What is a Hybrid Team?
Hybrid teams work from both the office and a remote location. Some employees may commute to work daily, while others come in only on a flexible basis. It’s not a static setup and can vary based on demand and workload.
Is the Future of Work Hybrid?
As per Gallup, in 2019, only 32% of the workforce in the USA worked in hybrid teams. Post the pandemic, that number increased to 54%. The reason is that the view on how people work has changed. With more than 88% of companies mandating or encouraging work from home, suddenly, productivity took precedence over location.
This unanticipated shift demanded several companies reevaluate their approach to work and consider more flexible arrangements.
Fast forward to 2023, hybrid models are the new norm. McKinsey’s report found that even after the pandemic has subsided, 90% of executives expect a combination of on-site and remote work.
On a similar note, a survey by Owl Labs found that even after the pandemic, 80% of full-time workers expect to work from home at least thrice weekly. The same survey highlighted two more important aspects - 77% of respondents believe that having the flexibility to work from home would increase their overall happiness, and 50% of respondents indicated that they would not consider returning to jobs that do not provide remote work options.
With all these reasons and more, the number of employers adopting a hybrid model is increasing. Many companies worldwide have succeeded with this model. Consequently, over 90% of employers plan to offer a hybrid model in the coming future. It is safe to say that the prospects of hybrid teams look promising.
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The Difference Between Structured Hybrid Teams vs. Unstructured Hybrid Teams
When you’re managing hybrid teams, it’s essential to know the difference between structured hybrid teams and unstructured hybrid teams.
You can choose either of these models based on your organization's needs and goals. Both have pros and cons; it boils down to what works best for your company and employees.
Switching to a Hybrid Work Model
Now that you’ve got a brief idea of managing hybrid working teams let's look at how your company can switch to this model. Here are some of the best practices you can follow.
- Assess if your company is ready for the switch. Look into the nature of your work, technology infrastructure, and employee preferences. Also, check how ready your leadership team is for hybrid team management.
- Have a clearly defined hybrid work policy that helps you lay down some ground rules. Include how much time employees spend remotely and in the office, etc.
- Make sure your company has the proper technological infrastructure to support this change. This includes IT support, secure remote access, collaboration tools, and more.
- Train employees who require assistance to get comfortable with the hybrid work environment.
- It’s essential to have a set of clear goals, metrics, and accountability to track employee performance. Put this in place so everyone involved has complete clarity.
- Remember, every employee has different needs; be considerate of this. Be open and accommodating to accept these individual circumstances.
- It’s essential to have frequent team-building activities so individuals come together and foster connections.
- Give employees regular feedback so they can improve in areas they may lack. Also, take feedback on whether the hybrid model works and implement any changes.
- Use KPIs to measure the success of how well this system works for your company.
Transitioning to hybrid teams requires an ongoing commitment to ensure it’s smooth and successful. Carefully look into the above pointers to ensure the switch benefits all stakeholders.
Benefits of a Hybrid Team
While a hybrid team has many benefits, here are the primary ones that drive organizations to pick this model.
1. Lower Costs
For any company, saving costs is one of the primary goals, which can be done by reducing overheads. In this context, it includes saving on office space, office supplies, Wi-Fi, power, etc. It’s similar for employees. They save on commuting, eating out, coffee, and other miscellaneous expenses. With working remotely, the added advantage is reducing burnout. This brings down frequent time off requests and helps companies avoid costs associated with loss of productivity.
2. Broader Talent Pool
Since your employees don’t have to travel, your business can look for talent that lives in far-away localities and even other countries. It’s even possible to hire those who require a more flexible schedule, like students or parents. This way, a company can access more skilled individuals to contribute to its success.
In a hybrid work environment, several company processes become far more convenient. Employees can take meetings wherever they are. Communication is made quick and easy via messaging apps and video conferences. It’s even possible for employees to work while they’re away on a work trip without disrupting their schedule.
Both employees and leaders can enjoy some flexibility with the hybrid model. While working remotely, employees can tweak their work routines to accommodate their unique work styles and other responsibilities. This ensures a company’s workforce is productive and engaged. When you boost employee satisfaction, you ensure your most valuable assets stay with you, lowering hiring costs. Leadership also has the flexibility to plan meetings with varied teams based on their availability.
How Does a Hybrid Team Work?
Hybrid teams work in both remote locations and in the office. Typically, they use digital tools to communicate and collaborate across the firm. Further, they often utilize project management software. It ensures that leadership can track their progress and monitor work hours.
Regular team meetings help keep everyone in the loop, and communication remains strong. Clear guidelines on the expectations of the job ensure every individual does what they’re supposed to. Days that you’re supposed to work from the office are scheduled beforehand. These days allow for much-needed face-to-face interaction.
Tips for Managing a Hybrid Team
In theory, hybrid teams sound nice, but in reality, a manager needs to know the nuances of managing hybrid teams for a favorable outcome. The following tips will help set you up for success.
Communication is critical in a hybrid environment, so all teams are looped in and working towards the collective goal. Messaging platforms ensure all individuals in your company are updated and in the know. Further, employees need to communicate regularly amongst themselves and with leadership.
Every team member must have clear goals and objectives they're accountable to achieve. In a hybrid work setting, it’s essential to have periodic performance reviews for both employees and managers. For managers, it’s about how well they are helping the employee, and for employees, how well they’re able to achieve their goals and what the challenges they face.
3. Individualized Approach
Every team member has unique needs, and taking time to understand each one will ensure better collaboration and results. Every few days/weeks, ask your team how things are going, what the company can change, etc. This way, employees feel heard, and the company can fix anything before it becomes unpreventable.
4. Keep all Members in the Loop
In the hybrid setting, not all employees are in the office simultaneously. It's essential to make those who consistently work remotely feel included in what’s happening in the company. Keep communicating with them, have regular check-ins, and give them the necessary information.
Technology is one of the most crucial building blocks of a hybrid work setting. The better the technology, the more beneficial it is to your workforce. Things like virtual meeting rooms, messaging platforms, and project management software are crucial. Further, giving employees the equipment they need, like work chairs, desks, headphones, laptops, etc., helps.
6. Burnout and Stress
Shifting to a hybrid model may cause stress for employees who are new to it. They may need to learn how to juggle office work and personal things. For instance, parents working from home must also dedicate time to their children. Further, in-office people often take on a few additional tasks that remote employees cannot do, like maintaining the office, attending meetings physically, etc. It can get overwhelming for both sides. So, it’s vital to keep a check on burnout and stress. Ensure every employee sets aside time for frequent breaks to relax.
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Having hybrid teams can bring many benefits to your business, like increased productivity, better employee experience, and higher retention rates.
So, how can you build global teams? By partnering with Skuad as your Employer of Record. Skuad’s unified platform lets you hire, onboard, and pay international contractors and employees in over 160 countries easily and compliantly. Speak to our experts to learn more.
1. What is a hybrid workplace?
A hybrid work workplace combines both remote work and on-site work.
2. Does hybrid mean remote?
No, hybrid does not mean remote. It means it’s a combination of both working remotely and visiting the office.
3. Is hybrid better than remote?
Whether hybrid is better than remote depends on individual preferences and the organization's specific needs. The benefit of the hybrid model over the remote is it offers both the flexibility of remote and social interaction in person.