Thanks to the rise of remote work, the manner in which work teams operate has changed. COVID-19 lead to a widespread emergence of remote work arrangements – but now, as some return to the office while others prefer to remain working remotely, many teams are facing an atypical work terrain. Managing such diverse teams can present unique challenges for HR, but with the right strategies, you can bet that your hybrid team will remain engaged, connected, and productive. Here are some effective ways to manage teams when some members work remotely while others are in the office:
- Promote Inclusivity
A key challenge in managing hybrid teams is ensuring that remote and in-office employees feel equally valued and included:
- Encourage open communication: Digital tools and platforms can facilitate regular communication between team members. Schedule virtual meetings that let remote employees participate actively and share their ideas.
- Equal access to resources: Ensure that both remote and in-office team members have access to the same resources, information, and opportunities for professional development.
- Recognize remote contributions: Reward the achievements and contributions of remote employees the same way you would for those in the office. Highlight their achievements during team meetings and celebrate their efforts publicly.
- Set Expectations
Clarity is vital when managing hybrid teams. Establish clear expectations for work hours, availability, and performance standards:
- Define work hours: Regardless of their location, remote employees should understand when they are expected to be available for meetings. Flexibility is important, but having some core hours can help synchronize teams effectively.
- Use project management tools: Project management software can help assign tasks, set deadlines, and track progress. This allows individual and team performance to be monitored regardless of physical location.
- Outline a remote work policy: A comprehensive remote work policy that clearly explains expectations, guidelines, and the tools required for remote employees to perform their roles well.
- Encourage Team Building and Social Interaction
Promoting team cohesion is essential for hybrid teams:
- Virtual team-building: Organize virtual team-building activities like online games, trivia, or challenges. These can be a fun way to help remote and in-office team members bond.
- Hybrid meetings: When hosting team meetings or events, allow both remote and in-office employees to participate using video conferencing tools. This way, everyone can contribute and engage in communications.
- Social channels: Create dedicated social channels on your company’s communication platform for informal social interactions like sharing personal updates and celebrating birthdays or work anniversaries.
- Invest in Technology
Leverage technology to bridge the gap between remote and in-office team members:
- Collaboration tools: Use collaborative software to facilitate real-time communication, document sharing, and project management.
- Video conferencing: Invest in high-quality video conferencing tools for clear communication during meetings and promote a sense of connection among teams.
- Virtual whiteboards: Use virtual whiteboards for brainstorming and collaboration, allowing remote employees to actively participate in the creative process.
In closing, managing hybrid teams composed of remote and in-office employees requires an inclusive approach. By developing the right culture, setting clear expectations, promoting team building, and utilizing technology, you can create a harmonious work environment where all team members are engaged, motivated, and working effectively together regardless of location.