The rise of hybrid working models has created a need for teams to be able to collaborate and share ideas, regardless of their physical location. The good news is, this can be achieved through virtual collaboration. However, the concept of employees working closely with other people who may be on-site, off-site, or moving between the two, is new to most companies and requires careful management.
Keep reading for more information on best practices for hybrid teams or explore how you can feel at home in a hybrid workplace with ViewSonic solutions.
For many businesses, virtual collaboration is a feature of modern life. Nowadays, an increasing number of professionals work closely from different locations. As more offices embrace hybrid models, though, there are potential challenges that need to be addressed. How to manage employees who are working from home, the office, or doing both?
Virtual Collaboration: Why the Future is Hybrid
In recent times, demand for remote work has grown significantly. As employees look to strike the ideal work and life balance and the technology makes these efforts more viable, employers come to understand the numerous benefits of such a model. However, there are also professionals who appreciate the structure and routine associated with a physical workplace.
All of this means that the future of work is going to merge these two approaches with some employees working on-site and some remotely. The flexible choice is provided on a set of requirements and preferences. The hybrid work model is more tailored to individual needs, though, so it can potentially place some obstacles in the way of successful teamwork.
7 Best Practices for Hybrid Teams
The key to successful collaboration between hybrid teams is: troubleshooting and optimizing communication. Foreseeing obstacles and taking relevant steps to avoid them is crucial. Effective communication, on the other hand, will help get everyone on the same page with new structures and any process changes.
In this section, we offer seven best practices that can help hybrid managers to get the most from their teams.
1. Standardize Access to Hardware and Software
One of the biggest obstacles to effective virtual collaboration is providing equal access to both hardware and software. Employees need to be able to do their job effectively, no matter if they are working on-site or from home. Having the same tools will spare compatibility issues and provide everyone with the same productive workstation.
The rise of collaborative equipment and cloud-based solutions has done a lot in this regard. Keeping hardware in mind, video conferencing monitors with an integrated webcam and a microphone, are a great one-stop remote work solution. For office scenarios, an interactive whiteboard drives engagement, seamless hybrid presenting and integrates really well with remote software solutions such as Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, or Zoom.
2. Make Sure Teams Conduct Hybrid Meetings
Next, it is essential that hybrid teams have hybrid meetings. While this may seem like an obvious point, it is surprisingly easy for those working in the office to collaborate, independently from the remote workers. This may involve calling their own smaller meetings, which automatically excludes off-site workers.
An effective way to avoid these problems, like Trello accurately explains, is to adopt a ‘remote first’ approach. This means treating remote work as the default approach for your team so that there is no inherent disadvantage associated with working out of the office. Doing so will also help to ensure all team meetings include off-site workers. One way of achieving that is making sure everyone has a webcam monitor.
3. Provide Video Conferencing Tools
For virtual collaboration to become possible, it is vital that all members of a hybrid team have access to the best video conferencing tools. On a fundamental level, this means having robust hardware that will sustain any brainstorming session, report meetings, or lengthy discussions. A portable monitor can be a great addition to a video conferencing setup, saving space on your desk while providing a display for your notes during a presentation.
For folks meeting in the office, an interactive display could be an invaluable addition to the meeting room. All participants will be able to see the contents clearly, feel equally engaged, and connected. The presenters, on the other hand, will feel confident and at ease, being able to make annotations on the touch screen in real-time with a stylus.
4. Use Multiple Communication Channels
Video conferencing tools often form the basis of virtual collaboration. While the option to form virtual breakout rooms or one-to-one conversations allows for more individual consultation, it is also important to provide additional communication channels within hybrid teams.
Providing team members with a mobile phone for work can also help to improve internal communication without compromising security. This is especially effective when employees need to notify their superior about a sudden leave, project delay, or unexpected internet connection issues.
To avoid operators’ costs, apps like WhatsApp and Telegram that only need internet access are great for instant communication. International teams or local employees temporarily working abroad often use this fool-proof solution.
5. Create a Schedule and Clear Deadlines
When managing hybrid teams, all members must have a clear sense of what they should be doing at any given time. It is equally important that they know exactly when their work needs to be completed.
A key to hybrid team management is creating a proper and equally binding schedule for any work assignment. With clear deadlines, all staff will stay on track regardless of whether they are in the workplace or working from home.
6. Utilize Project Management Skills
One of the best practices for hybrid teams is stellar project management. For virtual collaboration to produce the desired results, project leaders need to take charge and stay attentive. This covers selecting the right people to carry out the project in the first place, managing team morale, to monitoring individual progress as the work is carried out.
If you are using the Microsoft Office 365 cloud solution, Microsoft Planner can be a helpful application. There are plenty of other alternatives, too, like Asana, or Monday.com. They allow project managers to easily assign tasks and create work plans which makes organization and task delegation efficient. Team members can also share important files, update the team on their progress and communicate other valuable information about the project.
7. Trust Your Team to Do the Work
The last best practice to optimize virtual collaboration within hybrid teams is to put trust in your team to carry out the work, regardless of where they are working from. Some managers and team leaders may initially tend to micromanage but this is likely to hinder productivity rather than foster it.
With a smart schedule and clear deadlines for each task, now employees need space to do their jobs. One of the ways to assure that is by reducing unnecessary interruptions. If you need a quick progress report or an update, sometimes an email or quick one-to-one video call is sufficient. Having an extra team meeting may only disrupt the team’s workflow.
For many workplaces, the future is going to involve a hybrid model. A ‘remote first’ approach can truly include those working off-site. At the same time, employees need the same access to the right software and communication tools. Once these are in place, focus on creating robust schedules and deadlines. Then, put some trust in team members and you can achieve great results and have everyone enjoy the best of both worlds.
If you want to know more about Hybrid Work, visit our comprehensive guide where we share many insights on the Hybrid Workplace or discover ViewSonic’s solutions that will help you set up a perfect home office station.