The pandemic has accelerated the trend towards hybrid and remote workforces, with the expected growth rate of full-time remote work over the next five years increasing from 30% to 65% (1). As employers roll out new working models and return to office plans for post-pandemic life, managers now face the new challenge of overseeing teams that include employees that are fully remote, fully in-person, and everything in between. People leaders are now having to ask themselves how they can maintain team performance and employee experience in this new world of work.
Intactic supports our clients through this shift by honing in on the employee experience and upskilling leadership to address this challenge. We’ve identified three things Managers can do now to help successfully transition to managing hybrid teams:
#1 Lean into each employee’s unique experience
Understand how each employee’s experience may differ, and get ahead of issues that may arise. Create communication channels that encourage each of your team members to share challenges and keep you tapped into their experience.
You might discover that your fully remote employee feels isolated from social events, so you could host a monthly virtual happy hour for all team members. You might discover that your fully onsite employee feels they are being constantly asked by remote employees to do in-office activities, so you could set clear boundaries for requests related to in-office work. Visibility to your employees’ experience is key as we move into the next step which is to…
#2 Create and set new protocols for ways of working (and iterate!)
One of the most important aspects of navigating new working models is to take the time to level set across the team on new protocols for how you work together. You might ask questions like: What tools do we use? What hours are we online? What hours are we offline? What sort of response times are we expecting? What is our meeting etiquette?
Co-create what works best for you and your team, and continue the conversation by having regular checkpoints to adjust as needed.
#3 Focus on creating an inclusive environment
Creating an inclusive environment encourages everyone to focus on how to operate the best as a team and challenge any inherent biases. Many people report feeling that in-office employees are more productive than their remote counterparts, or that if someone doesn’t have their camera on in a meeting it means they are not engaged. But research has shown that not only are some employees more productive at home, but also that there are negative emotional consequences to consistently being on Zoom camera (2).
The focus of hybrid teams is supporting each person in delivering their best work, and shifting the mindset that there is only one way to deliver good work. It also can help to establish objective data to evaluate performance, instead of leaning on more subjective information.
As many employers begin to return to offices, the way in which teams operate and collaborate looks very different. Managers that are ready to address challenges they may face and proactively look to mitigate them will be positioned for success in this new work environment.