If 2020 was the year the world went remote, 2021 is the year that the world will embrace our new remote lifestyle in order to create sustainable hybrid systems. The key to successful hybrid systems is how well you balance in-person and remote strategies to build hybrid workflows that fit your needs.
It’s important for all team members from HR to Engineering and everyone in between, starting with leadership, to understand how these workflows will happen so they can set the example for their teams. If one manager allows team members to work remotely as needed but another requires advance permission to work remotely, your employees will find out and express their frustration, which can lead to turnover and overall unhappy employees. Create transparent policies and processes and everyone will reap the benefits.
Follow these steps to ensure you are creating hybrid workflows and communication strategies that meet your needs.
Whether your existing communication strategy is rooted in in-person synchronous conversations or you have found that you are most productive when the bulk of your communication is done asynchronously and with remote tools, the first step toward building new workflows and communication strategies is to take the time to assess your current systems.
To help assess your current communication strategy, ask yourself these questions:
Now that you have taken stock of your existing communication systems, it is time to find out what is working and what strategies would benefit from a revamp. The first step in the revamp is to determine communication policies and workflows for both remote and in-office work.
For most organizations, the tools your employees use to communicate effectively typically fall into two camps: synchronous and asynchronous tools. Whether your teams consist of fully-remote employees or an assortment of employees who work on hybrid or flexible schedules, your communication policies need to be consistent in order to be productive. To ensure your teams remain high-functioning as they adapt to new hybrid systems, take the time to efficiently set the appropriate expectation for communication.
Start by using a template to create a remote work policy that fits the needs of your hybrid teams. Then, work with your hybrid employees to create workflows that benefit everyone.
You should work to create your hybrid communication best practices with the hybrid employees who will be using these strategies. Your hybrid communication strategies should be the answer to questions such as:
Now that you have determined which hybrid workflows and communication strategies work best for your employees, it is time to implement these changes. In 2020 when millions of employees transitioned to the remote work lifestyle— many for the first time— there was a global learning curve. In addition to new health and safety guidelines, many workers also had to navigate new remote communication and collaboration tools as well as adjust to a completely new lifestyle.
This transition didn’t happen overnight and neither will your next transition into a hybrid organization. The key to a successful transition is to remain flexible and communicative. Provide all parties with the appropriate educational materials and access to all tools, project management systems, and remote collaboration software they will need to ensure an informed transition. Of course there will be roadblocks along the way, but as long as you are prepared with all the right tools and mindsets then your hybrid teams will be equipped to gracefully navigate whatever is to come.
Remember: Some of your team members may be unfamiliar with technology like VPNs, cloud-based software, and other tech that is second nature to most tech natives.
Adjusting to hybrid systems means learning a new way to collaborate. Luckily, there are tons of hybrid team tools available to keep teams connected and collaborating from any distance.
Regardless of how many of your teammates are working remotely or in-person on any given day, you need a reliable way to conduct a hybrid meeting with them. The best and most popular video conferencing platforms, like Zoom, are also one-stop shop virtual collaboration tools thanks to their many additional features such as breakout rooms, screen sharing, and annotation tools. For hybrid teams, finding a video conferencing platform that you can trust to connect your team every day is a necessity.
Both your in-office and remote team members will need a way to join video conferencing meetings on camera using a webcam. Many laptops include a web camera, or employees can use a USB web camera with a built-in microphone. For hybrid teams, a 360-degree video conferencing camera like the Meeting Owl Pro allows remote employees to see and hear everyone in the physical room.
Top design tools, like Canva, are often the creative backbone of high-functioning hybrid teams. Not only are digital design tools the perfect way to create presentations, graphics, and any other design elements your team can dream of, but they are also a key way to collaborate virtually with your hybrid teammates with their cloud-based platform.
When you are a member of a hybrid team the majority of your daily communication will be asynchronous. When you choose a user-friendly asynchronous communication tool, like Slack, you can ensure that no hybrid team member ever misses a message. Additionally, asynchronous communications tools are designed to be malleable so they fit into any hybrid communication strategy.
No two employees are the same and no two hybrid workflows are the same, so get creative with what works for your unique needs. If you are new to hybrid work, here is everything you need to know about being on a hybrid team.