7 Strategies for Managing a Hybrid Team

April 14, 2022 Business

You know how to manage your on-site employees, and after a few bumpy months during the COVID pandemic, you learned how to manage remote teams, too. But how do you get those two teams to work together? What’s the best way to manage a hybrid team of employees?

Glad you asked. Let’s look at the best ways to manage a hybrid team in your workplace. 

The Secret to Hybrid Team Success

Cooperation and communication.  

You need both of these to succeed. Get the right digital tools in place to help your hybrid team cooperate and communicate freely in real time. From project management to office machine maintenance, there is a lot to think about when managing a hybrid team. 

Communicating is key, but digital tools make it manageable. An East Coast employee may make changes to a document, hand it off to a West Coast counterpart, who, in turn, passes the project to a colleague in the Middle East. 

Online project tracking tools allow everyone to work in the same “virtual time zone” and keep track of minute-to-minutes changes. The right digital tools will make your life easier … and your hybrid team happier and more productive. 

If it’s geographically feasible, consider a shared workspace — let your employees interact in person and see each other’s smiling faces! From great shared places to improved work tools, there’re several reasons why your employees will thrive in coworking spaces with pleasure and increase their work productivity as well. 

Running an office (including home offices) can be a lot of work. Offices require lots of different things like filing systems, equipment, supplies, and utilities to run. More than that, all these may create additional, often unnecessary, expenses.

For example, there are a lot of businesses out there that sell their surplus toner to toner buyers. Why? Because those businesses find themselves stocked with supplies they don’t need. 

Now, although selling surplus toner online is quite easy nowadays, this still requires some extra effort, which is simply eliminated in the case of coworking and shared workplaces.

7 Strategies for Managing Your Hybrid Team

Hybrid teams aren’t optional — you’re going to need to learn to manage one if you want to stay ahead in today’s business world. 

According to a FlexJobs survey (conducted among 2100 people), more than half of women and men would prefer remote work and consider quitting their jobs if they could no longer work remotely. 

Once you have chosen the right project prioritization framework, which is the key starting point for any organization, you can move on to managing your hybrid team. 

Below are seven strategies you can use when assembling and managing your hybrid team of employees. 

Strategy 1: Set Clear Boundaries

Define your team’s boundaries. Will they be fully remote or will employees be required to report to the office? How often? What about employees in other parts of the country … and the world? 

Your hybrid team members need a clear idea of what is expected of them and what their work responsibilities entail.  

Strategy 2: Foster Trust

Let your hybrid team know they’re working in a “safe place” where they can freely exchange thoughts and ideas without fear of work repercussions. 

When I worked as a full-time freelancer I was in constant fear of being “let go.” But your hybrid team  — remote and on-site employees alike —  need to feel like a team.

It’s easy to be uneasy about job security when you’re not in the office every day. Uneasy employees are not productive employees. Fostering trust and inclusion among your hybrid team makes them feel secure and increases both creativity and productivity.

Strategy 3: Shared Norms and Shared Goals

Make sure your hybrid team members all share the same goals. Everybody should know what they’re working towards and how to achieve it. 

What’s the “norm” for your hybrid team? What kind of software will you use? How will team members collaborate and plan projects? 

Understand your hybrid team’s needs and put the pieces in place to ensure success. Hybrid teams share a common language, workflow rituals, and project goals. Manage your hybrid team with a shared mindset. 

Remote team members need the same access to files, resources, and support as on-site employees. Everybody plays an active part in the hybrid team.

Strategy 4: Emphasize Each Team Member’s Strengths

Understand the strengths of individual team members as well as any constraints they may have. This allows everybody to contribute their best work. Even though your team members aren’t physically in the same place, you’ll foster a team spirit and get the best out of your team members. 

Assess your employees’ strengths in particular areas, look for the perfect online course platform, and develop their professional skills through effective training. For instance, if your business deals heavily with web-based work, you can identify members who are skilled in web building, design, social media, and other areas and offer them additional training.

By providing them with simple guidelines on creating and designing a website, or showing them how to create appealing images with image editing apps, you can help your team members reach their goals faster and with less effort.

If you can improve your employees’ skills, you won’t need to hire external professionals. In return, you’ll save both time and money.

Strategy 5: Empathize With Each Member’s Limitations

Effective leaders are empathetic leaders. According to Businessolver, 76% of employees in 2020 were inspired by companies that care about their workers personally and professionally, up from 65% who felt that way the prior year. 

Be empathetic with your remote and on-site employees, and they will reward you with loyalty and hard work. 

Strategy 6: Manage Goals, Not Time

The employee punch clock is dead. Goals and results are the new measures of employee productivity. 

Keep your hybrid team focused on short, achievable goals while keeping an eye on the bigger picture. Setting clear priorities and job responsibilities upfront will mean you won’t need to micromanage your hybrid team down the road. 

Strategy 7: Make Your Hybrid Team Feel Like a Team

Just because your employees are not physically close, you can still forge social and emotional bonds that build team trust and establish a company culture. Host virtual get-togethers if you think it will help your hybrid team solidify as a solitary unit. Gift cards or tickets to an exclusive online event are perfect thank-yous for remote workers.

Also, toss your on-site employees a little something extra every now and then — free lunch or in-office massages. After all, they make the commute into the office every day and (hopefully) make the workplace pleasant

Tools for Hybrid Team Management

Automation and AI aren’t the future of business; they are the here and now. A report from Mckinsey states that businesses that use automation to provide customer experience can save up to 40% on service costs.

According to IBM, chatbots can save customer service centers up to $8 million in annual costs. A chatbot can handle a variety of customer service tasks. Automating your customer service means every customer is guaranteed the same great user experience. 

You may want to consider investing in project management software. Good management software helps keep your day-to-day tasks organized while allowing you to “zoom out” and focus on the bigger picture.

Whether you’re using a kanban board, planning software, or paper and pencil, you’re going to need an effective way to communicate with all of your team members, both on-site and abroad. (ProTip: Paper and pencil are not effective ways to communicate with your hybrid team!)

But you needn’t get too fancy. Simple and free tools for communication and filesharing —like What’s App, Slack, Dropbox … even a dedicated email thread — can get your hybrid team up and running smoothly.  If you need to take it a step further, invest in some type of communication platform or, better yet, repurpose a webinar platform that your company uses to host meetings when needed.