How do you increase the productivity of hybrid teams? This is a question that occupies the thoughts of numerous business owners and managers. Unsurprisingly, in our present situation, even though the pandemic is significantly better than it was a year ago, cases are still rising and there is still the threat of a possible third wave hitting us. Many employees have grown accustomed to working remotely for the past couple of years and have now opted to do the same while some, on the contrary, chose to start working in their company’s workspaces. This difference in choices has led to the formation of many hybrid teams. A study by Atlas Cloud in the UK resulted in the observation that 26% of the employee population desire to work remotely full-time while 62% prefer hybrid work where they have an option to work both remotely and in-office according to their demand.
What are hybrid teams? A Hybrid team is a flexible work structure where some employees work remotely while the rest work in the company’s office. The demand for working remotely is steadily increasing, especially among the younger workers (information obtained from The Guardian). As such, many employers find themselves pondering over how to make the best out of the situation and increase productivity when many employees are working remotely. We here at Engage offer you our help with some tips to run a hybrid team successfully.
Time management is essential in anything and everything we do, especially when there are deadlines involved. Many employees tend to stick to their schedules better when they are working remotely. Since there is no need to commute to a location or get ready for the day, it is sometimes easier to work from home. When people work in offices, they need to plan their days accordingly to make sure there is enough time left after they reach their workplace so as to avoid being bombarded with work without even catching a break after their travel. Many employees these days are very fast-paced and tend to work overtime to meet deadlines. As admirable as it is, working overtime often leads to exhaustion, resulting in the quality of their performance decreasing and not even coffee can solve that problem.
To make sure the employees in your team don’t drain themselves by overworking, it is important to let them practice organising their tasks for the entire day. Employees in hybrid teams tend to have very different schedules and practices with the only exception of having the same team meetings. To function well in such conditions, one must make sure to monitor themselves and organise their agendas for the day clearly. There are multiple applications that help you and your coworkers prepare for the day such as Todoist, Toggl Track, or Rescue Time. By scheduling tasks and managing working hours, the productivity of employees significantly increases thus boosting the team morale as well as the quality of projects submitted.
Comfortable work environment
Not everyone can be unbothered about what happens in their surroundings and proceed to work as usual. In truth, your surroundings affect you a lot when you try to focus on your work. You can’t get the same concentration in a noisy cafe as you would get in your designated workspaces. This leads us to our next tip: Always make sure your work environment is comfortable and invigorating, especially when the work requires creative thoughts. To help in-office employees, you can liven up the workplace by arranging multiple potted plants all over the office. Plants help in de-stressing and also give colour to the office, creating a gentle atmosphere. Letting employees place personal items in their allocated desks or cubicles helps in boosting motivation and creating a comfortable familiarity in the office environment.
For those who work remotely, it is important that they have a proper workspace in their living quarters. When you work while on a beanbag or on your bed, it might be comfortable at first but as a couple of hours pass by, your focus is bound to wander as you start to get disinclined to work. There are multiple distractions when you work from home. After a couple of hours, you might just start to feel like that Netflix show you’ve been binging or the new update in the online short story you’ve been reading is trying to lure you into its arms. To make sure you don’t give in to your impulses, you need to keep your distractions at bay by secluding your workspace from the rest of your house. What doesn’t reach you can’t affect you.
The most important requirement for a functional hybrid team is good communication. Since the team is split into people working from the office and those working remotely, ideas need to be shared with everyone in an online portal to ensure maximum engagement among team members. Instead of having long meetings once a week, it is better to have short, 15 minute meetings often to brief your members on what they need to do and let your employees catch everyone up on their progress and their requirements. A tacit understanding is vital among team members to produce satisfactory content. Team building is essential for good communication. Get your team members together on a video call to have group activities and understand how each one of them works. A good leader knows their team.
As employees work both in-office and remotely, they need to have proper devices in all their workspaces. When one works in two different places, it is imperative that they have the appropriate technology in both workspaces to ensure a satisfactory continuation of work. There are many handy tools and applications that help you connect with your remote team members and aid them in staying on top of their tasks. Applications that help in remote collaboration and promote knowledge sharing are also a great addition to your work life. To ensure efficient communication in hybrid teams, you must also have well-designed software and tools. This helps employees connect with each other and increase productivity as it bridges the gap between those who work in-office and those who work remotely. We live in a world of technology and it is only expected that we make the most of it.