The modern workplace is constantly changing. Year after year, we have seen companies introduce flexible work options, the four-day work week, telecommuting opportunities, and more. This past year, some businesses were forced to implement work-from-home options due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With all these changes, the modern office looks nothing like past generations. To handle the evolution, the hybrid workplace was born. Now, companies are employing professionals who have several different types of workplaces, and with it comes new obstacles leaders now face.
According to a PwC study, by April 2021, only 51% of employers expect 50% or more of their employees to be in the office, revealing a vast number of businesses utilizing a hybrid workplace. And with 83% of employers saying using a remote workforce has been a success, it seems likely that a mixed workforce is here to stay. Managing the 21st century workplace can be difficult, but there are specific ways to successfully lead a team in and out of the office.
A few decades ago, companies wouldn’t have the option of having employees in separate locations, including working at home. It would have been an arduous process to keep up with everyone, let alone impossible to communicate with everyone effectively and at once. The past few years have seen a monumental shift in how organizations do business through the development of video, chat, and workforce management technology. Through communication lines like Slack, video conference platforms like Zoom, and project management apps like Trello, companies have never been more connected. When managing a hybrid workforce, be sure to use platforms like these to not only communicate with remote workers but with in-office staff members too. It’s important that all employees feel as though they are on the same page. This also includes conducting all meetings with a video conference platform option, even if a percentage of your team is in-house.
Focus on Team Synergy
To effectively lead a team, managers must ensure the entire organization works like a well-oiled machine. This begins with employers and employees understanding each person’s role and working together to create an outcome greater than the sum of its parts. Often in business, smaller teams tend to become “siloed” in the day-to-day workings of the organization. This effect creates misunderstanding, poor cross-department communication, and a lack of overall vision and big picture thinking. When managing a hybrid workforce, organizations are more prone to this due to the lack of face-to-face communication. To combat this, encourage mixed department meetings to discuss projects within the organization, as well as offering a quarterly all-staff meeting discussing the state of the company. Consider allowing questions for employees to voice concerns or the need for clarification.
Maintain Effective Communication and Expectations
While technology can be a conduit for communication, there still needs to be a strong focus from management to ensure all parties involved are on the same page. Consistent communication is key to knowing what your employees are working on and if they have any questions for their leaders. While there is a fine line to straddle between a laissez-faire leader and a micromanager, open communication is always welcomed. And if done correctly, leaders will achieve high productivity and employees can enjoy some level of autonomy. It all begins with clear expectations. Whether an employee is working a few feet from your office or a thousand miles away, being clear about exactly what is expected of the leader and employee will help you avoid a lost-in-translation misunderstanding, as well as frustrations when goals or deadlines aren’t met. To lessen the chance of communication breakdown, create a weekly or bi-weekly one-on-one meeting to go over an employee’s workload. Be sure to allow each staff member the ability to ask questions and seek advice on projects.
More Resources from Refresh Leadership
Check out these four articles for more insight on leading a remote or hybrid team during these times, as well as other practical tips!
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How do you lead a hybrid team? What tips would you give other managers to lead effectively? Let us know in the comments section below!