How do you manage remote and hybrid teams? Sincerely, the outbreak of Covid-19 has ushered us into a new realm of the world of work. It took many entrepreneurs unaware, and many are battling to grasp and adjust to the idea of remote and hybrid teams. This challenge is not peculiar to the employee working remotely or in a hybrid setting but also to the management of organizations.
Unlike before, when it was compulsory for everyone to work within the confinement of office space, the organization's management directly influenced workers.
Today, with the emergence of remote and hybrid teams, it's becoming more challenging to deal with staff who, before now, are very rebellious. As the team works from home and shuffles the office, employers are losing more control over their staff, which may ultimately lead to a productivity standstill, especially for staff who must be bullied to perform at their peak.
So, how do you, as a manager, founder, or CEO, ensure your remote and in-office workers are in line? How do you keep them checked accurately without the remote worker feeling left out or that they are not a member of the company circle? It all boils down to building a strong culture of independence.
With the tips I will share here, managing remote and hybrid teams will be less stressful than it has been.
Managing Remote and Hybrid Teams
- Working flexibility and rotation must be established
One of the adversities presented by remote work is the possibility of those working in the office space becoming envious, discouraged, and cheated by those working from home. To avoid this, adopt a flexible working style.
A rotational system where one group works remotely for a few weeks, and others work in the office. Then the remote group continues in the office in other weeks, while others continue remotely. This will remove every iota of feeling cheated or envious. The thought of a section of the staff feeling constrained to the traditional 9-5 is eliminated and everyone is left feeling better.
- Your remote workers should be aware of the development in the office
While operating a hybrid system, your remote workforce might feel uninformed or they are missing some things in the office. This will make them feel left out and uninspired. Make sure your remote workers know what is happening in the office, and carry them along if you want to build a team of passionate employees. To achieve this, there should be a channel of communication in place to inform them of the happenings in the office.
- Beware of Proximity bias
According to Tomas Kucera, the Head of Business Operations at Tricentis, proximity bias is a condition otherwise described as “out of sight, out of mind,” where those working in the same location with the manager are seen as more productive. It can be the kind of boss-staff relationship which most often occurs in the office.
It is advisable to have measurable treatment among your employees. To manage remote and hybrid teams efficiently, you need to ensure that how you treat your in-office employees is the same treatment extended to remote staff.
- Working style decisions should be made without reason
When choosing which of your employees should work remotely and which should work in the office, the best is to do so without reasons. If you say Mr. A should work from home because of his wife's health, Mrs. B, whose distance is far from the office, would want to work from home, Mr. C will need the same because he is a single father and must be there for his child. At the end of the day, you might not have anybody left to do the office work. So instead of placing reasons, choose randomly, and don't forget to rotate when necessary.
- Set out boundaries and expectations beforehand
Set expectations beforehand to ensure that your employees are up and doing, especially those working remotely. Remote workers will likely not touch a job until close to the deadline. They are not monitored and not in the office where collaboration is imminent, so they might end up not meeting expectations. Working at home can be fantastic and boring at the same time. This can lead to discouragement and feeling burned out. You do not want to lose a very productive employee, but you can't manage their feelings. Give them feedback and appreciate them when necessary. Also, manage remote and hybrid teams with a balanced perspective, set communication boundaries between them, and Keep it balanced.
- Establish a common source of Information
You must also establish a common source of information for remote and hybrid teams. To make everyone, both inside and outside, feel connected. For instance, a company telegram group where information concerning the two workforces is being passed. Let Mr. A know what is required of Mr. B, and let Mr. B understand what is required of Mr. A. Information should be of crossed interest. This should be more like an information board.
- Create time for individual checkups
Managing remote and hybrid teams doesn't stop at the level of commonality; carrying everyone along. You also need to be personal with your approach. To ensure your teams are on track with the company's expectations, it is advisable to check on them from time to time. These checkups, especially for the remote team, can awaken their work spirit. Since you can't see and interact with them directly, calling to know how they are faring and their working condition, if there is any reason why they won't be able to deliver a particular assignment, is important. This would mean that you care about their welfare, which can spur them to work as a mode of appreciation.
