From in-office to hybrid model: how to efficiently re-engage your teams
The hybrid workspace, combining elements of remote work and in-person work, has recently gained significant attention. However, coordination, communication, and team engagement challenges have emerged in this new work model. Addressing these challenges is essential, as failures at work are often attributed to a lack of collaboration. In this article, we explored the advantages and difficulties of the hybrid model workspace and provided practical strategies to efficiently re-engage teams despite their challenges.
The challenges of hybrid workspaces include the following:
- Work culture: in the hybrid model, teams accustomed to close physical collaboration may struggle with fewer face-to-face interactions.
- Technological preparedness: teams lacking experience or access to collaborative tools may face difficulties maintaining smooth communication and workflows.
- Nature of work: roles requiring extensive collaboration or hands-on work may face higher challenges when transitioning to a hybrid workspace.
- Leadership: effective leadership is crucial in setting expectations, establishing clear rules, and fostering open dialogue to facilitate the hybrid workspace transition.
Following are the strategies to re-engage teams in hybrid workspaces:
- Collaborative tools:
- Leverage project management platforms, video conferencing tools, and shared document repositories to enhance teamwork and communication.
- Promote transparency and accessible information sharing to empower and engage team members.
- Team rituals:
- Establish regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions, or virtual coffee breaks to encourage collaboration, progress sharing, and support.
- Foster a sense of unity and team comradery to reignite motivation and strengthen team bonds.
- Casual conversations:
- Create spaces for social interaction, such as virtual water cooler chats or team-building activities.
- Celebrate achievements together to foster positive relationships and a sense of belonging within the team.
A study from the Harvard Business Review states that there are significant challenges that came up with the expansion of the hybrid workspace. And one of these challenges is coordination, communication, and team engagement. Additionally, the concept of distance bias can further complicate communication in hybrid teams, emphasizing the need for proactive strategies to counteract it.
But more than knowing that working in hybrid teams can raise much greater coordination difficulties than face-to-face collaboration, there are efficient ways to solve this. Actually, 86% of employees in leadership positions think that failures at work are directly related to a lack of unity and collaboration.
Every manager and team executive needs success at work because it leads to company growth and better sales. But what can you do? How can you foster team engagement even with the hybrid setup? How can you help your team members re-engage with themselves for better coordination and work efficiency?
That’s why we are here. In this article, we’ll walk you through the solution to your questions: how to efficiently re-engage your team, even in the hybrid model era.
What is the hybrid workspace concept, and how great is it?
According to a post on Forbes, the hybrid model idea involves a combination of desk-hopping, remote, and in-office working arrangements. It allows team members to operate in a flexible and adaptable environment: work from home or work from the office whenever they need to.
When you work in an office, you have a dedicated workspace where you perform your job responsibilities. This could include a desk, a computer, and other necessary tools and equipment.
You interact with colleagues and superiors in person, allowing for immediate feedback, brainstorming sessions, and social interactions. In-office work typically follows a set schedule and involves collaboration, meetings, and direct supervision within the office environment.
One of the benefits of in-office work is the ability to foster a sense of community and teamwork. Being physically present in the same space promotes real-time communication and enhances collaboration, increasing productivity and creating a stronger company culture. However, commuting to and from the office can be time-consuming and add stress to one's daily routine.
Remote work refers to the practice of performing job responsibilities outside of a traditional office environment. Instead of commuting to a physical workplace, remote workers utilize technology and communication tools to carry out their tasks from a location of their choice, such as their home, a coworking space, or even while traveling.
In 2020, all sorts of workplaces worldwide were forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and society was forced into an unanticipated experiment in remote employment. Now, businesses worldwide have established new workplace rules that consider the fact that flexible work is an ongoing aspect of the contemporary workplace rather than just a pandemic response.
One of the key advantages of remote work is the elimination of geographical constraints. It enables companies to tap into a global talent pool and hire individuals regardless of their physical location.
But at the same time, effective communication and self-discipline become paramount as remote workers must stay connected with their teams and deliver results without traditional face-to-face interaction. Overcoming distractions and maintaining a healthy work routine can require self-motivation and time management skills.
Mixing the two into a hybrid model
The hybrid workspace combines elements of remote work and in-person work, allowing team members to operate in a flexible and adaptable environment. It represents a shift from the traditional model of working solely in a physical office or remotely. In a hybrid workspace, employees have the freedom to choose where and how they work, leveraging the advantages of both remote and in-person setups.
While remote work allows for uninterrupted focus and independence, in-person interactions can enhance teamwork, creativity, and relationship-building. By combining the two, theoretically, the hybrid workspace aims to strike a balance, leveraging the strengths of both work modes.
Why is it more difficult for some teams than others to adapt to a hybrid workplace?
Adapting to a hybrid workplace can be challenging for different teams in varying degrees. This disparity is caused by several variables.
