Managers believe that remote work will continue through 2021 and beyond. According to research presented in the Upwork Q4 Pulse Survey, over half of teams are working remotely at least part of the time and more than 2 in 5 of those teams are now fully remote. While some companies have transitioned to operating fully remote, others plan to return to work at the office in due time. However, some businesses have opted for a mix of the two working arrangements.
Managing a team with in-person and remote workers requires new skills and tools. Our guide will help you learn how to navigate and overcome the unique challenges in leading an effective hybrid team within your organization.
What is a Hybrid Team?
A hybrid team is made up of both in-office and remote workers. Gallup indicates that 59% of US workers prefer to continue working from home while the remaining 41% want to return to work as they did before the pandemic. A hybrid team is a flexible work arrangement that lets workers choose what suits them best in terms of productivity.
The Pros and Cons of Leading a Hybrid Team
Having a combination of in-office and remote team members offers plenty of advantages for leaders and teams, but like anything, it presents some challenges and drawbacks too.
Pros of Leading a Hybrid Team
- Happier Employees
- Giving employees flexibility with remote work means they can create the schedules that work for them and manage work with other responsibilities. Research shows that higher levels of worker autonomy lead to greater job satisfaction and a better sense of wellbeing.
- Improves Employee Retention
- Happy employees make loyal employees.Working remotely is one of the most desired offerings for job seekers and many are willing to take a pay cut in exchange for more flexible work options. Forbes found that organizations who offer remote flexibility improved their retention rates by 46%.
- Larger Talent Pool
- 71% of recruiters say they struggle to fill a position because of candidate skills gaps. Removing the geographic barrier allows your organization to fill open roles with the best talent regardless of location.
Cons of Leading a Hybrid Team
- Strained Social Connections
- Peer relationships are important to any organization and employee’s wellbeing, and building those bonds can feel complicated when in a virtual or hybrid environment. In addition, having some employees in office and some working from home can cause an “us versus them” mentality when not appropriately managed.
- Lack of Visibility
- For managers, it’s tough to see and celebrate the work everyone is doing when in a hybrid environment. Employees share concerns that their potential for career advancement could be impacted due to being “out of sight and out of mind.”
- Communication Breakdowns
- Creating genuine connection in a hybrid environment can be challenging. Buffer found that communication and collaboration are the top struggle cited when working remotely. This can cause silos of information and fuel feelings of exclusion among employees.
How to Manage a Productive Hybrid Team
Human Resources plays an instrumental role in transitioning to enable a remote or hybrid workforce. Remote work opportunities boost employee engagement, which translates into real cost savings. According to Global Workplace Analytics, the average business can save an average of $11,000 per half-time commuter every year.
If you’re in an industry where you can enable employees to embrace a hybrid environment, there are ways to make the transition go smoothly and successfully.
- Establish Clear Expectations
When you eliminate “office hours,” keep employees accountable by setting clear expectations for remote work hours and communication. As employees set their own schedules, managers should set guidelines for when employees are expected to be available for communication. That includes how long it should take to respond back to an email or phone call. Be mindful of time zones, especially when scheduling meetings for remote workers around the globe.
- Keep Employees Connected & Engaged
It’s important to maintain a strong company culture, even with a remote workforce. More than 90% of employees said company culture is important for workplace productivity. Schedule team-building events to keep employees bonded in a remote workplace. Have managers regularly check in on their employees with one-on-one meetings, which may be conducted virtually. During these meetings, managers should:
- Talk with the employee about any work issues or concerns.
- Check-in with the employee about opportunities for development.
- Ensure the employee is working toward meeting goals and expectations.
- Offer Learning & Development Opportunities
“2018 Millennials at Work Report” by online course provider Udemy found 42% of respondents said learning and development was the most important quality, after salary when choosing a place to work. You’ll also want to schedule technology training for the tools you plan to use. For example, if you choose Skype as a communication tool for employee chat and video conferencing, make sure employee devices are capable of supporting it and your workforce is comfortable using it. Streamlined training and access to educational resources can go a long way in retaining the top remote talent supporting your organization.
Building a Hybrid Team
Searching for and recruiting employees remains a top challenge for HR, wherever employees are working. As companies expand to hire from a global talent pool and take advantage of the benefits of diverse and inclusive hiring, HR pros must locate and effectively attract the best talent before competitors do. To minimize risks in a remote work environment, one way to keep operations efficient is to partner with a staffing firm. Staffing firms like AccruePartners offer the ability to quickly scale specialized talent for organizations. That frees up HR to move employee onboarding online, stay compliant, and maintain high employee engagement and productivity among a remote or hybrid workforce.
As the largest, independent Talent Solutions Provider in the greater Charlotte area, the team at AccruePartners is experienced in searching and hiring qualified top talent for any organization looking to grow. Team Accrue is built of certified subject matter experts across 6 lines of business – Accounting & Finance, Information Technology, Marketing, Human Resources, Financial Services, and Corporate Support. Get in touch for a free consultation on how our talent solution services can help your business save time and money so you can continue the business projects that move you toward success. Call (704) 632-9955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.