A lot of companies are going through a period of transition to a Hybrid Working model. This is a new way of working which follows on from the strangest two years we ever experienced. For many leaders, it presents a new challenge: how to manage the workload and performance of teams working in different locations. To help we have compiled some tips and pointers for managing teams in a hybrid world.
1. Clarify Core and Flexible Hours
In this new model, it is important to outline what flexibility is available as well as the core hours required for each role. Most people will need to be accessible to key stakeholders at certain times of the day or on certain days of the week. There will also be elements of their role that they can deliver at any time, independent of location or day.
Clarity helps to avoid conflict later so discuss your requirements now. Encourage each person to review their role so they take ownership of what they need to deliver.
Encourage flexibility in scheduling too. Many companies are adopting this ‘floating day’ concept:
- two fixed days at home
- two fixed days in the office
- one day in either location depending on the requirements week to week
This can help you and the team overlap with colleagues, even if your regular office days are not the same.
2. Regular Team Planning
It is important to plan ahead to get the best of the hybrid working model. People will now be working in two completely environments, so it makes sense to consider the best work to do in each location.
Encourage the team to share their work plans and priorities each week. This will help people optimise their time in the office by scheduling to attend on the same days to work together as required.
There are lots of great collaboration tools available for work planning and reporting such as Miro, Trello, Planner and Slack. These tools help everyone stay informed even when they are working remotely and can reduce the time required in team meetings for individual work status updates.
3. Review Communication Tools
During the pandemic, we adopted many new communication tools to help maintain a connection. It is a good time to review your current requirements. Do you still need as many tools? Can you streamline things? Remember, each brings constant notifications throughout the day which can impact people’s focus and productivity.
Have a brainstorm session within the team to agree on the best tool to use in each situation. A communication guideline can help bring clarity, such as:
- Email for Clients
- Teams Messaging for internal queries
- WhatsApp for team emergencies
It is also a good idea to agree on the required response time for each tool or stakeholder so that people can manage their time better.
4. Promote Work-Life Balance & Wellbeing
Many people reported a deterioration in work-life balance during the pandemic. As your team will be working at home on an ongoing basis, encourage them to have a good routine. It is important to agree on the boundaries so that people can switch off after work. Support this by making sure you stick to the agreed contact times.
For detailed tips on Work-Life Balance and Well-Being check our previous blog here.
5. Allow Time for Reconnection
The return to the office provides the opportunity for group interaction, collaboration, brainstorming and creativity. All those value-add things we missed during the pandemic. But of course, these activities take time. As people return to the office, they may feel their productivity reduces as they spend less time on transactional solo tasks. This may cause stress and anxiety. Managers can help this by emphasizing the importance of reconnection and relationship building for the organisation in the longer term.
Can you support this in a practical way by allowing extra time for deadlines and targets to take the pressure off during the initial weeks?
6. Encourage a Continuous Improvement Mindset
It will take time for each company to find its best Hybrid Working arrangements. Nobody has all the answers on Day 1. Ask your team for their input and listen to their concerns. Try things out for a period, then review and tweak things.
Within the team discuss what is working and what can be improved. This continuous improvement mindset engages people and encourages each person to play their part in making the model a success.
For further tips on productivity, you can access the beproductive.ie blog here.
Written by Productivity Consultant Moira Dunne, founder and director of beproductive.ie