We’ve already got accustomed to remote teams, but what about a mixed one? Here are some tips for you to manage a hybrid team and make it successful.
2020 has changed a lot in our everyday lives. But what it has mostly affected is the way we work. Most companies have chosen remote work, some have remained in the office, and others have decided to create a hybrid office.
However, managers of these teams may face difficulties that can outweigh the benefits. This article discusses the difference between resident, remote, and mixed teams, gives tips for managing them successfully, lays out the pros and cons of a hybrid office, and looks at some case studies of companies using this structure.
Types of teams
Resident or co-located teams
Resident workers are those who spend 60% or more of their time at their desks. A co-located team interacts face-to-face and tends to work from an office at least 5 hours a day.
Remote or distributed teams
Remote teams consist of mobile workers who may be spread all over the world. Remote workers are not location-dependent and can work from anywhere, not just their homes. They communicate via video conferencing, chats, and emails.
Hybrid or mixed teams
These teams combine people working from home and the office, making equal use of face-to-face interaction and virtual communication. Any team member can choose remote work or stay in the office, depending on their responsibility, location, and preferences.
What is a hybrid team?
Traditionally, a hybrid team has been defined in terms of a hybrid workplace consisting of remote workers and co-located workers. This term has grown increasingly more flexible, though, so that now employees who prefer to work at home or on-site during the workweek are also being referred to as “hybrid.”
Increasingly, workers around the world are expressing interest in a hybrid workplace. Mixed teams can exist between an employer’s office and remote workplace.
Establishing a hybrid office
A hybrid office is a co-located workplace that includes remote staff. Some employees work from the same building or room, while others work from home, creating a virtual workspace.
When an employer decides to establish a hybrid workplace with a co-location facility, they first have to consider the cost. Depending on the size of the business, this may be a major factor. You can save a lot by renting a smaller office, as it needs to accommodate fewer people.
The best way to determine the space required is to evaluate the expected number of employees and the square footage needed per employee, as well as the number of desks, printers, and other items needed for each employee.
One of the greatest challenges of running a hybrid office is ensuring that communication links between co-located and remote staff are freely available. To ensure that all employees are on the same page, provide them with access to all the documents they may need.
To do this, all remote employees must be given access to the company’s main computer system, designated cloud storage, and communication tools.
Hybrid team benefits
There are a number of benefits you can derive from learning how to manage a hybrid team. One benefit is that you will be able to create a more cohesive, effective team that will be more responsive to your customers. Another benefit is that your team members will be happier in their jobs and be more likely to stay with your organisation for longer.
By understanding how to run a hybrid team, you will be able to accomplish more with fewer resources. This will enable you to increase profits, improve customer service, and increase your ability to stay abreast of the latest trends in the market.
Possible drawbacks of a hybrid team
There are some common pitfalls associated with remote collaboration, including employees being less engaged and more detached. The problem is that, while remote collaboration might be more convenient, it can sometimes limit and compromise team members’ participation in key decisions and operations.
Because of this, the team leader needs to be diligent in monitoring and supporting the team. For instance, it should be possible to assign responsibility for the team’s daily activities. This allows each team member to know what is expected of them each day.
In many instances, managers are not actively involved in the day-to-day tasks of their teams. When this happens, team members are at risk of failing to resolve conflicts and acquire new information. This leads to wasted time and resources, as well as poor communication. It is important for the team to know its leaders are watching out for the needs of the team members.
Leaders must also be aware of their personal relationships with their team members. By doing so, leaders can help team members to feel comfortable communicating effectively and to resolve issues or problems.
Tips for managing hybrid teams
Team management refers to the ability to coordinate and manage a group of people to do a specific task. As you might imagine, working with those who are not in the same physical location can present some significant challenges. How do you manage your team effectively?
Set clear goals
Establishing clear expectations and consequences for team members’ performance will enable team members to focus on achieving a common goal and contribute to the company’s overall success.
Choose appropriate communication channels
Communication is another important aspect of team management. Team members need to be informed and communicate effectively with each other and with the company as a whole.
There are various communication tools and methods that can be used in team-building exercises, including websites, emails, instant messaging, video conferencing, and many others. There are also conferences, seminars, workshops, seminars, and interactive sessions enabling people to engage with each other in a more informal and interactive way.
Create a common information source
Don’t leave your team in the dark. Make sure they have access to all the information they need for work: corporate policies, educational materials, and instructions for the tools they use. Store all e-books and documents in one place – cloud storage works well – plus, you can create video guides about the tools they use.
Pay attention to individual needs
All of us have different needs and wants. You will always find that it is best to find a balance between the interests of the individual and the needs of the team. If your team members do not feel their interests are being balanced, you might need to change how you work with them.
Encourage team activities
Another step you can take in learning how to manage a hybrid team effectively is to ensure that your employees feel motivated to help others succeed. Give them opportunities to be involved and engaged. This will include both internal and external team activities.
Internal team activities can be held at your place of business or a venue selected by the company. External team activities may be held at a facility or event where your staff is invited as guests or speakers.
Keep up with the schedule
By developing a system for managing a hybrid team, you can ensure that your team members can perform each and every task they are assigned without spending valuable time onboarding new team members. You can also schedule employees to work together to learn new skills on a regular basis.
Your employees will be happier and healthier if they know how to prioritise projects, delegate tasks, and stay focused on the job at hand. With time-tracking and project monitoring software, you can be sure everyone’s on the same page.
Moving to flexible working
If you’re still hesitant as to whether a hybrid working style will work for your company, take inspiration from some world-renowned businesses that have already made the move.
Facebook was one of the first companies to announce the adoption of remote work. The company claims team performance has not suffered, so they’re planning on reducing the number of offices they maintain.
Morgan Stanley has almost 90% of its employees working away from the office, which reduces the need for regular office space. The company has a long-term plan to let most employees work from home at least part-time.
Dell, the multinational computer technology company, has spent over a decade creating a successful hybrid team model. 60% of Dell employees work from home, which has helped the company save on office space.
Unilever has headquarters in London and Rotterdam, which definitely requires a hybrid-office approach. The company cultivates the principles of agile working practices that allow people to do their jobs from anywhere in the world.
Once you’ve learnt how to manage a hybrid team, you will be well on your way to maximizing the potential of your organisation. Effectively managing a hybrid team can help you achieve a profitable future with a more productive and happier workforce.
About the Author
Alexandra Kashun is an experienced content creator at Movavi, a multimedia software company. She specialises in researching marketing techniques and team management and making these topics easy to understand.