Keeping hybrid working teams productive

Group CCO of business consultancy firm highlights the value of in-person collaboration, even at the expense of productivity; building synergy over Teams; sprint working; and individual productivity patterns to ensure positive results are achieved in teams.

We all strive for productivity and some days it can be easier than others. Although often down to the employees themselves, employers can do a lot to have a productive team.  

In the hybrid working era we are living in, one of the major drains on employee productivity is the commute to the office, given that a lot of people have moved during COVID-19 to areas outside of cities. Most companies are hybrid now and people are generally less productive in the office because of office chatter but I am a huge advocate for this as it enhances team camaraderie. I don’t care if teams come into the office for a few days a week and are 35% less productive, because collaboration is so important within teams. It’s about building strong relationships and unity which in turn will boost efficiency as the team has greater synergy.  

Synergy over Teams
To ensure team synergy is achieved, regular meetings on Teams are important to ensure there is a feeling of collaboration. A policy I think every organisation should consider is making sure everyone has their camera switched on during virtual meetings as it brings the personal element to an otherwise slightly alien concept.  

Some of my teams sometimes set up group Teams calls to carry out tasks – they can be doing database and email work and not necessarily need to speak to each other but it helps them feel like they are in the same room even though they’re not.  

Sprint working
An efficiency strategy we really value is working in sprints as it can significantly boost productivity. The tech sector can work in one or two-week sprints to meet project deadlines which feed into the agile model of working. Most companies can implement a two-hour sprint in their day to ensure 100% focus and effort is spent to deliver high-quality work on key tasks.  

Sprints also work well within teams, bringing another element of motivation. Small teams of five people might be working on the same task so they can set aside time and create achievable deliverables. Turning phones and emails off and setting your workspace up before you start the clock is crucial and ensures there are no interruptions during the blocked-out time.  

Once the sprint is finished, employees can have a breather and then focus on emails and meetings with the satisfaction that a key task is complete.  

Workspace set up and individual productivity patterns
It goes without saying that the physical element of work is as important as the strategic. The Wi-Fi set up is essential, but your workspace must be comfortable. That might be standing desks for some employees but it should always be a place you are productive in.  

 Offering an area that employees can go and relax and socialise in when they’re in the office is widely appreciated. If there has been a meeting heavy day and the team wants to play a game of foosball in the office or go out to grab a coffee to reset, then this should be encouraged.  

It’s about giving employees the flexibility and ability to manage their day to suit their productivity patterns. Offering flexible hours can be helpful – some work well early in the day and others work better in the evenings but it’s about providing that option to suit the individual.  

Incentives also go a long way too. Having performance bonuses in place, group holidays and team member of the quarter awards keeps teams motivated.  

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