The last eighteen months have been a whirlwind. We’ve lived on Zoom, spent the majority of time in our pyjamas from the waist down and made cups of teas and coffees to our hearts content, without having to make some for the whole office!
But now your staff may be asking, ‘are we returning to work?’
Whilst the answer varies depending on the business, a lot of employers are answering with “yes and no”. Yes, we’re returning to work, but no, we’re not going back to how it used to be.
For many employers, this may be a stressful time – especially if you’ve never managed a hybrid team before. The good news is, you’re in good company. Employers all over the globe are adapting when it comes to managing a hybrid team & we have some tips that may help you along the way.
Quick summary – what is hybrid working?
Hybrid working is a working arrangement between you and your team which lets your employee decide where they would like to work. This can be based on factors such as productivity, commute cost, and childcare etc.
Hybrid teams are made up of both remote and office workers. Some employees may work 2 days a week in the office and 3 from home, others may work fully remote and some completely office based.
The key is flexibility and working to help meet the needs of your employees where you can.
Set Clear Expectations
Hybrid working is the future of work and could be amazing for your business – but you need to let your employees know when they’ll be working.
Sorting out their working hours is one thing, but you also need to be clear on their goals whilst they’re working – especially if they work mostly from home. Clear guidelines and working patterns must be established before going full steam ahead with hybrid working.
If you haven’t already, we’d recommend sending your employees a survey to ask them what they want when it comes to their new flexible working life.
Set an Example
We all want our employees to enjoy hybrid working and really make the most of it, but as managers it’s our job to set a clear example.
Make sure you’re teaching your employees about the importance of a work/life balance.
Don’t be sending emails late in the evening or very early in the morning, as your staff members may think this is expected of them.
Do show your workers the importance of taking their lunch break and switching off on weekends and annual leave to enjoy time with their friends and family.
Encourage a healthy work/life balance amongst your team, and you’ll see an improvement in their productivity and work ethic.
Remember, you’re all one big team
If you’ve never managed a hybrid team before, it can be quite easy to split your staff into different groups. For example, …
- Remote staff
- Part time office staff
- Full time office staff
You need to see your team as a whole, and make sure you’re giving them all a fair chance to grow and move up in the business.
Build Strong Communication
Communication is key.
In the office, you don’t need to think about communication. Conversation flows, workers who need help get an extra hand, and big projects that need more bodies are volunteered for.
Working from home, things are a little different. Webcams and laptop screens don’t always have the same energy as face-to-face encounters.
It’s important to keep up strong communication with your team, just like you would in the office. Let them know about upcoming events or projects and keep them in the loop so they aren’t left in the dark.
Stay Organised and give your team ‘meeting free’ hours
This is really important, especially for employees who are working from home. Designating ‘meeting free’ hours will help employees stay on top of their independent workload.
There’s nothing more stressful than having work piling up while you’re stuck in Zoom calls all day. Only have meetings that are important, to ensure your employees are able to finish their tasks.
Meetings all day could put a strain on your employees and leave them frustrated and stressed. This could also create an unhealthy work/life balance if your staff are working into the evening to catch-up.
Organise events for the whole team
Since most of us have been working remotely since March 2020, there may be team members you haven’t even met yet. Now things are looking safer, organise a day out, or a night out, for you and your team. Whichever you prefer!
This is a great way for your team to bond. It’ll also be great when it comes to communication online. People are more inclined to collaborate and ask for help if they know the person and get along well with them.
We hope these tips have helped when it comes to introducing your staff to hybrid working. If you’ve introduced your employees to this already – use these points as a little reminder to keep things running smoothly throughout the process. We wish you and your team the best of luck!