It is safe to say that the office does not look as it did in the past. Today’s employees demand more flexibility from employers. Some might be able to work remotely. However, many managers and staff prefer flexibility. They can work in hybrid environments.
Although managing a team is difficult, hybrid work environments can present unique challenges. It is even harder to create a sense of community and culture when employees work part-time. Leaders often need to find ways to measure and maintain productivity across multiple schedules without communicating face-to-face.
You can constantly improve, whether you are a new manager or an experienced leader. It is often critical to let go of old leadership ideas, but this is essential for hybrid teams. Here are four tips to guide you manage mixed teams.
1. Set clear expectations.
Employees will feel more flexible and can take greater control of their lives. This can be positive, but too much can cause problems for the team. Without performance guidelines, it’s like trying to reach your destination without a plan. Clear expectations regarding schedules, communication methods, and milestone completion will maintain productivity.
A sense of structure can help to prevent negative feelings. The absence of one person from the office more than twice per week will not lead to accusations of favoritism. These guidelines can be used to help teams and managers coordinate their tasks. It might be a good idea to schedule important meetings or brainstorming sessions when everyone is present. Clear expectations allow employees to work independently without being interrupted.
2. Give the right tools and support.
Hybrid work environments are where employees don’t spend their entire day in the office. They still need the support and tools that an office environment offers. They must be able to communicate with you and your team members both in real-time and asynchronously. The same technology your team uses when working in person is also required.
Hybrid team members may save money on their commutes but might not want to pay for expenses at home. A monthly stipend for high-speed internet or equipment such as dual monitors could be part of the solution. Hybrid teams might be offered mobile technology by companies, such as smartphones and laptops loaded with internal software. This could include a VPN or collaboration apps. Another way to make hybrid employees more productive is to use cloud-based solutions.
3. Strategically use meetings
Managers might be tempted to use meetings to check in on hybrid teams. Conferences can make it easier for team leaders to update status and discuss progress. They get all the information/data they need at once. These meetings can feel like micromanagement for employees and a waste of time.
A boss can ask workers what they are working on and where they are with the project. It’s another thing to have to update their weekly progress and hear about statuses that don’t affect their work. You might find that some matters can be handled better using collaboration software or one-on-one conversations. Meetings should be viewed in terms of effectiveness and necessity. Refrain from bringing people together if it doesn’t lead to progress or actions.
4. Facilitate inclusive experiences for employees
Although hybrid and remote work is on the rise, managers still have negative perceptions of it. People are often out of touch when they aren’t there. SHRM’s survey revealed that 42% of supervisors forget about remote workers when assigning tasks. 67% of managers think remote workers are less valuable than full-time employees.
Although hybrid employees can be located remotely, their in-person schedules may differ from those of their peers and supervisors. Some team members may be excluded from critical conversations such as new directives and changes. Because they aren’t as visible, some employees might be overlooked for important project assignments.
Managers may also allow their personal biases regarding productivity to influence performance evaluations. Instead, you should divide the work according to skill and include all of your key contributors in project discussions. Reach out to everyone in the office, not just those who are there.
Hybrid working environments are a new way to work and one that managers often don’t know how to handle. Traditional ideas about leadership and productivity can be hindered by the inability to see what employees are doing at any given time. Supervisors of hybrid teams can learn to let go traditional management techniques and practice true leadership principles. It is possible to balance autonomy and flexibility with guidance and equitable support.