Best Practices for Leading a Hybrid Workforce

 

According to Upwork, 22% of the U.S. workforce will be working remotely by 2025. Building a successful long-term strategy for your team’s hybrid work structure requires adaptability and creativity. To remain competitive, organizational cultures need to incorporate what employees are looking for—which in today’s world means a hybrid work schedule. For managers navigating this new terrain, it’s essential to adopt new best practices that cultivate productivity, collaboration, and employee well-being. In this blog, we’ll discuss four critical points when it comes to leading in a new hybrid work model.

 

Embrace Flexibility While Setting Firm Expectations

The most important component in managing a hybrid team is setting firm expectations which will enable effective flexibility. Once a team is aware of the expectations, they should be empowered to execute their job as they see fit with the flexibility to manage their day accordingly. To establish accountability and mutual respect, managers should set clear expectations regarding active work hours and availability, deadlines and turnaround times, and communication preferences. Keep in mind that the needs of your team may evolve over time. Stay adaptable to changing circumstances and be willing to adjust your approach to ensure the ongoing success of your hybrid workforce.

Additionally, success in a hybrid work model should be measured by outcomes rather than hours worked. Just because an employee is physically present, doesn’t mean they are productive. A study conducted by Stanford University found that remote workers are 13% more productive compared to their in-office counterparts. Embracing a results-oriented approach not only enhances productivity but also fosters a culture of trust and autonomy within the team.

To do this, set key performance indicators (KPI) and deadlines for each role, project, or task, and then let your team execute as they see fit. Don’t track their productivity or efficiency, but rather focus on if the KPI is met within the allotted timeframe. Rely on one-on-one or team meetings to keep track of status’ and adjust expectations as needed and make reasonable accommodations.

 

Leverage Technology for Communication & Collaboration

Your hybrid team is only as effective as the technology and infrastructure that managers have in place. Ensure that employees have remote access to all the resources and support they need to effectively perform their jobs, including equipment, training, and opportunities for professional development.

For example, implement a project management tool like Asana or Trello to track tasks and deadlines, allowing both remote and in-office employees to stay organized and updated on project progress. Consider exclusively using in-app communication tools to keep all approvals and feedback contained to a single platform (As a bonus, this allows for transparency and accountability with time stamps of actions.)

 

Foster Trust Through Inclusivity & Teamwork

Teams with high levels of trust are 50% more productive and have higher levels of employee engagement. Building trust among team members is especially important to the success of a hybrid work model. When a team is not physically together, a manager needs to be intentional and creative with their efforts to create strong manager-employee relationships and greater team bonding.

For example, employee accomplishments may often go unseen when working remotely. Managers can create a positive environment and empower employees by regularly sharing individual accomplishments with the greater team through email or chat.

Moreover, investing in team-building activities, both virtual and in-person, can strengthen interpersonal connections and reinforce a sense of belonging. Aim for a fun in-person activity at least quarterly, such as an off-site happy hour or sports game, and brief, low-key engagement monthly, such as the virtual trivia game, Kahoots, or a round of “Two Truths and a Lie” after a meeting.

 

Getting Team Buy-In

The most alluring part of remote work is the increased work-life balance. The U.S. Career Institute found that remote workers saved an average of 55 minutes per day by avoiding the commute to work and saved up to $12,000 each year by reducing expenses such as gas, clothing, and eating out for lunch. These benefits are hardly insignificant and can make it challenging to receive buy-in from employees to transition from a fully remote to a hybrid schedule.

The most effective way to earn buy-in is to have your team build their own return-to-office plan. If possible, offer 1-3 management-approved plans for the team to choose from. Working two to three days in the office proves to be the most beneficial for employee engagement, and depending on business or positions, an asynchronous schedule where employees can work on their own time may work best.

As a best practice, give employees at least 30 days’ notice on the first in-office day so they have time to plan and adjust. To ensure alignment, communicate the plan in writing and include specific details including dates, times, locations, seating plans, dress codes, and any new policies related to productivity expectations, technology, and teamwork.

 

Managing a hybrid workforce effectively requires a blend of clear communication, flexibility, and a commitment to inclusivity and support. By taking these aspects into consideration, you can create a productive work environment that meets the needs of the company and your employees, As the workplace continues to evolve, embracing the strategies discussed here will help you navigate the complexities of hybrid work and lead your team to success.


Are you growing or restructuring your hybrid team? We can help!

Top Stack offers custom staffing services for employers seeking efficient and effective hiring solutions. We specialize in connecting employers with a vast network of highly qualified talent for Finance & Accounting, Technology, Marketing, and Supply Chain positions for direct hire, contract, and contract-to-hire roles.

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