Over the past year, companies have discovered that remote work does not hurt productivity as much as once believed. Research has shown that remote work can even increase productivity, positively impacting an organization’s bottom line. One study found that over 90 percent of executives thought productivity stayed the same or increased.
In the post-pandemic world, more than 80 percent of companies are planning for hybrid teams. CIOs will need to prepare for this new, hybrid workplace. It means developing practices and policies that cultivate a team culture in a remote environment. One way to do this is to establish some rules to guide your hybrid team. Here are three rules that you can implement to help your hybrid team succeed.
1.Tools and Equipment
Members of your hybrid team must take ownership of their digital acuity. However, CIOs should be clear about the minimum competencies for employees concerning productivity tools. There needs to be some continuity to allow team members to communicate effectively with one another.
You will also need to provision equipment and offer adequate help desk service. In a successful hybrid team, no one should feel left behind. Be sure to check with each employee that they have what they need in their remote office, including reliable internet connection, devices, and connectivity software. Offer any training or tips that may be required to get your team on the same page.
2.Hybrid Team Unity and Health
Recent surveys have found employees can suffer mentally and emotionally when working from home. Anxiety, stress, and loss of sleep are some of the major issues that hybrid team members may face. A Telus International report found that 80 percent of workers would leave their jobs to work somewhere that focused on improving employees’ mental health.
It is essential to help members of your hybrid team avoid the negative impact of isolation and disconnectedness that can result from working at home. Peer-to-peer relationships and social connections can help remote workers overcome these risks.
Cultivate connectedness with water cooler events or team building activities and encourage all hybrid team members to participate. Be transparent with news or changes that will impact your team. Helping each member feel informed can combat feelings of isolation.
Creating an attitude of unity, inclusion, and team engagement may not be easy, but it is crucial. Managers need to be empathetic to the challenges of th remote team. Offer flexibility for employees who may need time off during the day for other responsibilities, such as a medical appointment or to pick up kids from school or other activities. Watch for signs that someone on your hybrid team may be struggling and reach out to them. Good managers who make themselves available to hybrid team members create a positive remote work experience.
Time Management and Hybrid Team Coordination
To build an effective hybrid team, you’ll also need to provide some guidance around the use of time. For example, let employees know what a reasonable response time is to a request from a team member. It’s also useful to be clear about flexibility and how teams are expected to use their work time.
One key to effective hybrid teams is to allow employees the flexibility to balance their work-life time. As long as the work is being completed and they attend meetings and activities when required, you don’t need to monitor their every move.
Having a schedule for collaborative time during the week will help strengthen the team’s connection and productivity. Aim for a good mix of individual work and team work time. For example, set Mondays and Wednesdays aside as in-person meetings and workdays so that everyone on the team knows where they need to be. Doing this can also overcome any perceived inequality between in-office workers and your hybrid team.
Set guidelines around response times, such as team members will respond within two hours if they receive a chat message in the collaboration software tool, but give them a day to respond to non-urgent emails.
Organizations are still adjusting to the new hybrid-work model, and it will take some time to get it right. It’s okay to figure it out as you go, but having some guidelines and rules in place can help everyone stay on track during the journey.