As businesses increasingly adopt varieties of the hybrid working model, finding the right balance between remote and in-person time becomes more and more crucial. 

Hybrid teams, composed of employees in flexible work setups, can leverage the advantages of each work style on different occasions but also face unique challenges in fostering effective communication and teamwork in such settings. 

In-person collaboration plays a vital role in the success of any team, and hybrid ones don`t make an exclusion. While technology has made remote collaboration possible and efficient, it cannot entirely replace the distinct benefits offered by face-to-face interactions.

The ability to pick up on subtle body language cues, and engage in spontaneous discussions mixed in between social interactions, for instance, can still improve connection and collaboration on a level that no tool has reached yet.

This is why defining and finding the right moments to gather in the office is not only important but fundamental for the well-being and growth of any organization. 

Consequently, organizations must prioritize developing strategies that enable in-person collaboration opportunities for their teams.

Read on!

The Hybrid Team Model

As remote work becomes increasingly popular, organizations reevaluate their team structures to stay agile and connected. In such a landscape, the hybrid team model emerges as a viable solution for maintaining efficient collaboration and productivity.

What Is Hybrid Work

Definition and Key Elements

The Hybrid Work setup combines the benefits of in-person interaction with the flexibility of remote work. Key elements of a hybrid team model include:

  • Flexible work arrangements, catering to individual preferences and circumstances, and company-defined hybrid work policies.
  • Regular team meetings or check-ins, both virtual and in-person
  • Clearly defined roles and expectations for all team members
  • A strong communication infrastructure, utilizing relevant tools and channels
  • Supportive management, promoting a culture of trust and transparency

Pros and Cons

The Advantages of the hybrid team model are plenty, but it can also present potential challenges for new organizations. Everyone needs to weigh the pros and cons before implementing this workplace structure, so we`re here to help you kick-start your list with a few examples.

Hybrid Work Model_Pros&Cons (1)

Fostering an inclusive culture, providing equal opportunities, and encouraging in-person collaboration is essential to support a thriving hybrid environment.

The Importance of In-Person Collaboration

Let’s define the main benefits of promoting in-person collaboration within your hybrid workplace:

Benefits for Team Dynamics

In-person collaboration offers various benefits for hybrid teams, particularly regarding team dynamics. 

collaboration in the office

According to a study done by “Forbes”, 89% of the surveyed employees revealed that organizing messages on Slack and Teams was the least desirable task in their daily routine, and working remotely only made it worse. 

Furthermore, 38% admitted that the burden of email fatigue could potentially prompt them to resign.

Face-to-face interactions facilitate better communication, allowing for verbal and non-verbal cues that may be lost in remote settings. 

This can lead to:

  • Improved understanding and reduced miscommunications
  • Strengthened relationships and trust among team members
  • Enhanced collaborative problem-solving and decision-making

And here are 8 important collaborative skills that help create a more productive workplace. They can also help you become a better leader.

Fostering Creativity and Innovation

Research done by Lucidspark proved that 75% of the surveyed workers mentioned collaboration as having suffered the most during the Covid pandemic when everyone was forced to work fully remotely.

colleagues collaborating in the office

Unarguably, in-person collaboration also plays a crucial role in fostering creativity and innovation within hybrid teams. Being physically present with team members can:

  • Encourage spontaneous brainstorming and ideation
  • Create an environment for more effective feedback loops
  • Enable real-time iterations and rapid prototyping

These factors contribute to a more synergistic and dynamic environment, where team members can build upon each other’s ideas and collectively drive innovation.

Last but not least, that results in improved productivity and employee engagement, which helps a business grow

Balancing Remote and In-Person Work

In today’s hybrid work environment, a major challenge for organizations is to balance remote and in-person work efficiently.  In this section, we will explore various strategies for balancing remote and in-person work, such as hybrid work schedules and using the right tools.

Hybrid Work Scheduling Strategies

Managing a hybrid team requires a thoughtful scheduling approach (and office design) to ensure in-person and remote employees have ample opportunities to collaborate, network, and bond. Here are some scheduling strategies to consider:

  • Rotating schedules and hot desking: Consider dividing the team into groups and rotating their in-office days. This allows team members to interact with different colleagues and reduces office capacity concerns. You can read more about hot desking and hoteling here. 
  • Core overlapping hours: Implement core working hours when all team members are expected to be available, regardless of their location, to facilitate real-time collaboration.
  • Regular in-person meetings or events: Organize regular physical gatherings, such as team meetings, workshops, or social events, to build relationships and foster a sense of belonging among team members.
  • Definition of an Office Day: Encouraging team members to come to the office on a regular basis can be a way to prioritize in-person collaboration opportunities.
  • Engaging Social activities: Offering team-building events, workshops, or training sessions that require in-person participation can also be a way to prioritize in-person collaboration.
  • Creation of the moments that matter: Provide team members with flexible work schedules that allow them to work remotely on certain days and come into the office on other days. That can help to balance in-person and remote collaboration by helping workers understand which are the important tasks and projects to be handled onsite. 
  • Personal Invitations: Using a hybrid workplace management solution that enables real-time communication and collaboration between in-person and remote team members can help to prioritize in-person collaboration opportunities.
  • Mastering the Right Collaboration Tools: Select and adapt the right technological tools that can help you build a comprehensive collaborative team covering meetings, scheduling, transparency, and more. Read more about the most popular hybrid work tools.

