Most studies reveal that employees might never be ready to go back to office, at least not on a full-time basis. In fact, a recent Satista study revealed that 73% of global employees wanted to retain the flexibility of their current work schedules. However, 67% of these same workers also said that they did look forward to more face-to-face interactions with their coworkers.
While some companies aren’t going to be on board with the idea of permanent remote work, the rising labor shortage and dramatic shift in the expectations of workers may give them no choice. Therefore, hybrid work becomes the ideal compromise for most organizations.
The ultimate reality is that hybrid work is going to be around for a while–a recent Ranstad survey confirmed that 47% of the folks who’d been asked, confirmed that they were more productive with a hybrid arrangement. For a business leader, this would be a great time to ensure that you’re up for the challenge. To ensure you get through this transition smoothly, we’ve made this guide to ensure your managers and supervisors are equipped with the information and tools they need to manage their hybrid workforce successfully.
But first let’s look at how hybrid work differs from remote work.
- Your employers decide where you work
- Your schedule’s flexibility is limited
- You can collaborate with remote teams and in-house teams
- You have enough social interactions
- You find it easier to set boundaries between home and work
- You can work from virtually anywhere
- You can design your own schedule
- You collaborate and seamlessly work with a global team
- You might face a lack of social interaction
- You can face difficulties in setting boundaries better home and work
While remote work comes with perks like having the flexibility of time and place it also brings about challenges like a lack of social interaction which might lead to isolation among some employees. However, hybrid work is a solution that is able to combine the best of both worlds to ensure your employees are able to maintain that balance.
Working remotely is great if you’re someone who manages your time well, and enjoys working independently, while also needing a greater flexibility in your work schedule. But if you prefer having more social interactions, going to your workplace and seeing your coworkers face-to-face, then hybrid work is something you should consider.
How Can You Manage Hybrid Teams Effectively?
1. Design your own hybrid workspace
The onset of a new work model, also means that a redesign of the traditional workplace is needed. Ensure you thoroughly evaluate your organization’s current work setting and determine what changes need to be made. Here are some key considerations every organization should remember for a smooth business functioning with a hybrid workforce.
Communication is a key factor that decides whether a business is successful whether managed from home or at a workplace. Employees need to have good communication skills and have the technology they need to convey/obtain information to do their work effectively.
Connectivity, between employees, be it remote or in-office, is another critical factor of a hybrid workforce. There are multiple hybrid tools to enable seamless collaboration among employees and managers. Automation with cloud computing, for functions like project management can ensure employees have an efficient project management tracking mechanism in place, while a time tracking tool can ensure that they are also accountable for the number of hours they work.
Employee engagement and monitoring
Boosting employee engagement with a hybrid workforce might be challenging, but the technology today ensures that it can be done in a few clicks. Tools like Microsoft Vivia, can bring together resources, and learn to ensure your teams are always empowered to be the best they can. With larger organizations however, it might be difficult to manually track if all employees are on the same page or even absenteeism. In such situations, having a team attendance tracker can ensure that your employees have their work hours (productivity + overtime) accurately recorded, so you can allocate off-times or learning resources in accordance.
2. Nurture a work culture with purpose
When your employees are able to connect with the purpose behind each task they do, and understand the reasons for it beyond the fact that it was just assigned to them, they will naturally be driven to the work they do in a more enthusiastic fashion. Being a manager, it would become your responsibility to ensure that your team’s purpose is set in place and that it also aligns with your organization’s values while being strong enough to inspire them to go beyond.
Be it at home or in-office, when an employee is able to emotionally connect with the ‘why’ of the work that they do, it raises their sense of responsibility and makes them feel like they’re a part of something bigger. This unified purpose ensures that engagement increases as well as their overall productivity.
3. Give your team the autonomy they need
Micromanaging is undoubtedly one of the biggest factors that lead to an unhappy workforce.
“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” —Steve Jobs
A manager needs to stand with their team as a support system and not as someone who controls and commands them. Rather than restricting your team by telling them what to do at every step of the process, give them the space they need to make their own decisions so they can find out which style of work suits them best.
4. Choose the right set of tools
Consider this situation: two team members who’re working on the same project, one from office but the other from home. Now if the employee at home completes his task but the employee in-office is stuck on the first one, how can they communicate their difficulties without having the right set of tools?
A hybrid workforce needs the right set of tools to ensure that employees can communicate and collaborate on all core business functionalities. How can you avoid this?
List down every critical business functionality that could be easily automated with the right set of tools and share their credentials with all your employees for easy access. Here’s a quick list of tasks to start automation with:
- Project management
- Expense management
- Employee attendance-tracker
5. Ensure everyone is treated equally
It’s a manager’s responsibility to ensure that bias never gets in the way of nurturing a positive hybrid workforce. As human beings, it’s natural to have favorites, but that does not mean you can give anybody special attention/treatment. Always ensure that the same level of treatment is given to everyone in your team or there’s a chance you may be looked down on by folks for being biased.
But that doesn’t mean you deny folks special attention when they’re in need of it to catch up with the team’s pace and remain proactive. Remember that in such cases, it’s essential to give them extra attention and one-on-one time.
Pro tip: Remember that if you are in charge of managing a hybrid team,you can take advantage of two TrackingTime features: project management time tracker and attendance tracker. You can track project progress while having attendance in sight. On the one hand, streamline absence reporting and gain valuable insights into team attendance patterns and trends. Then, create and assign tasks and subtasks, attach files, and set notifications. A simple way for work teams to collaborate and coordinate teamwork in one place.
The major benefits of a hybrid workforce
To sum up, here are the major benefits that hybrid work brings in:
- Helps to increase productivity and efficiency
- Reduces operating costs for employers
- Redefines collaboration and communication between employees
- Helps employees improve work-life balance
- Ensures employees have enough social interactions as opposed to feeling isolated with remote work
Just like the responsibilities you have as a leader will differ from those of your team members, the needs of those who work from home, those who work on a hybrid schedule and those who work in office will greatly differ. To do your best here as a leader, you need to understand each and every member in your team, while ensuring that there’s a culture of learning and development. This ensures that your team is capable of handling all the challenges thrown in the uncertain economic times ahead.
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How to Manage a Hybrid Team Effectively?
- Design your own hybrid workspace
Some key considerations every organization should remember for a smooth business functioning with a hybrid workforce are internal communication, collaboration and employee engagement and monitoring.
- Nurture a work culture with purpose
Being a manager, it would become your responsibility to ensure that your team’s purpose is set in place and that it also aligns with your organization’s values while being strong enough to inspire them to go beyond.
- Give your team the autonomy they need
A manager needs to stand with their team as a support system and not as someone who controls and commands them.
- Choose the right set of tools
A hybrid workforce needs the right set of tools to ensure that employees can communicate and collaborate on all core business functionalities.
- Ensure everyone is treated equally
Always ensure that the same level of treatment is given to everyone in your team or there’s a chance you may be looked down on by folks for being biased.