Remote work is a general term for work away from a specific office. Still, Hybrid Development Team work is growing as companies redefine the work environment to include remote and internal workers. For some managers, juggling multinational and dispersed teams is nothing new. But for others, the shift to managing remote or hybrid teams, even without time zone barriers, represents a significant departure from their usual way of working. Regardless of the makeup of the team members, how can leaders ensure that all team members are working in the same direction and creating a dynamic and productive work environment?
Table of Content
- Define Core Work Time
- Set Standards For Schedule Management
- Standards for the Use of Messaging Applications
- Define Times Of The Day When There Are No Meetings
- More Communication
- Expect The Unexpected
- Promote Balance and Healthy Work Habits
- Create Opportunities For Communication Through “Coolers.”
- Regularly Review and Adapt Team Standards
- Help Your Team Understand the Best Way to Work
Below are ten tips for ensuring consistency in hybrid teams.
1. Define Core Work Time
Define core hours that allow team members to focus on their work. If team members are in different time zones, discuss the team’s needs in terms of synchronous work hours (i.e., when everyone can be online at the same time) and asynchronous work hours. In the case of asynchronous work, discussing the flexibility of asynchronous work hours is also helpful. Are there job requirements that require a fixed schedule, or can asynchronous work schedules be managed freely?
2. Set Standards For Schedule Management
Set standards for calendar management, such as blocking out meetings that account for a large portion of core work time. 3) Consider scenarios. For example, how should team members notify others if they are absent during the core work period (due to scheduled vacation or unforeseen circumstances)?
3. Set Team Standards For The Use Of Messaging Applications.
Consider “rest periods” to interrupt messaging applications and set up status indicators to signal when team members are ready to collaborate and when they want to focus on their work and avoid distractions. Identifying the types of communication your team prefers via email rather than messaging applications is also helpful. For example, time-consuming updates that need to be checked multiple times could be sent via email or wiki. In contrast, quick questions or project status updates could be communicated in real time via a messaging app.
4. Define Times Of The Day When There Are No Meetings
Define “no meeting” times during the week so that everyone can focus on their work independently of others. This also serves as a mechanism to force everyone to be more discrete about when meetings are necessary and when emails and other forms of communication are sufficient. If team members work in different time zones, they can, of course, set non-overlapping times when meetings do not take place.
5. More Communication
More communication promotes open and transparent discussions. It can be difficult to judge tone and emotion with digital channels, even in a video interview. Don’t assume that silence means approval, especially if they are introverted colleagues. If a team member is reluctant to speak up in a meeting, always ask for feedback and call them back personally. Also, avoid using messaging apps to discuss sensitive topics. If a sensitive issue comes up in a chat, it’s best to break the ice and offer a video call or (if possible) a face-to-face meeting instead.
6. Expect The Unexpected
Because each team member is in a different location, they may not know that a storm or other unusual situation will occur elsewhere. Therefore, in the event of severe weather or other emergencies, it is necessary to have emergency communication channels in place to ensure the safety of employees. Invisibility does not mean invisibility.
7. Promote Balance and Healthy Work Habits
Recent studies have shown that it is difficult for remote workers to establish healthy boundaries to achieve work-life balance. It can be challenging to detach from work when working from home completely. Supervisors should explicitly state that they do not expect a response to emails sent after hours. They should also write a message to the recipient if an urgent response is needed. This prevents employees from feeling like they are constantly “on the go” and creates a space to relax and enjoy their time outside of work.
8. Create Opportunities For Communication Through “Coolers.”
One of the main differences between remote or hybrid teams and in-office teams is that fewer chance encounters can sometimes lead to discovering new collaborative ideas and common interests. For example, apps like Donut, which bring two colleagues together randomly for a 30-minute chat to get to know each other, can be an excellent way to connect people who might not otherwise communicate. Many new virtual games have been developed over the past year.
While hybrid teams require more careful play and social time planning, the benefits to team culture and cohesion are well worth the effort.
9. Regularly Review and Adapt Team Standards
As team composition and priorities change, so do the needs. Therefore, it is advisable to have regular “how-to” discussions within the team to identify team norms and communication preferences. Encourage different collaborators to share what works well and doesn’t and develop ideas to meet the team’s needs better. Check out this blog to learn more about encouraging discussion about work practices.
10. Help Your Team Understand the Best Way to Work
As work has primarily shifted to digital platforms, a wealth of information can be collected and shared to help teams and individuals understand their work habits and best work practices. Just as Fitbit provides a wealth of data on physical activity and health, productivity solutions and analytics can offer similar insight into how people work, with summaries such as focus time, multitasking time, and collaboration time. By sharing this data with individuals and teams, it’s now possible to get a clear picture of how changes in team norms, communication strategies, and work locations affect productivity and focus.
Managing Hybrid Teams Safely
While the factors that impede productivity vary from person to person (e.g., life stage, living arrangements, parental status), it’s essential for managers and organizations to think about how best to create an accessible and supportive environment for all employees, whether in the office or at a remote site. Set the standard that everyone, no matter where they are, is actively engaged in “work” and has time to rest and relax outside of work hours. An approach that emphasizes full transparency and clear expectations helps managers and individual employees create comfort, trust, and productivity.
About Productivity Software
In order to help businesses maintain high productivity, EMS, the best employee monitoring software, provides helpful features like time and attendance tracking, inactive/active time, and other features.