How To Successfully Lead a Hybrid Team

09.02.21Baylee Olsen

How To Successfully Lead a Hybrid Team

COVID-19 has changed more things than just the way we interact with others. It has left far more changes than hand sanitizer and face masks. COVID-19 has changed the way we work and operate our businesses. One of the significant changes from the perspective of business is remote and hybrid work environments. Now we are trying to figure out how to move in this new area successfully. If you are struggling, you are not alone, and we are here to share some tips to help you manage the process! 

What is a hybrid team? A hybrid team is a team of workers who work both in-office and remote. A hybrid model could mean some employees work remotely 100 percent of the time, and others come into the office 100 percent of the time. It could also mean you have employees who work remotely and in the office during a workweek. 

FlexJobs conducted a survey and found 65% of its participants desire to work remotely on a full-time basis, and 31% prefer a hybrid remote work environment.* That is 96% of everyone surveyed! Times are changing, and having the ability to manage this change is imperative. 

Some of the significant challenges a company may face while trying to manage a hybrid work model are:

  • Effective Communication
  • Motivation
  • Workload Management
  • Technology

Despite the potential challenges, a hybrid work model could work for many organizations. Be mindful that the method to manage your remote team will be different from those in the office. Also, keeping in mind bridging the gap between the two groups, in-office and remote, is imperative. Learning how to identify your potential setbacks and tackling them head-on is the key to a successful transition. 

Effective Communication

Who has yet to adjust to the world of virtual meetings? Zoom, Google Meets, Slack Meetings, you name it, we have all done it at this point. While we appreciate the virtual meeting options, coordinating meetings, being time-conscious, and presenting takes much adjustment, especially when you are only trying to update and align your team. We find ourselves asking, “Couldn’t that have been an email?”. 

Instead of always utilizing virtual meetings to ensure you are engaged with your team and effectively communicating with them, consider a daily check-in via instant messenger. This way, you can ensure your employees are logged in, working, and interactive. Have them utilize the “YTH meeting “* method. 

1. Y: this is what I did yesterday

2. T: this is what I will do today

3. H: this is where I need help

This method helps to track accountability and makes managers aware of any teachable moments within the team. 

TIP: When you have your virtual meetings, be sure to record the session and send out the recording to the team. This will help those who may have been distracted or unable to make the meeting as well as document topics, goals, and plans and ensure accountability!  

Motivation

Having the ability to motivate your employees successfully is difficult while in-office. Trying to foster up a plan to encourage a remote staff can be overwhelming. 

Your remote population is not privy to the in-office workings or operations. They may feel less motivated as they are unaware of information that may typically inspire them to work efficiently. To help bridge this gap, you can invite your employees to contribute to company conversations. 

Create a platform when employees can contribute their thoughts, ideas, and experiences. Encourage other employees to respond and engage. Sometimes the motivation to work comes from personal interactions. Making employees feel as if they matter and their opinions are needed can bring much inspiration and motivation. When employees do engage, shout them out and give focus and recognition. Doing so will encourage them and others to participate and boost morale. 

TIP: Using an instant messenger platform such as Slack or Google Messenger can help to facilitate this type of motivation. Create a group within the room that is solely utilized for employee interaction. This process will help to motivate and assist with team building. 

Workload Management

Working from home is the perfect camouflage for the slacker employee. Every organization has one.. or five! Remote work can also cause the “work-a-holics” to burn out as there is no observed structure. Unfortunately, there is no sure-fire way to ensure that either situation happens; however, there are things that can help.

Effective communication and login tracking could help to manage the concern. Setting expectations, providing consistent feedback, and having regular 1:1’s can aid in the hurdle. When it is all said and done, you will need to trust your employees and know you hired an employee who can rise to the occasion. 

TIP: Keep an eye out for employees who may show signs of being overwhelmed and/or employees who are missing meetings, unreachable, and not meeting deadlines. Address these issues as soon as they arise and document everything. The documentation will come in handy should any performance management issues arise in the future. 

Technology

According to studyfinds.com*, 62% of remote workers feel the lack of tech and software access initially made remote work difficult, and 57% stated the lack of adequate technology and software negatively impacted their productivity while working from home. Having solutions to address hybrid/remote workers’ technology challenges is imperative. 

Having an IT contact who is available for assistance during standard work hours is a must. Having systems and tools in place that can automatically monitor networks, software, and applications can help to head off problems. 

Having a required wi-fi network speed minimum and offering internet reimbursement can ensure employees stay connected. For those who provide cellular devices, consider offering hotspot options if the employees have internet interruptions. 

Offering cyber security training to reduce cyber security risks should be a must. Whether the activity is through an LMS platform, Zoom meeting, or written format, it should be considered. Educating employees on risky data practices can help to offset while working in a home environment. 

TIP: Using a Single Sign On (SSO) option and Virtual Private Network (VPN) should be considered. SSO decreases the number of times that an employee must enter a password. This decrease in frequency can reduce the odds of cyberattacks.* The VPN is an encrypted connection that helps to ensure that sensitive company data is transmitted safely. 

SDHRC can be a great source to aid you in the transition to a hybrid work model. No matter what the catalyst may be that brought you to offer this work option, SDHRC can help you successfully bridge that gap. 

Citations

Courtney, Emily. “Remote Work Statistics: Navigating the New Normal (2021): FlexJobs.” FlexJobs Job Search Tips and Blog, FlexJobs.com, 29 Apr. 2021, www.flexjobs.com/blog/post/remote-work-statistics/.

Owen, Written by Jo, and Jo Owen is the author of The Leadership Skills Handbook (published by Kogan Page). “Overcoming the Big Five Challenges of Managing Remote Teams.” CMI, 3 Nov. 2020, www.managers.org.uk/knowledge-and-insights/article/overcoming-the-big-five-challenges-of-managing-remote-teams/.

Melore, Chris, et al. “Hate Remote WORK? The Average Employee Faces Four’ Tech HEADACHES’ a Week in the Home Office.” Study Finds, 29 Mar. 2021, www.studyfinds.org/hate-remote-work-tech-four-tech-headaches-home office/#:~:text=The%20top%20thing%20remote%20workers,productivity%20while%20working%20from%20home.

Zielinski, Dave. “Creative Solutions to Remote WORKERS’ Technology Challenges.” SHRM, SHRM, 19 Aug. 2021, www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/technology/pages/creative-solutions-remote-workers-technology-challenges.aspx.


About the Author

Dawn Dean, “The Advocate”

Dawn Dean brings over 15 years of HR experience, most specifically employee relations, benefits and HR audits. Dawn is currently working towards her Bachelor’s Degree in HR Management and she is a published writer and blogger. Dawn loves hiking, swimming, boating, camping, you name it, if it’s outdoors, Dawn is there.