As we continue to move out of the pandemic, employees are returning to the office. Why then, are some companies continuing to implement hybrid work models, with some employees working on-site and others remotely?
The answer is pretty simple. Because for some organizations, it makes a lot of sense! Having a forced work-from-home situation showcased how some jobs and businesses can be just as productive remotely as they were in the office.
But that doesn’t mean it is easy. If you are a manager at such a company, you’re probably asking yourself questions like: How can I provide my team with a sense of unity? And how do I maintain a positive company culture when my team isn’t always in the same place? These are very fair questions!
Here are some ways to help you manage a team in a hybrid workplace:
1. Acknowledge workplace differences
Even if you are all on the same team, on-site and remote employees have very different day-to-day experiences. It’s important that you acknowledge the reality of the situation. On-site employees have the benefit of impromptu coffee conversations with fellow employees, and immediate access to company news and events. Remote employees only hear office chatter via planned video calls, where it is often less organic. On the other hand, remote employees don’t have to bother with long commutes, and can more easily run an errand in the middle of the day.
To provide an inclusive sense of belonging for both groups, it is important that you don’t pretend the situations are identical. Acknowledge that there are pros and cons to each and find ways to work around them.
2. Establish effective communication
To get everyone on the same page, consider implementing professional collaboration tools (e.g., Slack, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, etc.). These platforms allow for regular check-ins and team meetings, allowing you to clearly communicate expectations and offer assistance. Use one-on-one briefs on a weekly basis to maintain a consistent workflow and keep all team members on the same page.
3. Set expectations
While the final expectations will be the same for every employee, the path to getting there may look different for the two groups. All team members should fully understand the shared and individual goals of their assigned tasks and projects. Make sure everyone is able to access all necessary information, recognizing that communication channels may differ for employees depending on their location. Established expectations will help your team stay on top of their goals and know where everyone else stands.
4. Socialize outside of work
As a manager, consider planning social events or retreats outside of work to help bring your team together. Do what works best for your group: events can be either online or on-site. Get creative! Depending on your team’s personality and your department’s budget, there are plenty of options to choose from (think virtual happy hour, scavenger hunts, trivia nights, or weekend retreats). Social events are a great opportunity to get to know your team members better, and they promote team unity. If you are stuck in the mud, try clicking here for some ideas.
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