Here we continue our spotlight on Hybrid Working. These articles help provide you with the competitive edge – this week Nicky Carew looks at how you lead your Hybrid Team to make hybrid work, work for you.

A recent article in summed up the need for careful preparation for the Hybrid economy.

“The companies and managers who intelligently navigate the new era by treating their employees with dignity, respect and empathy will win the war for talent. The executives who smartly ask their employees what type of work style is best suited for them will win over their trust and confidence.”

The benefits have been powerfully outlined by fellow member of The Change Maker Group, Vanda North, in this article How To Thrive in The New Reality.

Why Hybrid?

The notion of work is changing.  Gone is the time when employees needed a good reason to work from home the odd day.  Now you need a compelling reason to be in the office.  Employees are voting with their feet – some are desperate to get back to the office environment and some now relish the time saved from travelling and the autonomy of working from their home or at least nearby.  Who they chose to be their employer may be made on how their aspirations for Hybrid working will be met.

A hybrid team at work

What that now means is “Hybrid Work” refers not only to an individual’s flexible working environment.  It also means managing the different working environments a leader will find members of his/her team choose.  Some of your team will be at home and communicating by Zoom/Teams (Zeam?). Some will still be gathering in the meeting room cup of tea in hand.  The challenges are more complex than when we were all working remotely or all in the shared space.

Your 7-point checklist to make your hybrid work team work:

Your challenge is to lead your Hybrid team so that everyone benefits from the camaraderie. To produce great outcomes you need impactful collaboration.  Here’s our 7 point checklist to consider before you can create an effective Hybrid Working culture.

  1. Do you know what each member of your team wants and what are their personal challenges?
  2. Is there a compelling reason for everyone to be in the shared space (office) and if so when?
  3. How do you create the sense of belonging between people who choose not to travel daily to an office and those that do?
  4. Have you communicated clear goals for the outcomes you need from the team?  This will enable them to collaborate and achieve without the need to be seen in the office.
  5. How can you support all your team members equally whether they are in your eyesight or on the end of their computers?
  6. Are you modelling the behaviours your team expect of you and that you want them to exhibit?
  7. How can you recreate the social bonding from the chats and shared coffee breaks that can build team trust in a hybrid team?

Hints and Tips

Here are some ideas that we have shared with our clients that might start you off to a new Hybrid working culture:

  • Create opportunities for your team to engage all together – not just for work but also to share some social time. That doesn’t have to be an opportune moment when they are all together in the shared space.  It could be a Zeam session (I’m going with that mashup) when everyone, including those in the office, are at their terminals.
  • Mixed sessions, when some are on Zeam and others together in a meeting room, need a special effort. We suggest appointing an inclusion chairperson whose agenda is to ensure that people in shared space and those in virtual space are reconnecting with each other with care.
  • All your team members need your time.  Not just as a manager but also to impress you with their work ethic and ability. That may be easier in shared work space than online.  Help the team contribute to recognising how their team is unique.  How are you going to create that in the hybrid culture?  However – beware the ‘busy’ trap.  Your team will be unique because it delivers outcomes as a Hybrid team – not because some people are seen to be busy.
  • Ensure you co-ordinate tasks that require collaboration.  At The Change Maker Group we have a highly effective culture of using our virtual notice boards to pull together diverse teams to work on projects. Help everyone get comfortable using collaboration technology platforms – there are loads of different creative systems out there to choose from.
  • Ensure that virtual workers benefit from the same development opportunities that the office based people are.
  • Your teams will respond to your honesty and vulnerability about the challenges.  Be open and discuss what you are finding hard in a hybrid team as a member and as a leader and help them contribute to the solutions. Share your successes and discoveries and encourage others to do so too.

Pulling in two directions

75% of employees want at least 2 days remote working and over a quarter are actively looking for work that will offer this.
Three quarters of senior managers, on the other hand, are seeking to return to the old paradigm – office centred 5 days a week.

Please see the McKinsey & Company article on ‘It is time for leaders to get real about hybrid working’

Never have the following 2 clichés been truer – there is no quick fix and one size will not fix all!  Leaders will need an agile approach to test what works for their organisation and employees best.  With some thought and conscious consideration NOW, you can create a powerful and productive hybrid working culture. This will also build your organisation, attract and keep the best talent – demonstrating ‘this is how we do things around here for the benefit of all’.

What is your experience in Hybrid Work?   What challenges do you have to create the culture for your organisation to thrive with the talent you need?

To continue this conversation, please contact us at The Change Maker Group

Nicky Carew

And you can chat to Nicky here

See Nicky’s 2-minute video summarising her article.