Managing hybrid teams

Written by Miglena Hofer

Miglena is a Co-Founder and Co-CEO of The Collaboratory Coworking Space, as well as one of the lawyers behind the Vienna-based non-profit Austria for beginners. She is a full-time parentpreneuer, an avid coffee drinker and a firm believer in the power of community.

September 20, 2021

Good managers know that putting your team first is the key to high performance. But how to do that in an environment and a setting that does not have people at the same place and the same time, sometimes not even in the same time zone? While hybrid working is definitely the future of work and it is what both employees and employers want, it does not come without its challenges.

Even if your team has been working together for a while, a change such as adopting hybrid working at your business will shake things up and will send your team from its performing stage to the norming, or even storming one (not sure what we are talking about? Remember Bruce Tuckman’s team stage dynamic theory? It has been proven to be true over and over again in the last 60 years. You can brush up your knowledge about it here ). 

To help you and your team transition back to the performing stage we have prepared our 5 best tips on how to successfully and sustainably manage hybrid teams.

#1 Define your team’s hybrid model and make sure everyone involved is aware of it

Hybrid working can be anything – from spending 1 day at The Collaboratory and 4 days in the home-office to working from home any other week. Together with our consulting manager we will help you find what suits you and your team best, and provide the tools to navigate the process. 

Creating a list for team members of where their colleagues will be (at home or in the office) Monday to Friday, and what their accessibility is, and what is the best way to contact them (commuting time and dropping off kids at school is an important things others have to factor it when scheduling a call or a meeting) , makes work schedule and organization easier. 

Provide clear directions about the beginning and end of working times at home and from The Collaboratory. 

#2 Implement appropriate software and allow time and space for learning

When the pandemic hit and work became fully remote, most companies in the world had no clue how to adapt the working process from onsite to offsite. We know now that there are a lot of simple software solutions our business can adapt and make hybrid working easy and productive. Digital adaptation platforms can be used either onsite or remotely to onboard new hires, train employees, automate workflows, provide self-service support, and enhance the overall digital employee experience.

Or the solution for your team can be something more simple such as using Slack, Workforce, Confluence etc. Our onboarding experts can help you choose what suits your needs best. 

As with the implementation of every new software, make sure you have planned time for your team to get to know it and you are leaving space for mistakes.

#3 Engage your team

We love joking about those watercooler chats but the truth is, engaging with your coworkers is essential for the level of job satisfaction, and hence, for the level of productivity. Planning and organizing small events, and making sure you include everyone, whether they are onsite or at home, can go a long way.

The Collaboratory will lend you a hand here by providing various opportunities for community events such as board games night, quiz night, and outings. 

We built trust not during a meeting but in the 2 minutes preceding it when we shared a small personal detail or checked in with the others. Leaving a couple of extra minutes in your schedule before and after meetings to simply be human and not just the manager will allow you to connect with your team members. 

#4 Focus on outcome rather than output

If you ask us, micromanagement was never the right way to lead a team. An awesome feature of hybrid working is that it makes micromanagement obsolete. Casually passing by an employee’s desk or looking over their shoulder doesn’t work when you don’t share the same space all week long. 

If you focus on the outcome rather than output, not only will you save time (because you won’t track individual activities and tasks)  but your employees will have more freedom and independence. 

#5 Gather continuous feedback

Last but not least, listen to your team. Microsoft’s research earlier this year showed that  over 40 percent of the global workforce are considering leaving their employer this year. One of the main reasons – the lack of opportunities for flexible working models such as hybrid working. 

To make sure hybrid working is the right thing for you and your team, schedule a feedback session every 4 to 6 months, and actually listen to what your employees are sharing. Agile approach is a must and hybrid working is no exception. 

If you take care of the listening part, we will take care of facilitating those important meetings. 

What you should do now

If you are serious about your business, find out if hybrid working is a good fit for you.

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