Hybrid team collaboration can feel like a “choose your own adventure” for the workday. Team members have the freedom to work solo or together, and at the same time or at different times.
While this brings flexibility and increases productivity, hybrid working has its own challenges. Specifically, communication and collaboration quickly becomes a tricky balancing act if teams struggle to work cohesively.
For example, a survey found:
This kind of variance in worker expectation is valid in a hybrid working environment — but accommodating it all can make team collaboration a tenuous goal, at best.
However, there are a number of approaches you can take to secure hybrid team collaboration — and quite a few organizations that have successfully implemented this. This article will explore the best practices for enhancing hybrid team collaboration and tackling the obstacles that come your way.
Hybrid team collaboration calls for a workplace setup that blends remote and in-person workers. COVID-19 shifted many businesses to remote work, and although this setup has many benefits, face-to-face interaction is still needed.
While 56% of full-time employees in the U.S. are either fully remote or working under some type of hybrid model, 60% want a long-term hybrid work arrangement.
The increasing availability of digital tools and technology like OfficeRnD Hybrid has made hybrid team collaboration more feasible.
With the hybrid team model, organizations can benefit from increased flexibility, access to a wider pool of talent, and a better work-life balance while still maintaining the advantages of face-to-face interactions and physical workspaces.
There are four main ways in which employees operate when it comes to hybrid team collaboration:
Each mode is suitable for different types of projects and has its own advantages.
For example, colocated and synchronous collaboration works best for large projects that require face-to-face interaction and the sharing of in-house resources.
Distributed and asynchronous collaboration, on the other hand, is ideal for projects in which the team members work independently and at different stages of the project.
Successful hybrid collaboration involves skillfully combining two or more of these modes and allowing team members to switch between them, offering flexibility and adaptability.
It’s important to identify the potential pitfalls of a hybrid model and implement targeted efforts to counteract them before transitioning.
Some of the challenges to consider include the following:
Leaders need to manage — or even prevent — challenges ahead of time to ensure successful hybrid working.
For example, if you recognize that Zoom fatigue is a potential issue among your employees and increases stress, you can try some of the following solutions:
If your expectations aren’t clear, your workers will not only fail to meet the grade but also struggle to feel connected to the company. Workers who feel that their senior leaders are transparent feel a 4x greater sense of belonging and 6x greater job satisfaction.
A lack of guidelines can also lead to variations in working style. Without clear instructions, remote workers may use their own mechanisms to solve problems, leading to inconsistencies in outcomes and potential security challenges.
Establishing clear expectations with a hybrid working policy is essential to effective hybrid working.
Create clear timelines, standardized operating procedures, communication protocols, and tool guidelines for the entire company — making regular revisions as necessary.
Not only will this ensure that everyone is on the same page, but it will also make it easier to train new staff. And that will help you avoid conflicts.
Business leaders believe that workers spend 71% of their time working alone when they actually spend half their time collaborating with others. In this sense, effective team collaboration procedures are more important than executives realize.
Poorly executed hybrid working models can cause communication gaps that affect company culture and lead to misunderstandings.
What’s more, 59% of U.S. workers worry about being excluded from important meetings if they’re not consistently in the office, while 46% believe their employers favor in-office workers for projects and promotions.
To promote effective teamwork, you need to foster an inclusive culture.
Establish dedicated communication funnels and protocols that facilitate all types of hybrid inter-team communication, such as weekly feedback, brainstorming sessions, and document-sharing.
Including remote and hybrid workers in all important discussions, project meetings, and policy changes should be a top priority.
Hybrid meetings can help implement this inclusive culture, but you’ll need tools and protocols that enable in-office collaboration and allow remote workers to attend easily.
You can use virtual meeting software for your remote workers, while a tool like OfficeRnD Hybrid offers a seamless way for employees to book their desks and meeting rooms before attending meetings in person.
Thanks to OfficeRnD Hybrid’s collaborative scheduling features, it’s easy for your team to see who is in the office and who is working remotely and plan office visits accordingly.
As a result, meetings and discussions can be set up in a format that includes everyone, no matter their work environment, thus fostering face-to-face collaboration.
Watch the video below to see the in-person collaboration features in action.
Ineffective hybrid meetings can lead to decreased productivity, miscommunication, and poor collaboration.
Nearly three-quarters of workers who take part in hybrid meetings complain that they often feel disengaged, finding it difficult to contribute to the conversation.
The key to successful hybrid meetings lies in creating a comfortable, engaging environment for both in-person and virtual attendees. Improving your virtual meetings can help streamline collaborative teamwork — allowing your company to complete effective action steps faster.
Here are some ideas for achieving this:
In the world of hybrid working, it’s easy to assume that teams know how to collaborate effectively. In reality, teams need training on the tools and tactics that facilitate cohesion.
Your training sessions shouldn’t only show teams how to use collaboration tools — team leaders also need to devise activities that teach hybrid employees to foster trust between one another by working together toward common goals despite being in different locations.
Try the following ideas to train your teams to work together effectively in a hybrid model:
As companies embrace hybrid working, location becomes less important. Businesses can expand their candidate pool and access talent worldwide.
