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A Guide for Managing Hybrid and Remote Teams

Hybrid and remote teams open up a world of opportunity. For instance, organisations can attract skilled talent from a diverse range of backgrounds and reduce costs by cutting down on operational expenses. Employees have better work/life balance and healthier well-being with the hybrid/remote work setting and are reluctant to let go of the freedom from the constraints of a 9-5 work model.

Despite these substantial benefits, managers have concerns about ensuring productivity with hybrid and remote teams; how to increase employee engagement and satisfaction; how to foster a sense of company culture that can easily be lost in a remote environment, and how to manage the employee-centred approach to work in the post-Covid workplace. Many supervisors and team leaders who distrust hybrid or remote work and want employees back at their desks find these concerns equally perplexing.

Strategies for Engaging Hybrid/Remote Teams

Before COVID-19, employers had no reason to worry about collaborating, socialising, or learning outside of a physical office, since remote work was something only a minority of the workforce enjoyed. Now, the hybrid workplace is referred to as “the future of work”. Therefore, if you want to stay ahead of the competition in today’s business world and optimise your workforce’s productivity, understanding how to engage hybrid/remote teams is crucial.

Here are 5 ways to improve social cohesion, build stronger work relationships, and create a more robust corporate culture for hybrid/remote teams.

Encourage meaningful communication and social interaction

Remote work gives room for speculation and panic. It has the potential to breed rumours and harbour resentments. Hosting periodic virtual get-togethers and physical hangouts among colleagues in proximity; providing gift cards or tickets where employees can shop together, or pairing people of similar interests together for an event can close the gap and reduce speculation that a remote work setting brings. 

Much of what brings a team together is the shared banter.

Be crystal clear on shared goals and processes

To compensate for the lack of a physical presence, you’ll need to be crystal clear on processes, goals and deliverables. Everybody should know what they’re working towards, have a shared mindset and vision, and understand their individual impact on organisational strategic goals.

Since a lot of information at companies gets circulated through chats and banters across teams and colleagues, remote employees can easily get left out of the loop and feel disconnected, hence it is important that you keep employees updated on projects, progress, and company news. Instead of badgering remote employees to complete a task, set down a system where everyone is accountable for their own goals. 

Show (vulnerability, humanity and transparency)

These words, at first, conjure up an image of one who is frightened, imperfect, powerless or not in control of himself. As a result, most managers might be careful to show vulnerability for fear of what colleagues might say. However, research has shown that, compared to what we think, authentic vulnerability and transparency are strengths masquerading as weaknesses, and the combination of these three (vulnerability, humanity and transparency) can engender emotional connection/bond among employees and provide a sense of community and purpose and encourage others to be vulnerable. 

Your employees don’t want to connect with a faceless brand. They want to connect with another human. 

Celebrate strengths and empathise with limitations

One easy way to create engaged teams is to prioritise employee recognition. Celebrating the strengths of each individual team member allows everybody to contribute their best work. Everyone can give their best work when each team member is recognised for their unique contributions, whether it’s achieving a group goal, getting an excellent review or bringing on a new client. Even when your team members aren’t physically in the same place, you’ll foster a team spirit and get the best performance from them. 

Empathising with limitations earns you loyalty and hard work, although it requires time and effort. Regular recognition helps employees feel connected, appreciated, and valued. 

Manage goals, Not time

Goals and results are the new measures of employee productivity. Most managers don’t know how to delegate and empower virtual teams effectively without micromanaging them. Getting everyone in the same collaboration tool, like Trello and Basecamps can give you an eagle-eye view of the status of everything your team is working on.

Establish clear communication guidelines and structures that enable employees to share updates, daily/weekly reports, progress, and challenges while focusing more on the big picture than the little details.

Trust as a Foundational Element

Because remote employees require more autonomy in their work, building trust is essential to empowering and engaging them. Let your hybrid team know they’re working in a “safe place” where they can freely exchange thoughts and ideas without fear. Without a regular day-to-day presence at the office, employees can feel insecure about their job security, and anxious employees are not productive. Fostering trust and inclusion among your hybrid team makes them feel secure and increases creativity and productivity.

Remote employees will feel more engaged and committed if they know you care about them not only as employees but as people. Engagement is not simply ‘checking up’ but fostering a personal connection.

Career Masterclass is a leading career growth platform supporting future-forward companies to build diverse and inclusive workplaces. We offer a wide range of solutions to help companies attract, develop and retain diverse talent within their organisations. Want to find out more, click here to book a call and talk to our team.