Following the recent Government announcements on easing restrictions, many businesses are choosing a hybrid approach with staff working remotely as well as office-based.
Having a co-located team presents opportunities for leaders to create balanced expectations and objectives for their team. As these flexible working patterns are now being accepted as the norm for the foreseeable future leaders also need to practice empathy as team members get used to this way of working.
Successful leaders have clearly understood the need to empower their teams as each of us needs to take full responsibility for self-managing while working in this dispersed way. We have put together some thoughts for leaders to follow. In order to lead hybrid teams effectively, leaders can focus on empowering their teams. We have put together some top tips for businesses to follow.”
Top guide to managing the hybrid team
1. Demonstrate support
We can support our teams by having regular conversations with our team members both in a group and individual settings, where we not only discuss work but also how we’re getting on more generally. Find out about your team’s challenges and concerns, as it’s important to allow people to express and share how they are feeling. As a leader, it’s important to express that you care for your team, that you’re listening and understanding their feelings and perhaps that you are also experiencing similar emotions. This helps your team see you as human and also encourages empathy.
2. Set expectations
The working environment is changing, so why are we following outdated expectations? It is important to create new expectations and processes that suit the team’s new working environment and needs. To empower your team, you can set the new expectations together by asking the team what they need and as a team come to an agreement.
3. Be inclusive
As we work from home and/or the office, teams become more dispersed than ever before, we need to maximise our effort in being inclusive. We can do this by ensuring for all team meetings, everyone’s faces can be seen. If meetings take place online, ensure everyone’s camera is on. Or while hybrid meetings take place with team members in the office and others working from home, give allocated time for each team member to contribute their ideas.
4. Recognise burnout
We can recognise burnout through individual behavioural changes, perhaps someone who was previously loud and chatty has become quiet or someone who was proactive has become reactive. This highlights the importance of having regular communication with your team members, so you can recognise behavioural changes immediately.
5. Maintain personal relationships
Despite the team being split between locations, it’s important to maintain existing team relationships and create environments where new relationships can be built. Informal Zoom calls at lunch to allow ‘coffee break’ chats are a start, even calling up your colleagues to see how they’re doing, something we used to ask every day when working in the office.
By carrying out these steps we can ensure our team feel supported and included, with clear expectations of what their next steps are. Compassion and empathy are ongoing ‘hot topics’ in our current circumstances. It’s important we practice compassion regularly and have it at the forefront of our mind when working with our team and ourselves.”