The work culture might not agree with a hybrid model
The team's current work culture and communication dynamics are significant factors. Teams that used to work closely together in a physical office setting can find it difficult to move to a hybrid model with fewer face-to-face interactions. But that’s not the only reason.
The team could be technologically unprepared
The amount of technological preparation is also important. It might be easier for teams that are already familiar with digital tools and collaborative platforms to handle the hybrid environment.
But teams with little experience or access to such tools, on the other hand, can fail to maintain smooth communication and collaboration, resulting in difficult adjustments.
The nature of the work also matters
Additionally, the nature of the work itself has an impact on the adaptation process.
Some roles and tasks are inherently suited to remote work, but others require in-person cooperation or access to specific resources. Teams engaged in highly collaborative or hands-on work frequently could face higher challenges while transitioning to a hybrid workspace.
As a team leader, you affect the transition
Finally, well-structured leadership is crucial in determining how quickly a team will transition to a hybrid workplace.
Leaders who communicate expectations proactively, establish clear rules, and foster open dialogue will be better prepared to deal with any issues that emerge. But if the leaders are not prepared or need more essential skills to handle the hybrid environment, adjusting might be difficult.
So why was the hybrid model even adopted? If the model has so many challenges, why did so many executives in companies keep the hybrid workspace model?
Why did many teams keep working in a hybrid environment, even after the pandemic?
Actually, you should know that there are some companies that are more than happy to implement a hybrid model workspace. Not only are they ‘happy to’, they have fully embraced it and are doing it. Many well-known worldwide giants are until now allowing their employees to work from home for half their workweek.
But for the companies that have been experiencing team engagement deterioration, why did some of them have to continue anyways?
Work flexibility is more important than ever
Many companies adopted hybrid work models during the pandemic to ensure business continuity while prioritizing employee safety.
This approach allowed employees to work from home part of the time, reducing the risk of exposure to the virus. But as the pandemic subsided, companies realized the increased need for work flexibility and an improved work-life balance for team members. So, to maintain these advantages, they chose to stick with the hybrid model.
Team members also craved flexibility
Team members had become accustomed to the flexibility of working remotely, which allowed them to manage personal responsibilities better, such as childcare, caregiving, or other commitments.
By continuing with a hybrid work setup, they could strike a better balance between professional and personal obligations.
Company policies played an important role as well
Company policies and infrastructure adjustments also influenced the decision to embrace hybrid work in the long term. Organizations invest in technology and remote collaboration tools to support efficient communication and seamless workflow across distributed teams. These investments made it easier for employees to collaborate effectively, regardless of their physical location.
So now that you see how important the hybrid environment is, let’s look at how you can efficiently re-engage your team and fully benefit from this workspace model.
How can you efficiently re-engage your teams in a hybrid context?
As we mentioned at the start of this article, teams transitioning to remote work have faced a decline in engagement for many companies in the wake of the pandemic.
Now, as a manager or a team executive, get ready to learn practical strategies to reignite motivation and involvement. From collaborative tools to team rituals and informal moments, it's time to discover how to empower your team in the era of remote work.
One powerful approach is leveraging collaborative tools and technologies.
These tools can facilitate seamless communication and collaboration among team members, regardless of their physical location. Whether it's project management platforms, video conferencing tools, or shared document repositories, using these technologies can enhance teamwork and keep everyone connected.
By promoting transparency and easy information sharing, you create an environment where individuals feel empowered. You can also ignite a fire within the hearts of your team members and inspire them to reach new heights. As a useful and complete collaborative tool, you can try the Klaxoon visual platform.
Another method is establishing regular team rituals.
These rituals can take various forms, such as weekly team meetings, brainstorming sessions, or even virtual coffee breaks. These frequent interactions provide an opportunity for team members to discuss progress, share ideas, and provide support for one another.
By promoting a sense of unity and team spirit, team rituals can boost motivation and strengthen the team's bond.
It's not all about formalities; informal moments as a team are equally essential. Encourage casual conversations and create spaces for social interaction. This could involve setting up virtual water cooler chats, organizing team-building activities, or even celebrating achievements together.
These informal moments help build trust, foster positive relationships, and create a sense of belonging within the team. They remind everyone that they're part of a collaborative and supportive community — like state-of-the-art technology that brings teams closer together.
Keep on efficiently re-engaging your teams
Hybrid workspaces offer numerous benefits for both employees and organizations. They provide flexibility, allowing individuals to balance work and personal life more effectively, reduce commuting time and costs, and increase overall job satisfaction.
However, transitioning to a hybrid workspace requires careful consideration and deliberate efforts to re-engage the team. Companies can foster team cohesion by investing in technology that promotes seamless collaboration, organizing regular virtual and in-person team-building activities, and creating opportunities for open communication and feedback. Providing support for remote employees through mentorship programs and professional development initiatives is also essential.