In a remote-first professional landscape, many in leadership positions are finding themselves placed with the responsibility of managing a hybrid team. All employees have different needs, but these needs can vary depending on if an employee is in-house or working from home. So, as a leader, how do you balance your employees’ various situations while still managing effectively?
Employees should clearly know what’s expected of them and be given the tools to understand how they will be measured and held accountable. When managing people in the office and remotely, simultaneously, make sure people know where they need to go to access information, who needs to be involved in which meetings, and who will be in charge of making decisions on certain projects or regarding specific topics.
Define Clear Working Hours
There needs to be a structure to the workday regardless if someone is in-house or working from home. Defining specific hours allows employees in both locations to know when they need to make themselves available. Flexibility should be kept in mind, and compromises might need to be made, again depending on different circumstances employees find themselves in. To keep your sanity as a manager, prioritize with flexibility in mind, making sure your team knows what’s most important and needs to get done at any given time.
As a manager, it’s important to remember that employees working remotely don’t have the option of walking into your office when they have a question or want to discuss something. Formalize communication policies for a hybrid team by setting guidelines for how tools should be used. For example, Slack or Skype are for quick messages, and Zoom or Google Meet are for scheduled video meetings. Employees should learn what an appropriate response time is depending on the software being used. They should also know which platforms to choose depending on the situation.
A hybrid workforce is not for everyone. If you have employees who are in the office 100% of the time, make sure they can handle and balance that schedule. If you have team members who are 100% at home or split between the office and home, hire people who have the maturity and experience to manage that set up successfully.
Turn a Blind Eye to Burnout
When it comes to matters of work and even balancing work and life, many can become stressed, tired, and frustrated. As a manager, you must recognize a change in behaviors. For example, if you have an employee who is normally outgoing and talkative and becomes someone more internalized and quiet, that should perk up your ears as a manager.
The future of any business is unknown, so everyone needs to have a bit of flexibility in their blood. As managers, leading is key, and setting up policies and guidelines to lead properly is essential. At the same time, all managers must know that even if something is written in stone, it might have to change along the way, depending on circumstances.
Communicating with all employees the same way won’t work. It doesn’t matter if they reside at home, in the office, or spend half their work time at each location, no one person is the same. Add in different office environments and different levels of reach, and communication needs will vary. Understand who your employees are, what their needs are, and choose your communication tactics appropriately.
Any tips for managers leading a hybrid team? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out How To Be an Effective Communicator With a Mask On.