Hiring globally gives you access to diverse talent, enabling you to leverage cultural and educational differences to create a more inclusive and innovative workplace.
Plus, multilingual candidates provide opportunities to translate products and marketing materials to access new markets.
In a globally distributed hybrid work environment, geographical distance and language barriers can lead to collaboration challenges. For example, nearly 20% of business leaders report that working across time zones is a struggle (check out more interesting statistics related to hybrid work here).
To ensure seamless collaboration across geographical locations and reduce the number of delays caused by these challenges, it’s important to use technology that caters to the needs of workers in different countries.
Tools like OfficeRnD Hybrid integrate with other collaboration platforms, such as Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Google Calendar, and Chrome, to provide global transparency on worker schedules and facilitate effective communication, regardless of location.
Here’s a short video that explains the seamless integration:
If you’re looking to optimize your hybrid work arrangements, it’s essential to learn from others.
Check out these hybrid workplace collaboration examples to discover the strategies other companies use to boost their productivity.
The popular German-based e-commerce platform “Plentymarkets” was forced to operate 100% remotely during the pandemic.
Post-Covid, management was struggling to bring employees back to the office for collaboration and enable and manage a successful hybrid work model.
Luckily, they discovered OfficeRnD Hybrid. The hybrid work management platform helped them implement a thriving hybrid workplace and employees can easily come to the office for the moments that matter.
The hybrid work platform easily integrates with their existing tech stack, so that workers can easily book desks and meeting rooms when they need to come to the office. That solution is much better than using an old-fashioned Excel meeting room booking template.
The collaborative scheduling features allow employees to plan their office visits for weeks ahead, thus boosting collaboration, engagement, and productivity. Furthermore, they were able to reduce their office footprint thus saving a significant amount of costs.
Read the entire case study here.
Restaurant group Tavistock previously operated out of the office 100% of the time. Despite their desire to move to a shared office to reduce real estate costs, they faced challenges surrounding desk reservations.
Since implementing the Office RnD Hybrid platform, Tavistock workers have been able to work remotely when appropriate and book desks in the office for in-person collaboration. Not only has this streamlined scheduling, but it’s also dramatically reduced office overheads.
Fashion design company Dewhirst wanted to move from 100% in-office work to a hybrid model. To do this, the firm required new ways to manage its resources, budgets, and systems to simplify access, whether employees were in the office or not.
Now Dewhirst uses the OfficeRnD Hybrid platform to coordinate desk booking and smart scheduling and to promote corporate culture via in-app announcements about their community.
Check out more hybrid work success stories from real companies.
When it comes to hybrid team collaboration, the key is really using all the tools at your disposal — from smart policies and better training to aligned software and technology that supports your end goal of cohesion.
Remember that what employees are ultimately looking for is flexibility and, as an employer or organization, the smartest move you can make to attract, maintain, and support top talent to do their best work is to offer that type of empowerment.
OfficeRnD Hybrid is your first step to ensuring this empowerment, cohesion, and flexibility. The powerful software brings together the full range of hybrid office features, including seamless desk and meeting room booking, scheduling, analytics, and extensive integrations.
More importantly, it boasts a powerful set of collaborative features that help foster in-person collaboration.
From Yamaha to Village Roadshow Pictures, join the thousands of companies that rely on OfficeRnD Hybrid to make the work of getting work done less work for your team.
When people think of hybrid collaboration, the “Four C’s” — communication, coordination, cooperation, and collaboration — might come to mind. Improving these elements helps foster teams that work seamlessly together despite each team member’s location.
By improving their communication, team members become better engaged and more informed.
By focusing on coordination, teams can complete tasks more effectively by assigning each action to the most appropriate team member. Better cooperation fosters a sense of teamwork in which team members work together to improve outcomes.
Lastly, enhancing collaboration can lead to better problem-solving, as teams know how to combine ideas and have the tools to facilitate this process.
Hybrid team collaboration is important to businesses that have people working both on- and offsite.
By working to improve the collaborative nature of team relationships and providing tools to ease this process, companies can build teams that achieve the same or better quality of outcomes without needing everyone in the office. Not only does this improve results, but it also lowers office overheads since it’s easier for workers to work from home.
The main challenges associated with hybrid collaboration are borne out of poor coordination between onsite and offsite teams. Communication barriers arise when the right tools to collaborate effectively online aren’t there, while time-zone differences can accentuate problems if team members struggle to communicate their working hours to their colleagues.
With hybrid collaboration, there can also be issues related to technology and privacy. If your tools can’t be easily accessed by remote workers, then those workers won’t be able to complete their work effectively. On top of that, poor security measures can leave businesses open to privacy and security risks when remote workers access tools.
One of the most common misconceptions about hybrid work is that employees are less productive when they’re not in the office. In reality, 87% of employees say they’re just as productive when working with a hybrid model as they were when they worked in the office full-time.
Another misconception is that teams can’t collaborate well or create cohesion when they’re not in the office. Considering that many companies now solely operate online, this simply isn’t true. These barriers can be overcome using the right collaboration and coordination tools, like OfficeRnD Hybrid.
The problem of security is also a hindrance. Companies who want to move to a hybrid model worry about data breaches and security risks. While these are real concerns, having the right security measures in place will make them negligible.
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