Leading a team in 2021 is very different to how it was a few years back. You don’t need me to tell you how the pandemic has completely  turned almost every business on its head and accelerated a digital transformation. It’s been a steep learning curve for everyone out there, and while most companies appear to have settled into a rhythm of remote working, it’s a constant work in progress to ensure your business continues to run smoothly, while ensuring your team remains engaged, connected and motivated.

The future workplace

Are we ever going to go back to the “old normal” with having the entire workforce in the office from 9 am – 5 pm? Or has this pandemic shown us just how adaptable and flexible we truly are? By being forced out of our comfort zones, many businesses have awoken to a whole new way of working and managing their teams, and I am a firm believer that a hybrid work environment is the future – pandemic or no.

Naturally, adopting a hybrid team in which some employees are co-located in an office and others are doing their jobs remotely, presents a few challenges for managers. These could include an “us versus them” undercurrent, as well as issues surrounding communication and team engagement. As a leader in the workplace, what steps are you taking to ensure your remote team is in sync with the office employees?

Managing hybrid workplace teams

Offering support to your staff is vital, and it’s pertinent that you reach out to them either through a video call or socially distant in-person meeting. Employees want and need to feel that they’re being cared for.

My advice for adopting a hybrid team structure is to set clear priorities so that everyone in your team (both remote and in-office teams) knows what’s most important at any given time. Set expectations and accountability so that both home and office-based employees can work together productively and know who is doing what. You might choose to run daily or weekly meetings with your team to start each day or week on the right foot, then share progress regularly on key projects with the entire team to maintain momentum.

Define clear working hours to help you and your team know who is working when and where. Sharing your work calendars will help to further boost the visibility of this crucial information.  Ensure fairness and flexibility when considering that staff in the office may want a firm structure, while a remote team might expect more flexibility with regards to their working hours.

Enable your teams with the right technology

Reliable technology is essential to ensure your staff are able to collaborate effortlessly, whether working in the office or remotely. Be mindful of communication and make the entire team feel equally included. For example, instead of hosting two separate meetings – an in-person office meeting and then a separate digital meeting for the remote team – host the meetings virtually through Microsoft Teams, even though some of these people may be together in the office. This will give your hybrid workforce a sense of inclusion, where everyone has the opportunity to weigh in and feel part of the team.

At the end of the day, it’s clear that our workplaces have become more fluid than ever before. This can cause the dynamics of your team to change, which requires careful and adaptive management. With the use of great collaboration technology ecosystems, strong unified communication and information sharing practices, implementing a hybrid team structure can help lead your business into the future and beyond.