Managing a team is hard. Managing a team in which some employees work from the office and others work remotely is even more challenging. The Hybrid Working Model, fuelled by the pandemic, has a growing number of proponents globally. However, this model also presents several challenges for hybrid team managers. This article lists out five essentials to ensure employees in the office are in sync with those working from home.
1. Create and set expectations
As the nature of work shifts, leaders need to set clear expectations:
- Talk with your hybrid team about work hours. Discuss what type of hybrid work you will be implementing and consider using a telework agreement to avoid any misunderstandings.
- Discuss performance goals. With the abundance of flexibility, it is necessary to create a more detailed set of performance expectations.
- Set clear expectations for communication. Discuss how and when you will communicate, who needs to be in which meetings, how to use messaging channels correctly, etc.
We have seen numerous changes in the past two years, which shows us that the future is unpredictable. Guidelines might change, schools might close, certain towns and cities might have to go on lockdown again. The best way to prepare is to prioritise tasks so that everyone on the team knows what’s most important and how to go about their day if they have to go remote again. Holding a daily huddle to discuss weekly and monthly goals will ensure everyone stays updated and knows what is expected of them in every situation.
3. Offer support
The most crucial role of a manager or a leader is to support their employees. In these challenging times, employees are under immense stress. Some of them may be grieving, in shock or feeling anxious. Therefore it is important that you reach out. Have a non-work-related conversation with your team from time to time. Ask them how they are really doing and find out about their worries. Listen attentively, offer support and work alongside them to make their situation better.
4. Keep it fair and inclusive
Building a fair and inclusive workplace is much more challenging when you’re working in a hybrid setting. Employees who see each other every day in the office can build closer bonds, causing a divide between them and those who work remotely. As a leader, you will have to ensure that all meetings occur online, although some employees may be in the office. Ask virtual participants to keep their cameras on and in-office participants to keep their cameras on and mics muted when they aren’t speaking. Send after-meeting notes to all participants so that everyone knows who owns which deliverables.
5. Watch for signs of burnout
Pay close attention to how your hybrid team is feeling. If you notice someone outspoken behaving quieter than usual or someone calm and composed having a temper, they may be showing signs of burnout. If a team member shares that they have five big tasks on their plate, work with them to prioritise the top 3. When your team members are struggling to meet deadlines, help them through it day by day.
We have written a detailed article on how to recognise signs of burnout and avoid it. Read more here.