Tips to Manage the Hybrid Workplace

More and more companies are adopting the hybrid workplace setup. According to Gallup, approximately 5 in 10 remote-capable employees work in a hybrid arrangement, while only 2 in 10 work entirely on premises. For the foreseeable future, hybrid workplaces are only going to become more widespread. However, what works when managing a traditional workplace may not apply (or be detrimental) in a hybrid environment. 

What are the challenges of a hybrid workplace?

Though a hybrid workplace has clear benefits when it comes to employee satisfaction and comfort, improved work-life balance, and savings on transportation and office space overhead, it also comes with difficulties.

  • Communication: Hybrid arrangements are much more dependent on reliable communication technology than traditional workplace setups. Furthermore, because each employee has their own system at their home office, there is more potential for technical issues, such as internet connection problems. 
  • Collaboration: Due to the nature of hybrid work, coordination between team members necessitates greater effort and awareness, especially when it comes to sudden decisions on any group task. This can lead to team members missing out on larger exchanges and planning. In addition, it is easier within a hybrid workplace for social interactions between team members that are necessary to a healthy work environment to fall to the wayside.
  • Creativity: Because most group exchanges in a hybrid workplace are primarily through video conferences (which can be affected by technical issues), it can be more difficult for team members to freely share ideas with each other.   

Overcoming these challenges to ensure productivity and a healthier work environment is why the hybrid workplace needs effective management.

How do you manage a hybrid workplace?

To meet the needs of your hybrid workforce, you should implement the following tips and best practices:

Set clear expectations

The first thing you should do is establish clear expectations, organize schedules, and prepare regular communication methods (video calls, instant messaging, emails) for both in-office and remote teams. Maintain regular check-ins and open communication channels to bridge physical divides and keep everyone informed. Consider weekly “pulse checks” with your remote team via video calls to get their feedback and address their concerns directly.

Strengthen communication

Conducting video calls as much as possible helps remote team members feel included and engaged. Avoid impromptu in-office meetings and schedule virtual alternatives to involve everyone in important decisions. When you do need to have physical meetings, try to schedule them ahead of time as much as possible, while also circulating meeting agendas beforehand.

Properly equip your team

Invest in reliable tools that empower smooth collaboration, such as video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Google Meet, to facilitate face-to-face interaction. Implementing project management tools such as Trello or Asana can also keep everyone on the same page regarding project tasks, timelines, and output levels. In addition, use secure cloud storage like Dropbox or Google Drive to share document and real-time updates, regardless of location.  

Maintain cybersecurity hygiene

Because data security is paramount, you must instill good security habits in your employees, especially when it comes to password security and phishing detection. Furthermore, consider implementing data encryption for sensitive information and two-factor authentication for added security.

Bolster team camaraderie

Schedule regular virtual team-building activities like trivia nights, online games, or even virtual cooking classes. These fun interactions build rapport, combat isolation, and foster a sense of belonging. 

However, while virtual connections are crucial, don’t dismiss the usefulness of in-person interactions. Prioritize face-to-face meetings for brainstorming sessions, team retreats, and team or organizational milestones. These shared experiences solidify relationships and fuel creative energy. 

Emphasize flexibility

Embrace flexible work schedules by utilizing project management platforms and document-sharing tools to keep everyone informed and synced, even across different time zones. Asynchronous communication, such as leaving detailed comments on documents, ensures that everyone stays updated without scheduling conflicts.  

You should also schedule tasks based on individual preferences and allow flexibility to accommodate personal needs and schedules. Consider implementing core hours for essential meetings and collaboration, while allowing individual project work to be completed during preferred times.

Prevent “us vs. them” mindsets

Actively break down barriers between in-office and remote employees to prevent toxic “us vs. them” thinking. Any mindset that breeds resentment and pits teams against each other can result in an unproductive and harmful work environment. Facilitate cross-team interactions through virtual coffee breaks, collaborative projects, and social events. Consider “buddy programs” where in-office and remote team members pair up to build relationships and understanding.

Learn more about the hybrid workplace and get the tools to support it by contacting PCA  Technology Group.