Setting your hybrid team up for success

Hybrid team is set to be the new norm for offices who have been able to all work virtually during the pandemic.

There are huge benefits to a hybrid team, not least improved productivity, motivation and retention of employees. However there are greater challenges facing these teams.

Below are 5 ways to set your hybrid team up for success.

1. UNDERSTAND FIRST. Spend some time understanding your employees preferred working environment and their home realities right now which may be influencing their choice (eg no childcare over the summer holidays, looking after vulnerable family members, not wanting to use public transport etc). Give your team a call and ask them a few questions:

a. Generally, how have they found working remotely

b. What has been their most surprising positive and negative experience of working remotely

c. What would be their preferred working place going forward (short term and long term)

d. Why

2) SHARED EXPERIENCE. Creating the same working principles for everyone, whether they are office based or home based will reduce the ‘them and us’ culture. Some ideas to think about include:

a. Core hours – set a core 5-6 hours (eg 9.30-3.30) when everyone, where ever they are based, are expected to be working and available for meetings. This can help reduce the belief that those working from home are ‘skiving’ or not working as hard as those in the office

b. Flexible working – outside of core hours individuals are free to choose when they work. This allows office based people the same flexibility as home based (can avoid rush hour, can incorporate school day, take exercise in the day not evening etc)

c. Performance is measured by results not by how or where the work is done. Key to this is having work and development plans for each team member with specific and measurable goals for them to deliver, which ladders up into the overall team and then company goals.

d. Find a cause that will unite your team think Game of Thrones when the feuding houses of Westeros united against the greater enemy of the white walkers. What goal (c 6-12 months out) could you set your team that will ignite their passion and see them set aside their differences in a heartbeat Examples could include supporting a local cause or improving productivity to a level that everyone can work a 4.5 day week

e. Mixed teams – Ensure that cross functional teams or organisational teams include a mix of office and remote based workers. This keeps everyone better connected and will improve communication.

3. MEETING AND COMMUNICATION PRINCIPLES.

a. Decide up front how meetings are to be run if anyone is attending virtually. Options include:

i)Everyone connects separately so it’s a shared experience

ii) Attendees in the office connect together from a meeting room but with an etiquette that includes only talking to the camera, not having side discussions, facing the screen not each other.

b. Put aside time to connect to every team member each week to touch base and connect. Encourage team members to do this with their team and peers.

c. Make use of social tools such as slack or skype to mimic water cooler conversations virtually as much as possible.

4. MARK THE CHANGE WITH A KICK OFF SESSION. Kick off the new way of team working with a half day or full day session (ideally with the team all in person but it can be run with some virtual attendees as well). Agenda for that session could include:

a. Sharing experiences. This will help the team to understand their colleague’s experience and how it may differ from their own experiences and belief about others. This can be done in a fun way, for example asking people to bring one visual that represents how they felt.

b. Getting input in desired culture. This is a great time to revisit the culture of the team and ask for input from the team itself of what culture they want.

c. Deploy the working principles of the team going forward (point 3)

d. Deploy meeting & communication principles (point 4)

e. Recognise and celebrate everything the team has achieved over the last few challenging months.

5. FINALLY REMEMBER THE IMPOSSIBLE IS POSSIBLE. If there is anything that Covid-19 has taught us, it is this. Spend some time capturing the enormous challenges that were overcome at a business and personal for inspiration going forward (it will be easy to forget just how much was achieved)

a. Collate all the changes that were implemented at a process, communication and people level and for each one highlight what worked and what didn’t (or caused additional challenges) with the change.

b. Ask individuals to capture and share what they achieved over look down that they would never have believed possible a few months ago. These could include examples such as home schooling, juggling jobs and childcare, managing internet challenges etc.

If you would like to understand anything in more detail about Hybrid Team or are interested in how to apply to your team I offer a free 30 minute consultation which can be booked by calling me,

Lorna, on 07788779711 or emailing lorna@vibrantthinking.co.uk.