We have 5 Top Tips for leading hybrid teams. It is something that many leaders are still challenged by. This includes how to ensure everyone is working efficiently; that talent is used effectively and you are able to keep hold of talented staff.
There are plenty of challenges for leaders and managers
The Pandemic forced most companies to work remotely ‘or from home’. Now we are returning to offices BUT some employees wish to work remotely. Also, some companies have reduced the size of offices. Some of the challenges include:
- Not enough space for all of the team to work
- Some individuals not wanting to return to the office because they prefer to work from home. Recent research stated that 40% employees do not intend to work in the office again
- How employees who are working in the office and remotely are going to work efficiently and effectively together
- Building trust: after all you have to trust people are working and completing tasks
- How can you recruit and retain talented staff you wish to work more flexibly?
There are a lot of challenges; but this is the new working environment for many organisations. However, technical companies have been working in this way for years. The last two years have shown us that presenteeism culture and looking down on ‘working from home’ attitudes need to change. Here are 5 top tips for leading hybrid teams.
- Embrace technology to keep people in touch with each other. These could be a simple project management APP like Slack where teams can keep each other informed of the progress of a project; record conversations with clients etc. What’s App is also useful for this. However, it is really important that everyone feels confident with this technology; that it is set up to be user friendly and it is agreed between the team how it should be used. I would also add including rules on times that it is used: night owls might think it is okay to expect responses late at night but for many people, 9 – 6 would be a reasonable work time.
- Change your mindset about both presenteeism and working from home. There are still many organisations who value people being in the office; where the bosses can see them. And there is still a culture of being the first in and last out. This was perpetuated by people responding to emails throughout the night when working from home. But also there was a negative perception of ‘working from home’ – with rolled eyes and “Yep”… But the world has changed. We have had a taste of remote working and many talented people like this. As leaders it is up to you to modify the way you lead, so talent that has a preference for remote working is still able to be employed. And being consciously aware of not valuing those in the office more than those working remotely.
- Create a culture of trust. If you have employed your talented team and you can’t trust them to work remotely, what is going on? Of course work needs to be completed and it is up to you to find a way of monitoring progress; deadlines and efficiency. I have already mentioned the use of technology to assist with measuring progress. Setting clear goals, targets and checking on progress are all parts of being a good leader. But please don’t go down the route of using ‘spy’ software. Trust and respect are two way. In a world where recruiting and retaining outstanding staff is the norm, spying on staff will lead to them leaving.
- Manage hybrid meetings so everyone is included. One complaint from remote workers is that they are excluded from conversations; they find it challenging to be heard; they miss out on ‘side conversations’ between those in the office. As a leader you need to be very effective at managing these meetings in a ‘level playing field’ environment. Ideally you should get everyone to login independently on their own devices but of course this has its own problems if you are in a shared office where some discussions are confidential for example. Here are some tips: a) set the ground rules of no private conversations. b) make sure you consciously include everyone in the conversation c) set very clear goals of what the meeting is about with objectives and outcomes
- Create opportunities for people to meet each other. Another change in culture is that IT IS OKAY to meet people in a less formal situation – such as a coffee shop or going for a walk. A remote worker might live close to someone else, and it should be encouraged to get to know colleagues. Also, perhaps you could organise informal meet ups where remote workers could also be invited. Remember we are humans and social animals. We build trust by knowing each other; create those chances for people to do this.