01 Feb How to manage hybrid teams in 2021
Tips for managers of hybrid teams
Across Australia, employees are starting to return to their offices. Survey data shows that a third of the workforce would like a hybrid model of 1-3 days in the office and the rest remotely. Employees value the flexibility of being able to work from home or in the office. According to the survey, employees felt that a hybrid model would positively impact their productivity.
For managers, hybrid working models pose new challenges. Just as you learnt how to manage your team remotely, you will adjust to managing hybrid teams. As teams adapt to a mix of remote and office working, managers can better support their teams to perform at their best. Today we share our top tips for managing hybrid teams, as we navigate a return to the office.
1. Make the office attractive
Many companies are thinking about how to make the office an enticing place for employees. As managers, you want your team to return by choice. The office should provide the right facilities and tools, but also professional and social connections.
Consider setting designated team days when everyone comes into the office—schedule team meetings and collaborative tasks for this day, to maximise social and professional networking.
Consult your team on what they want and value in the office. Is it face-to-face mentoring? Professional development training? The physical office environment? Understand what’s important to your team so that you can maximise the benefits of being in the office. You may also want to pass on employee feedback to the property and HR teams so that they can plan accordingly.
2. Communication and connection
Unsurprisingly, communication remains key to keeping your team happy and motivated. Check-in regularly with your employees one-on-one to see how they’re going, both professionally and personally. Focus on their wellbeing, not just their inputs. Remind them of their purpose.
Show appreciation for a job well done and share individual employees’ successes with the whole team.
Communication also helps to build a sense of connection. The more connected your team feels, the happier and more resilient they’ll be.
3. Set clear expectations
As organisations start calling employees back into the office, managers need to set clear expectations for hybrid work arrangements. Consult your team on their preferences and plans. Each employee will have their own health needs, family care arrangements, and so on.
Expectations regarding performance should also be clear. Discuss and agree on how you will measure their performance and productivity. Focus on outputs and outcomes instead of inputs. Regularly review hybrid work arrangements to see if they’re working well, and adjust if needed.
Lastly, give people time to adjust. We are not returning to the same offices we left back in March 2020. Everything from limited lift capacity to socially distanced workstations will feel different. It will take some getting used to.
4. Training and support
As employees adapt to working in a hybrid team, they may need training and support. Managers should encourage upskilling to maximise productivity. For example, your team may need to learn how to use new communication tools or run blended meetings effectively.
Managers should also consider their own training needs, such as leadership and influencing skills. Be a good role model for your team by showing a growth mindset yourself. Don’t forget your own well-being. Many leaders reported being stressed last year, so focus on having a better work-life balance this year.
As managers, we have to prepare ourselves and our teams to adapt to new ways of working. Investing in skills development can make it easier for you, as a leader, to know exactly how to manage your team remotely, as well as for your team to thrive. Learn how our tailored programs can help your team increase productivity, regardless of working location.
By Simon Nicholls