is never easy. Many things have to be unlearned and re-learned to run the company at a good pace. The management team has to put in the effort and reshape their behavior, and their leadership style to run the organization smoothly. Some of these challenges include:
- Building trust becomes difficult
- Communication and collaboration are largely at stake
- Accountability is often sacrificed
- Evaluation can be biased
- Working hours are often blurred
- Misinformation of the company’s decisions
- Unlearning and relearning can be difficult
- Inflexible rules can be toxic to work
11 Tips and Practices to Lead A Hybrid Team:
1. Communicate Often and Communicate Well
Communication and collaboration are the most crucial factor that must be considered thoroughly. The leaders should invest their time and energies to understand the communicative needs of their in-house and remote workers.
Asynchronous communication is another tool that will help the PM to maintain their connection with the members. Learn to record meetings and other documents to share with remote employees so that the flow of information is not interrupted.
2. Try To Include All
Another important factor is the inclusion of remote workers in daily conversations with other members. PMs should make sure that remote employees do not feel left out just because they are not physically present in the office.
It is advised that the PMs include both the members of the hybrid teams in their daily meetings and project assessment etc. However, the leadership should communicate the schedule with the staff beforehand to avert any loopholes.
3. Set Proper Working Hours
Proper working hours is another important practice that will help the hybrid team with their project and task management. A framework of working hours will decide their submission deadlines leading to more productivity.
Also, displaying the working hours of your members would let other members know who is working, when, and what is he doing. Even if the members are not sitting face to face, they will know about each other’s schedules. This practice would also help them boost efficiency.
4. Be Flexible
Being flexible does not mean that you sacrifice the quality of work. Flexibility emphasizes empathy, that you understand that remote workers might have difficulty accessing information so on and so forth.
Also, remote workers are not perfect so give them the room to make mistakes, amend them and learn from them.
5. Try To Be Fair
While having co-existing employees, fairness is quite difficult to achieve. No matter how hard it appears, fairness in terms of evaluation and assessment has to be there. Being biased or taking sides will disrupt the team.
Team members will quickly notice the preferential treatment and that knowledge will affect their performance. Make sure that you treat all team members equally and do not side with anyone.
6. Emphasize Accountability
Working in a remote environment means that you cannot monitor their performance as you do in the office. To counter the absence of supervision in hybrid teams, you must make sure that each individual accounts for their work.
Accountability will not only help you keep a track of their performance but will also prove beneficial for the individual himself. With regular updates on the employees’ work, you can provide feedback that will help them improve their performance in the long run.
7. Be Empathetic
PMs tend to be less empathetic with remote teams considering that they are working remotely and have more freedom. While that stands true, the fact that their working hours and efforts are no less than regular employees cannot be neglected.
In light of the same, being empathetic with hybrid teams is much appreciated since they can also have sick days, sudden emergencies, etc. Discrediting their efforts and disregarding their situation is not how it should be.
Be empathetic wherever needed and treat them fairly.
8. Recruit A Strong Hybrid Team
Since you will be working with a remote team, and you do not have the opportunity to train them in person, it is necessary that you hire the best of the best individuals in your hybrid team.
These trained individuals will be an asset to your company. Their ability to complete projects and handle tough situations in remote work will prove helpful for your company. Choosing a strong hybrid team from the get-go will undoubtedly give you a leg up in the market.
9. Create Physical Meeting Occasions
While we do believe that strong bonds can be created online, a few in-person meetings will seal the deal for you. The physical interaction will strengthen your bond and create camaraderie between the members of the team.
It will also improve communication and collaboration among the team members. It will be a healthy exercise that will surely lead to better positive outcomes.
10. Always Try to Help Your Team Members
As a PM, it is your responsibility to keep an eye on your team members and help them whenever they encounter something difficult and tricky. With your experience, expertise, and skills in the position, you can easily guide the team members.
Help your members with anything they might need help with and you will bear the fruits one day or another.
11. Invest In Communicating Tools
Lack of communication is the first thing that hinders smooth working in a remote work environment. According to the State of Remote Work report by Buffer, and AngelList, communication, and collaboration in the remote workplace are the biggest struggles for 20% of the respondents.
As such, communication with your employees is a must. Since you cannot always rely on WhatsApp or social media apps, you need a powerful communication tool that serves your purpose for you. Get the right communication tools for your team and communicate smoothly.
That’s all from our side. Hybrid teams are the way to go in the modern world.
Do you work with a hybrid team or are you a part of it? What do you think of hybrid teams? We would love to hear your opinion. Let us know in the comments below!
Till next time, Adios amigos!
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