Since the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, the term “hybrid workforce” has become universal, global organisations, including Google, have embraced these flexible arrangements.
In-person, in-office teams have been slowly outmoded in the hybrid world of work.
More and more organisations are slowly changing their skill sets, attitudes, and processes to combat unfairness, enhance productivity, and establish a hybrid culture.
However, many people from different industries indicated a worse sense of company culture, less team cohesion, and less collaboration when questioned about the drawbacks of hybrid work.
According to a study by McKinsey & Company, 52% of workers would choose a more flexible working model post-pandemic, compared to 30% pre-pandemic.
In the face of so much change and uncertainty, how can you ensure your teams stay adaptable, productive, and creative? Have you also checked with your team to see whether they are still enthusiastic about their work?
The answer is straightforward—that is, to empower them. But how can you cultivate an environment that promotes empowerment in a hybrid workplace?
It is up to you to invest in transformation efforts to empower your hybrid team and learn how to lead effectively in the era of hybrid work.
Let’s look at 6 clever ways to empower your hybrid team:
1. Re-establish a balance between synchronous and asynchronous work
Online collaborations have been prevalent in the flexible working environment because of conferencing solutions such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and others.
This allows teams to work on projects and manage schedules efficiently.
According to a study by Gartner, synchronous modes (synchronous = happens at the same time) such as meetings and presentations are the essential means of promoting innovation for the majority of HR leaders.
However, people are experiencing burnout from murky slack conversations, unnecessary Zoom meetings, and a lack of separation between work and home due to the flexible working schedule as more organisations transition to hybrid work.
Based on the report of Virtira Consulting, nearly half of remote workers (49%) felt extreme exhaustion as a result of multiple daily conference sessions.
That’s why the research of Gartner also reiterated that asynchronous work modes are just as crucial (Asynchronous = doesn’t happen at the same time) as synchronous work modes in achieving collaborative innovation.
But how do you strike a balance between these two work modes?
Here are some ideas we’ve gathered to help you balance these two work modes and empower your team:
- Allow your team to plan their workweek around when they are most productive
- Make sure that you are leading by example when it comes to flexibility
- Reduce synchronous work – make the most of the time team members are together but reduce the need for it
2. Store all work files in the cloud
Regardless of their location, all employees require access to, manage and operate with data.
Hybrid teams should use cloud document storage to easily search and share files, implement effective version control, and efficiently complete their work.
Despite a variety of concerns about cloud adoption, such as data security, internet dependency, and high financial expenditures, to name a few, organisations continue to opt for it because the hybrid era exists.
Thanks to technological developments and customer feedback, these challenges gradually resolve.
The following are some of the advantages of storing all your work data in the cloud:
- Remote Access
- Flexibility and Scalability
- Advanced Security
- Systems Management
3. Create guidelines for hybrid collaboration
One of the most significant drawbacks of hybrid work centres around collaboration; if this is not enabled, it will become a disaster for the whole organisation.
Virtual technology is just an enabler, and your hybrid team needs more than that; they should know their boundaries when collaborating as well.
That’s why you need to define what hybrid collaboration looks like in your organisation first and then set up actionable steps to develop guidelines for this kind of collaboration. In that way, your team can do an effective and efficient hybrid collaboration without any distraction or even unnecessary behaviour.
Luckily, your company already has the tools and capabilities necessary to support synchronous and asynchronous collaboration. You need to use these tools to maximise your team’s potential so that no one is left behind.
Here are some steps to get your hybrid collaboration up and running:
- Know the purpose of the collaboration
- Given that purpose, determine who are the people involved in the collaboration
- Identify the processes and the guidelines you will utilise during the collaboration
- Evaluate the collaboration to see if the shared goals were achieved or not
And here are some of the most productive and efficient hybrid collaboration guidelines for you to follow:
- Instead of sending emails to your team, keep all forms of communication centralised in your collaboration platform
- Before your scheduled meeting, provide an agenda and any associated materials with your team
- Avoid sending chats outside of working hours
- Keep your comments brief, but if you have a lot to say, make a note and share it on your collaborative platform
4. Promote networking within your organisation
One of the most overlooked benefits of working in a hybrid workplace is the power to chat and build a network with co-workers.
Working in a physical office provides a safe atmosphere for casual chats, but for some reason, people who work from home are often overlooked during these conversations.
Owl Lab revealed that 29% of US employees miss the visibility of being in the office and training and career progression opportunities.
While networking can be more complex where many individuals work from home and interact via technology, there is a silver lining. People yearn for social interaction. And your team needs you to build it up.
These tips to promote networking in the hybrid workplace have shown to be reliable:
- Make every video call or chat a chance for networking
- Reassure that every team member is visible
- Host virtual events and team bonding hangouts
- Establish a warm atmosphere for junior team members to meet other colleagues with similar interests
- Create dedicated spaces for connections
5. Give employees a voice at the virtual meeting
New hires are frequently scared to speak out during online meetings for fear of making a mistake, displaying their lack of skill, or offending a senior employee, resulting in missing ideas and critical viewpoints that they can bring to the table.
This is bad for your company as hybrid workspaces should reflect the needs of your hybrid team.
You should highlight the significance of team empowerment to ensure that all hybrid team members feel comfortable engaging with every discussion.
Here are some ideas for your hybrid team to have a voice in online meetings:
- Maintain an agenda that anybody may contribute to
- Provide every member with a designated slot on the agenda
- Utilise open-ended exercises to gather ideas from everyone in the room
These actions will provide practice for your hybrid team to offer their views in meetings as your company scales.
6. Recognise the good things they’ve done
When most of your employees are working remotely, one of the significant challenges of an organisation is to maintain a strong company culture and make collaboration a positive experience, even in a hybrid workplace.
According to a SurveyMonkey survey, 82% say that it makes them happier when recognised at work.
So, how do you recognise your team who are working remotely?
Recognition can be a powerful tool, particularly if it ties your team to a sense of purpose and accomplishment. It helps your team understand their responsibilities in the organisation’s performance. Recognition also builds teams and culture by aligning them with the company’s significant goals.
Here’s are some strategies on how to recognise your team:
- Ask your team’s preferred method of recognition
- Implement a team activity day
- Support professional development for your team
- Use social media to promote your team
- Make a peer recognition program
Why effective leadership is essential to empower your team
The success of your business not just depends on sales but also depends on team empowerment. If your team does not feel empowered, they will be less engaged at work.
Team empowerment requires effective leadership and effective leadership requires an understanding of your team’s needs and behaviours, and DISC is one tool for achieving so.
DISC is a profiling tool that can help you understand your behaviours, communication preferences, and, most of all, your personality and how to adjust them to have the most productive talks with your team members.
Check out our DISC factsheet to learn more about each DISC type and how you can adapt your leadership and communication style to your team members.
Want to empower your team to go next level?
I’m sure you’ve figured out what you’ll need to empower your hybrid team. But how about taking it a step further?
Have a FREE 30-minute session with me to talk more about taking your business to the next level!
Ellivate is the expert partner helping organisations and their go-to-market team’s scale.
Our powerhouse team of industry experts – with a combined 60 years of experience across the fintech, corporate and technology spaces – will work alongside your business to achieve your goals.
We have a shared passion for working with businesses to achieve rapid growth and apply an authentic, human layer of expertise that addresses the real challenges and concerns at the heart of your business.
We will work alongside you as a trusted and expert partner. We get in the trenches and ensure every solution is embedded within your business.