Today we are going to be talking about making genuine connections with your virtual team members, and what that really means. Connecting with people virtually goes beyond simply sharing information about each other; it comes from genuine intention to grow relationships, and the genuine presence that comes from that intention.
Are you ready for hybrid work? Managers face new realities
The COVID pandemic created a massive “work from home” experiment. What this experiment proved however is that companies can give their employees choice as to where they work without having to sacrifice productivity.
In fact, you could say this experiment was so successful that now employees expect flexibility and choice of where they work. A recent study found that 72% want to continue working from home at least 2 days a week and 71% of employees expect more flexible schedules. This puts the onus on companies to adapt to this massive shift in working culture and create a cohesive plan to support the expectations of both in-office and virtual workers.
Top priorities for managers
As a manager a top priority for you right now is planning for how (or if) your employees will return to the office and creating a plan to ensure this new form of hybrid work will be a success.
Questions you need to answer:
- What new habits will your team have to adopt to ensure that every employee feels like they belong?
- How will you ensure that both on-site and virtual workers are included in all conversations?
- What new norms of behaviour to do you need to put into place to support the diverse needs and work styles of a hybrid team?
- How will you keep the entire team feeling connected and part of the company culture?
According to the Microsoft Work Trend Index, employee surveys show that while hybrid work is complex, embracing flexibility, different work styles and a culture of trust can help everyone navigate it successfully.
To successfully transition into this new hybrid workplace, companies need to think differently about how and where work gets done. Companies also need to be open to new ways of working to continue to attract and retain valuable employees.
Next steps for managers
Reshape the employee experience
After such an extended period of working from home, the employee experience now extends beyond the workplace. Their preferences about where they work when they work and how they work have changed. As a manager, you need to understand your employees’ new priorities and be flexible enough to adapt your working methods to meet their needs.
Start by thinking about each employee as a whole person. Put a greater emphasis on strategies to support their health and well-being. Encourage a positive work-life balance. Look to increase transparency so that communication is shared equally among the entire team, and everyone feels more connected.
Rethink your physical workspace
Companies recognize they need to give employees a reason to come to the office when they’re able to perform their role competently from home. So new hybrid workplaces will be quite different from what your employees were used to.
Some companies plan to transform existing offices into environments that are digitally enabled to facilitate easier collaboration between on-site and remote teams. Other companies plan to repurpose existing office spaces to promote diversity of working styles – such as providing quiet spaces for those who want them or noisier spaces with more interaction for people who prefer that. Giving employees options on where and how they can work in the office will make them more likely to want to come in.
Manage the hybrid workplace for success
A recent KPMG Canada survey found that 81% of employees say their managers need to be better trained to effectively manage a hybrid workplace team. Until now, few companies have operated with a true hybrid model that treats all their employees equitably regardless of their workplace. To make hybrid working a positive experience for all your staff requires a strategy that can be implemented across all levels and departments in your organization.
Are you prepared to adapt your management style to meet the needs of a hybrid team? Our training for Managing Hybrid Teams will show you how to address both the challenges and opportunities and create the best hybrid workplace for your company. >> Learn more
Accelerate technology innovation
The right technology is key to ensuring that all your employees can be equally effective, regardless of where they are physically located. Companies who want to be successful on their hybrid journey are finding ways to take their employees’ perspective. Some are providing managers with simple diagnostic survey tools to better understand their teams’ personal preferences, working styles and what their needs are for cooperation, coordination, and focus.
Assess what software and digital tools are most suitable for your industry so that you can enable constant connectivity, seamless communication and enhanced productivity in a framework that supports more flexible work arrangements.
For more insights into how to effectively manage hybrid teams, read How to overcome the challenges of managing hybrid teams.
At Virtual Team Builders we specialize in training leaders and managers how to enable virtual and on-site teams to work together successfully. As hybrid workplace experts, we can help you address the challenges of the hybrid model and enable greater productivity, connectivity, and satisfaction for your team. Contact us at email@example.com
Want personalized advice for how to take your hybrid team to the next level? Complete our Hybrid Team Performance Survey and get a FREE 45-minute consultation with our training team!
A year ago, I would have had an incredibly difficult time imagining a set of circumstances that would have kept me from a dear friend’s funeral. Yet, that’s exactly what happened when I recently found myself unable to attend due to COVID-19 restrictions. As I mourned this loss in my own way, it also made me pause and reflect on just how much the Coronavirus pandemic is wearing on us emotionally.
American workers spend a lot of time in meetings – an average of 6 hours per week by some estimates, with the total number of weekly meetings across the country as high as 55 million. At the same time, nearly half of all meetings are rated as “poor” by employees, meaning they walk away feeling as though their time has been wasted and little was accomplished. (Verizon)