5 Tips on Effectively Managing Hybrid and Remote Teams

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The Art of Managing Hybrid and Remote Teams

The COVID-19 pandemic radically changed the face of work today, especially in terms of remote and hybrid work. Some employers have embraced the concept of working from where you are and others have bought into the concept grudgingly.

While not necessarily a new concept for some organizations, hybrid work arrangements are growing in popularity and acceptance. A recent report from the law firm Littler Mendelson PC revealed more than 70% of U.S. employers are now embracing hybrid work models. These findings prove that flexible work arrangements are more than just a fad. Remote work is also a growing trend. According to the Pew Research Center, around 22 million employed adults (18+) in the U.S. work from home all the time, equal to roughly 14% of all employed adults. It might go without saying, but there is a difference between a hybrid and remote work schedule. Hybrid work usually means employees work remotely on some days and head into the workplace on others. Under remote work plans, employees generally put in their hours completely outside of the workplace.

Of course, there are pros and cons to both work methods, and managerial challenges come with both. The biggest concerns tend to center around communications, primarily because remote and hybrid workers are not physically present in the workplace. Because of that, communication is often handled via text or e-mail, which can cause issues with employees accurately interpreting messages and understanding direction.

So what are some steps supervisors can take to effectively manage hybrid and remote teams? Arguably some of the most important tactics to managing any employee regardless of their work arrangement are to set expectations, establish boundaries, and create measures for success. Then clearly communicate those expectations, boundaries, and measures.

Here are 5 tips that can help you be more successful in managing hybrid and remote teams:

1. Provide the right tools.

Working remotely may require specific technology or office equipment and supplies that employees might not have at their disposal. If feasible, make the effort to provide the resources that will allow employees to simulate their office setting as nearly as possible. The more comfortable staff members are working remotely, the more productive they are likely to be.

2. Offer continuous feedback and be receptive to employee suggestions.

Stay in touch and in tune with those you supervise. This should be a given whether the worker is hybrid, remote, or in the office full-time. Providing open lines of communication and opportunities for frequent interaction can reduce miscommunication and also build employee morale. But remember, it’s a two-way street. Be open to employee-driven observations and recommendations. Those who work for you are often your greatest resource for managerial growth.

3. Devise ways to bring the team together periodically.

Whether it’s a regularly scheduled staff meeting or an occasional potluck lunch, providing ways for your staff to come together in person helps ensure the team not only is informed and in the loop, but also bonds and grows together.

4. Consider sending out a daily or weekly update to keep all team members informed.

Similar to bringing staff together in person, a daily or weekly update can go a long way in making your employees feel included. Regular updates, no matter the format, also provide key information to help them do their jobs. The communication could be as simple as firing off an e-mail to note progress on an important project or as comprehensive as a multi-page newsletter.

5. Be inclusive and try not to play favorites.

It’s human nature to tend to turn to those who are physically present when handing out assignments or seeking input on an issue. Taking the necessary time and steps to be mindful of your remote and hybrid staff can help ensure all team members feel respected and included.

But perhaps the most important thing you can do as a manager, regardless of your work environment and arrangement, is to lead by example. Suppose you model the behavior you want to see in your team and make strong communication skills, accountability, and adaptability a priority. In that case, you’ve taken the most important step toward leading a productive and successful team.

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