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How to Keep Your Team Connected in the Age of Hybrid Working

Team ConnectedYoung african male programmer writing program code sitting at the workplace with three monitors in the office. Image focused on the screen

The pandemic has completely transformed how the world works. Today, and even after the pandemic’s over, it’s never going to be the same again. 

Many companies and organizations have shifted to the hybrid model and research shows it might be the future of work.

If you’re currently setting up your hybrid workforce or planning about it, this guide is for you. 

We’ll dig deeper into the hybrid workplace, its pros and cons, and the things to consider so you can run an effective hybrid workforce.

What Is a Hybrid Workplace?

A hybrid office is a flexible workplace model designed to support both remote and in-office employees.

In this setup, employees are given some degree of choice regarding whether to report to the office or work from their homes.

The most important aspects of a hybrid workplace are flexibility and support. With a hybrid model, workers are expected to accomplish their tasks while meeting their individual goals.

Pros And Cons Of Hybrid Working

There are many reasons why a hybrid work model works, and why it doesn’t.

Pros

When planned carefully, the hybrid work model has the potential to improve your organization in several ways.

  • Increased Productivity – it encourages a culture that regards remote work as a positive alternative to accomplishing deep-focus tasks in the office, resulting in increased productivity.
  • Top Talent – a hybrid work model lets you find top talent from across the globe, enabling you to build a team of remote workers who have exceptional skills and unique standpoints.
  • Employee Satisfaction – employees are given autonomy in setting their own schedule.

Cons 

Despite the advantages, the hybrid style of working also presents several challenges that your organization needs to consider.

  • Management – managers can have a particularly hard challenge in leading teams that consist of both remote and in-house workers. Additionally, employees need to be given the right tools to work effectively wherever they are.
  • Isolation – it’s undeniable that remote work often leads to loneliness. Research shows that the biggest struggle of remote employees is loneliness, tied with issues in communication and collaboration.

Things To Consider When Hybrid Working

Balancing the pros and cons of a hybrid work model can be challenging. 

To ensure productivity, engagement, and communication among remote and in-house employees, here are some important areas that your organization needs to pay attention to:

Communication 

A hybrid style of working presents challenges in communication, given the fact that employees can be scattered and are working from different time zones.

While there’s a technology that facilitates this type of communication, it can still be difficult if there are no defined processes for communicating.

Here are some tips to improve communication in your hybrid workplace:

  • Take minutes and document everything in a written format, and record them on your communication channels as a reference for everyone.
  • Be aware of everyone’s time zone. Create a framework for the tone of voice that allows everyone to communicate effectively, respectfully, and empathetically.
  • Enable methods of communication that promote inclusivity and employee equity. These include allowing employees to dial into meetings using their own devices to avoid bad audio or background noise.

General Wellbeing

Employees who are physically and mentally healthy are far more engaged, productive, and committed. 

The COVID-19 crisis has brought so much anxiety to many employees. Every organization needs to look after the well-being of its members.

How can you ensure that you’re prioritizing the mental health and wellbeing of your employees?

  • Support them and be understanding. Remote working is a challenging adjustment for many employees. An extra level of understanding and compassion towards them is very much needed.
  • Trust your team. Whether they are working from home or at the office, leaders and managers need to step back and trust that their teams will deliver what’s expected of them.
  • Encourage a positive work-life balance. Ensure that there’s a clear distinction between working and non-working hours. 
  • Provide health programs. Implement appropriate measures that promote the health and well-being of employees. These include upgrading their health insurance policies, offering wellness perks, and implementing strict health protocols at work.

Inclusivity 

A great way to ensure collaboration and inclusivity is to conduct all company meetings via video conference, even if the other team members are in the office. 

This strategy ensures that everyone feels involved and in sync with the latest updates and important discussions. This should also help reduce the communication disconnect between remote and in-house employees.

Flexibility 

Embracing flexibility is the core of a hybrid workplace. It’s not easy though, for some employees to adjust to the new setup. 

Thus, it’s important to establish clear guidelines for the day-to-day operations of the organization. For example, there should be clear guidelines for “office required” and “office optional” circumstances.

Additionally, laying out the priorities and most important tasks can build flexibility in teams.

Working Hours

It can be difficult to track the working hours of employees given the flexible schedule of employees. 

Companies that have been successful in adopting the hybrid work model address this problem by integrating technological solutions, such as the use of time and attendance software

With such a tool, managers can effectively and accurately track employees’ attendance, assign tasks, and monitor ongoing projects. Meanwhile, remote employees can easily monitor their productivity and bill their employers for the work done.

Importance Of Engaging And Connecting With Your Team

The hybrid style of working has many advantages for both the employer and its employees. For employers, this workplace model can significantly lower their expenditure on rental costs. 

For the employees, the ability to work from home doesn’t just give them flexibility but also helps save them time and money as they no longer need to commute to and from the workplace regularly.

However, to succeed in this setup, keeping employees engaged is crucial. 

Thankfully, there are many ways to keep your hybrid workforce engaged, no matter where they are. 

These include setting expectations for everyone, creating a fun and meaningful meeting experience, being flexible with work hours, keeping the communication lines open, and conducting fun activities, even virtually.

Create A Culture Of Connectedness

In this world full of anxieties and uncertainties, every organization needs to create a culture of fun and connectedness. 

It can be difficult to make fun conversations or build camaraderie and friendships in a virtual workplace, but it isn’t impossible. 

Start every meeting off with a lighthearted chat with your team members or a fun game, or ask them about how their weekends went. These are simple gestures that can make a big impact on establishing a connection with your team.

Conclusion

Keeping your team connected in a hybrid workplace is really important not only to ensure productivity but also to promote their well-being.

By nurturing their well-being through a flexible and supportive work environment, you and your team are all geared to success.

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