One of the biggest difficulties with implementing a hybrid work setup is ensuring effective collaboration. According to Microsoft's 2021 Work Trend Index, teams are more siloed in a digital work world. This makes it imperative for you, as a business leader, to look for ways to foster hybrid team collaboration and knowledge sharing — practices that are necessary to drive workplace innovation. And with this innovation, you can expect enhanced productivity and better levels of service for customers.
Although it’s not surprising that hybrid teams are the future of work, embracing a more permanent mix of on-site and remote working comes with a unique set of challenges.
How can you improve collaboration in your hybrid workplace?
To improve collaboration in a hybrid workplace, you need to provide support to your teams and show them that you are committed to the process. Here are some strategies you can implement to do just that.
1. Make communication resources readily available
The massive shift to remote work highlighted the importance of making communication resources readily available to distributed teams to keep them connected. This especially holds true for hybrid work. You should tailor communication and management policies for a hybrid workplace, and make collaboration resources accessible from an online, central repository that’s updated in real-time to ensure that on-site and remote teams are always on the same page.
2. Invest in and maximize the use of the right tech
When your teams are working across multiple locations (or even different time zones), quick stand-up meetings and instant messages may not be enough to keep everyone in the loop and on task. That’s why communication and project management in a hybrid workplace must be more intentional.
Fortunately, there are myriad software applications that streamline workflows, facilitate conversations, and produce business presentations, which allow users to create and share ideas and content easily. There are also platforms and suites that combine several capabilities and features, allowing your distributed teams to communicate with one another, set goals and deadlines, and track progress all in one place. For instance, Microsoft 365 offers productivity tools and services that help streamline business processes and encourage team collaboration.
The most important thing to remember is to let your hybrid teams know that while the workplace is hybrid, the technologies you implement bring them together to a single virtual location where everyone can interact and collaborate.
3. Create opportunities for casual conversation and team building
Social capital is an important component of organizational collaboration. In a physical office setup, there are plenty of opportunities to engage in friendly chats and foster workplace camaraderie. Employees can stand around the water cooler, meet in the pantry, or be on the way to a meeting and have casual and meaningful chats. In a remote or hybrid work setup, most of these opportunities are lost.
To reintroduce these opportunities to your hybrid teams, consider doing the following:
- Before starting a virtual meeting, set aside a few minutes to check in with team members or allow them to chat
- Once a meeting is over, use breakout rooms — which divide participants into smaller groups — to simulate post-meeting conversations
- Create an online group or channel where teams can hold nonwork-related or informal conversations
- Schedule virtual or in-person team-building exercises or games, so team members can get to know each other better
4. Figure out what works and what doesn’t
Hybrid work practices are likely to continue to transform after adoption, so it’s important to regularly review your policies and technologies to ensure they are providing the best possible support for your business.
In addition, seek feedback from your employees about their experiences with collaborating in the new hybrid work environment. After all, the best people to assess how your processes and tools are performing are those who use these every day. Use this feedback to guide changes as your workplace continues to evolve.
Our experts at outsourceIT can help your business leverage existing and emerging technologies to ensure invaluable collaboration with your hybrid teams. Give us a call to discover how!