As a related read, don’t miss our article on workplace occupancy.

Boosting In-person Collaboration Through Technology

Collaboration is essential for any successful hybrid team. It is crucial to have effective collaboration tools that align everyone towards common goals, regardless of their location.

man sitting in front of a laptop in an office

In-person collaboration remains one of the most efficient ways to accomplish tasks and foster team synergy, thus boosting productivity. 

But how to entice even the most remote-oriented employees to come to the office?

Enter technology!

Effective hybrid work software is key in enhancing face-to-face collaboration among hybrid workers. That’s done thanks to the right collaboration tools and by setting proper hybrid work policies.

Give Employees the Right Tools to Schedule Real-Life Interactions

For example, hybrid work software such as OfficeRnD Hybrid offers collaboration-boosting features that encourage team members to come to the office for the moments that matter.

OfficeRnD Hybrid aims to assist various users, including admins of hybrid organizations, facility managers, people managers, and employees, in managing their weekly schedules more easily and boosting real-life interactions.

Here’s how the collaborative scheduling features of OfficeRnD Hybrid contribute to enhancing collaboration amongst hybrid teams. The intuitive platform allows for:

  • Planning the week on a Schedule page, including selecting the exact location for each day, booking or canceling desk reservations, and tracking booked desks.
  • Viewing information about existing workplace policies that apply to an organization or team.
  • Accessing personal weekly schedules, including seeing how many people have booked a desk for each day, which colleagues are coming to the office and their reserved desks.
  • Keeping track of onsite meetings, including meeting details, location, and list of attendees, 
  • Having the option to invite up to 15 “favorite” colleagues to the office with customizable invites.

Check out the video below to see the above-mentioned features in action:

These features not only improve the organization and planning of a hybrid team’s work schedules but also entice in-person collaboration among team members. 

By encouraging teams to interact within the office environment, OfficeRnD Hybrid helps enhance productivity and create a cohesive working atmosphere for distributed teams.

Feel free to read more about OfficeRnD Hybrid’s powerful set of collaborative scheduling features

Implement the Right Hybrid Work Policy

Another viable way of encouraging employees to come to the office is to deploy a hybrid work policy that requires them to be present in the office for a few days per month.

mandate vs magnet hybrid policy approach

There are two approaches when it comes to defining hybrid work policies:

  • The so-called mandate approach rigidly enforces employees to come to the office for a number of days each month
  • The magnate approach attracts workers to come on-site and see the office as a vibrant community where they can collaborate, socialize and create great things together.

Practice shows that a combination of both methods works best. As an employer, you have to promote face-to-face interactions by specifying a minimum number of days that employees should spend at the office each month.

At the same time, you have to work towards transforming the office from just a space to a vibrant place – a place that entices people to bond and collaborate. 

One way to do this is by creating attractive amenities in the office such as green spaces, cafes, game rooms, etc. And the best way to set and communicate hybrid work policies is by using hybrid work management software. 

OfficeRnD Hybrid can help you do that too thanks to an advanced hybrid work policy setting system that allows you to:

  • Easily create advanced schedules
  • Monitor hybrid work policy adoption 
  • Set employee reminders and notifications
  • …and more

For more on hybrid work software, don’t miss this article

Overcoming Challenges

Managing Remote vs. In-Person Workers

In a hybrid team, managing remote and in-person workers effectively is crucial.

managing hybrid teams

It is important to create an environment where both groups feel included and valued. A few strategies to achieve this are:

  • Establishing clear expectations and goals for everyone, regardless of their work setup.
  • Implementing flexible working hours to accommodate different time zones and individual needs.
  • Providing remote employees with the necessary tools and resources for seamless collaboration.
  • Ensuring in-person workers understand the challenges remote workers face and vice versa.

Before You Go

According to a workplace survey, 54% of administrative employees and 66% of senior and executive employees say their job relies heavily on in-person collaboration.

In a hybrid work setup, prioritizing real-life interactions with team members is especially important for maintaining healthy productivity and engagement.

That’s why implementing the right tools is paramount.

OfficeRnD Hybrid is an easy-to-use hybrid work software with everything you need to foster a healthy and collaborative workplace in 2023 and beyond. 

Want to see the platform in action?

Click here to start for free with OfficeRnD Hybrid or book a live demo with one of our workplace experts. 

Asen Stoyanchev
Senior Content Marketing & SEO Specialist | OfficeRnD
Asen is passionate about flexible working and the future of work. He firmly believes that work flexibility directly impacts one's health and well-being. When he's not writing, Asen spends his time devouring business literature, hiking, and parenting.