- Meeting physically with your remote and hybrid team circle once in a while won't be a bad idea
Most companies often organize get-togethers for their staff or end-of-year parties. As a manager, you don't want it to look like you are working with ghosts. Media communications are not all that there is to a boss-staff relationship. While hybrid teams see you often, creating an event where all the staff gets to meet each other, and you talk to them, share the company's progress rate, give out rewards and entertain ideas from them. This is one way to build a team of passionate staff.
Difference Between Remote and Hybrid Working
The difference between remote and hybrid working lies in their definitions and application. Remote working is where all employees of a company work remotely. The CEO sees none of his employees eye to eye during work hours except during video chats. In this kind of work situation, the manager has few complications. His focus is making sure his employees are delivering their job.
Hybrid working is when a company's employees are made up of remote workers and in-office workers. This group of the workforce could prove very tiring to manage. As a manager, you want to ensure employees do their jobs remotely and at the office perfectly. You want to ensure everyone is satisfied with their field and that none sees the other as being in a better situation. You want to make sure, after deciding who works from home and who runs to the office by 9 and goes back by 5, you haven't given room for envy or feelings of being cheated.
Benefits of Remote and Hybrid working
- Reduction of Operational Cost:
One good thing about remote working is that it reduces the cost of operation. Since all or some employees work from home, some office requirements won't be necessary. Having an all-remote team makes operation very cheap, as there won't be a need to rent an office and fill it up with equipment. And there won't be a need to employ extra employees, for instance, office clerks, cleaners, and receptionists. For the hybrid, since a number of the employees will be working from home, equipment will only be catered for just a few in the office.
- Enabling Individual Job Satisfaction and Passion
I pointed out earlier that while some people love the remote working condition, many others don't like it. In a company operating with hybrid workers, leaving the employees to choose which style of engagement suits them and working with it will mean the employees are satisfied with their environment and would increase their passion for delivering.
- A Measure to avoid Contagious diseases and Improve Health
One of the reasons for the increase in remote and hybrid working is the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergence of the pandemic inspired new regulations, which included strict quarantine to save lives. This is an excellent development as many companies have adopted the remote working style and are doing well with the necessary tools. This development will serve as a preventive measure against future pandemic outbreaks.
Challenges of Remote and Hybrid working
- Lack of Company Culture and Team Collaboration
Remote and hybrid working can sometimes make a company look loose and uncoordinated. There is no collaboration among company employee structures to hasten improvement. With remote working, the manager cannot supervise his employees directly. The regular company meetings between managers and staff are uninteresting, as there are few face-to-face participants: no water cooler periods or lunch.
- The Burnout syndrome and Work-life Balance
Remote staff often feel distressed, with at least 87% of remote workers experiencing burnout against the 69% of traditional office workers who feel the same. As a remote worker, I do get tired of work—the boredom of being at home with no over-the-desk colleague to chatter with. Sometimes, remote workers might give themselves too many breaks as they are not being monitored and end up trying to complete a six-hour job within 3 hours, resulting in exhaustion and diminished interest. Finding a work-life balance for remote workers is difficult.
- Who Should Work Remotely and should work in office?
One of the problems a manager might likely face in a hybrid working system is deciding who works from home and who comes to the office every morning. For instance, if you have 50 employees and 20 should be working remotely, what standards will you employ in choosing who should be among the 20 to work remotely? Some people prefer working remotely, while some don't. What if 30 of the staff love to work remotely? What might happen after putting ten against their wish?
Managing a company running remotely full-time differs from managing a combination of remote and in-office workers. As a manager, it is required that you do everything possible to help your company grow while building a healthy team of staff who would boost their friends and family about the company they work for. You should not be the only one promoting the company. You cannot follow your staff around to know who is speaking well about the company to outsiders, but you can ensure this by just being the boss they all desire. The rules for managing remote and hybrid teams are simple. You just have to make sure you're on track. The remote and hybrid working system has come to stay, and you must develop your company as the world develops. Don't be left behind.