An increase in work flexibility is one of the major changes that occurred over the last few years. What defines a hybrid team? what are the best practices to lead a hybrid workforce successfully? In this article we will be sharing what you need to know about this concept and its benefits. In case you are wondering if hybrid is going to impact the future of leadership, deskbird, as an expert on flexible work organisation, will also answer this essential question.
What is a hybrid team? Definition
A hybrid team is a group of employees who work from different places. This is the perfect combination of the traditional workplace structure where all workers have to be at the office every day and the fully-remote work model. Within a hybrid company, some team members will work from home, others in co-working spaces, and some at the office itself.
However, some arrangements have to be set for this structure to work. For instance, the amount of time that employees should spend at the office is very important, be it 2 days per week, 1 week per month, etc.. Each business needs to set its own framework and provide clear guidelines.
Also important is to leave the past behind us- and scrap old, outdated ways of thinking about work. Adopting a hybrid approach requires you, as an employer or a leader, to rethink how to manage your teams, and your employees to adapt to a new way of working.
How to lead a hybrid workforce? Best Practices
You might be wondering what the key aspects of managing a successful hybrid team are.
One of the possible disadvantages of hybrid work is staff exclusion and the creation of silos. In order to avoid that, leaders need to be inclusive. This is also why a clear communication strategy is important. It needs to be thoroughly prepared and shared with the whole team. Also, workers should have access to proper tools in order to maintain great communication (you will learn more about this topic below).
Providing those tools is key for a hybrid work model. However, each person may have different needs. As a leader, it is your role to listen and support your team to ensure they have the best working conditions. Therefore, managing a flexible team is also being employee-centric as well as staying visible and supportive.
Don’t forget that one of the reasons why hybrid work is the future of work is that, in order to be successful, companies have to put their employees’ first. Work flexibility is highly requested by employees and therefore hybrid working remains an option at many companies after the pandemic.
Last but not least, as a leader, you need to be ready for this complete reshuffle in the way we work. Hybrid team management and soft skills training can be a great support to help you embrace this new way of leading.
Which are the most important tools for an agile work team?
So, which tools and equipment are a must for an agile work team? The most obvious ones are hardware. To work properly and communicate with the team, each employee needs to have access to different materials like a wifi connection, a laptop, a camera and microphones.
Communication tools are also very important and have to be chosen according to your workforce’s needs. Among the most common ones, you may decide to operate with Slack, Zoom, Google Meet, etc. It doesn’t matter which one you and your team choose, as long as it matches your requirements.
Two main areas are at the core of hybrid team management: communication and office organisation. Your office layout may be based on a shared desk system where people use the same office space at different times of the day or the week. This is called hot-desking and it requires some organisation to make for successful implementation, such as a workplace management software.
What are the benefits of a flexible team structure?
The are many advantages of a hybrid team. Here is a list of the main benefits:
Better collaboration and work relationship;
healthier work-life balance;
extra time for learning opportunities;
better mental health;
safer and healthier workplace.
As you probably realise, those positive outcomes benefit the employees as much as the company.
➡️ Are you wondering how to create a safe and healthy workplace during the pandemic? Here is an article introducing our latest feature, a Covid-19 screening tool.
Is hybrid management the future of leadership?
Slowly but surely, vaccination rates are increasing and Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted. While some companies are planning the return-to-normal phase, many of them don’t want to operate like before. They are choosing to keep the hybrid model.
This is happening for various reasons but the benefits of a flexible team structure mentioned above highly influenced this choice. Working from anywhere while still being able to come to the office when needed is a great compromise between a traditional workplace model and fully remote work.
Now, the goal for businesses is to come up with a strategy to build a hybrid work model. It has to ensure those advantages are maintained and no issues are created, like isolation for example. Managers are playing a big role in this complete reorganisation and flexible working is pushing them to rethink their management methods. As with any big change, this requires creating new rules, different habits and a phase of adaptation, for them and for their teams.
Good to know: according to a survey about the future of hybrid work from May 2021 made by Mckinsey, “the majority of executives expect that (for all roles that aren't essential to perform on-site) employees will be on-site between 21 and 80 percent of the time, or one to four days per week.”
Even though leaders may need to learn how to manage a hybrid team, the outcomes are already truly positive. Some time of adaptation is necessary as well as listening to your employees’ needs, but yes, the future of work is definitely hybrid.
Would you like to know more about how workplaces are going to evolve? deskbird’s article about the workplace trends in 2022 should already give you a fair glimpse of this topic!
Paulyne is a hybrid work specialist, who writes about sustainability, flexible work models and employee experience.