The hybrid work environment is nothing new, but it is definitely on the rise with the ever-growing need to adapt in today’s world. A hybrid team is a mixture of work locations, some working in an office environment and others working remotely. Some companies have a rotation schedule and other companies, at least for now, are allowing employees to decide where they want to work. Among other things, this has created the need to figure out a new way to broadcast communication effectively to your hybrid team.
Why the shift to a hybrid work environment?
As COVID spread globally, companies were faced with sending employees home while operations still needed to continue. At the onset of lockdowns, companies scrambled to provide the means for staff to work remotely, mainly from their homes. As people start to return to the office, there are still practices in place that require social distancing and smaller maximum capacity limits. This has led to companies rotating the number of employees that come into the office while others work remotely.
The old attitude that employees won’t work as hard if left unsupervised is proving to be incorrect. Company execs are seeing firsthand that most employees are actually more productive working remotely, mainly because there are fewer interruptions. There is also the ability for employees to take care of quick personal business without taking off work. These are all positive attributes that increase employee satisfaction and engagement. On the other hand, some employers still want to see workers at their desks. A hybrid team seems to be a happy medium for both sides, especially when staff is in the office at least once or twice a week.
But won’t communication suffer?
Communicating effectively within a hybrid team can be an adjustment at first, but companies are learning to adapt to the ever-changing need for better communication tools. Many companies have been forced to provide a way for staff to collaborate while working remotely. Although traditional methods of communication are still viable, they lack the ability to perform effectively in this new environment. Some obstacles include:
- Video conferencing: You have to schedule time, even if you only have a quick question and/or only a few minutes to converse. There’s also the interruption of barking dogs, etc.
- Phone calls: May come at an inconvenient time
- Email: While still an efficient avenue for sharing information, it may not garner an immediate response if needed
Video conferencing is a great tool for group communication and those times when face-to-face or visuals are warranted, however, most remote communication is best done by providing a centralized messaging platform that allows for instant communication between two or more people. This tool should have the ability to set up channels between individuals, teams, projects, departments, etc. It can also be a way to share documents that further assists with remote team collaboration. An effective communication platform will integrate with your other work tools, making it a hub that staff can access anywhere, anytime.
Hybrid team engagement
Engagement is even more important as the work environment has shifted. While some may be happy to work in isolation, others may feel left in the dark. Since engagement plays an important role in work effectiveness and productivity, it’s imperative that managers understand how to keep every team member, regardless of location, engaged. Communication is the key to creating inclusiveness, especially for those not working in an office environment. Here are some communication tips to help make everyone feel part of the team:
- Make sure everyone on the team is included in company-wide channels of communication
- Have channels for casual conversation (birthdays, accomplishments, vacation pictures, etc.). Encourage staff in the office to use this channel as well so those working remotely don’t miss out
- Have regular one-on-one check-ins to ensure staff is staying focused and completing tasks
- Listen for clues of discouragement and respond to them
- Make sure communication is two-way so team members feel they are being heard
Good communication is a must for an effective hybrid team
Even the best communication platform is only as good as how well you use it to communicate. It’s like having a high-performance sports car and not knowing how to drive. It’ll look good in your driveway, but it won’t get you where you need to go. Here are some ways you can ensure the entire team is getting and giving effective information.
- Make sure everyone knows where to find information
- Make sure messages are clear and transparent
- Encourage staff to speak up when a message isn’t clear or is confusing
- Make sure everyone is getting the same information at the same time
- Make sure everyone understands the expectations of them to be responsible for reading and responding to messages
- Schedule regular team sync-ups
- Use video meetings when conveying important information, especially changes. Don’t forget about the importance of body language
Be the change agent your hybrid team needs
Now is your opportunity to be the change your team needs! As your company continues to adjust to changes, communication should be at the forefront of your strategy. You can grow and strengthen your employees by continually learning ways to broadcast communication effectively to your hybrid team.
Get started on team communication with Copy5.