Hybrid Work Teams – Part II – How to Make Hybrid Teams Work

In the first article in this series about hybrid teams, we defined what a hybrid team is and why an increasing number of businesses are implementing that model. But who is using them? Small start-ups? Large corporations? The answer is … well … everybody.

Who Uses Hybrid Teams?

Okay, not everybody uses hybrid teams, but all sorts and sizes of businesses are either experimenting with, or have employed a hybrid team model.  Hybrid seem to be working for businesses who have implemented them. 

After the worst of the pandemic shut-downs, many large corporations have announced that they will continue to allow workers to work from home. These companies include Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Smaller companies can do the same (Bob).

Plex, a media storage and streaming company, is largely remote. Keith Valory, Plex CEO, loves this model, as it has created an environment in which his employees have easy access to him. This is no small feat, considering that his 80 employees span the globe (Flex Jobs).

While other types of companies may not find the remote model as easy to execute, with some creativity, a hybrid model may be beneficial. Even production company can implement a hybrid model by allowing some employees to work from home while others spend more time in the office with the product.  By alternating the hybrid team between remote and in the plant, this model can increase productivity, employee satisfaction and retention.

Regardless of the company size and purpose, a few basic things are needed to successfully structure a team using the hybrid strategy.

What is Needed for Success?

The Right Technology

Creating a hybrid team does require some digital infrastructure to make communication fluid. Owl Labs recommends considering the following technologies for success:

  • A virtual software solution that will meet the needs of virtual meetings, collaboration and  training
  • Home-based computer that’s connected to the corporate systems
  • Messaging and general communication platforms
  • File sharing and communication technologies
  • A strong internet to ensure all levels of communication is available without delays

Resist Micromanagement

A quirky downfall of the hybrid team model can actually be over-communication. Team members and managers may worry that their peers and/or employees aren’t logging the needed hours or don’t understand the task at hand, and as a result they send over-communicate via copious emails or repeat calling. This communication overflow creates strained relationships, leading to decreased productivity and increased stress. A hybrid model demands trust, but what that trust looks like may differ from one organization to the next. Some companies, like Microsoft, have moved to a more results-based structure.  They don’t concern themselves with how many hours an employee is working but they focus on the quality and amount of work produced (Andy Sto).

Define Expectations

The last important tip for implementing a hybrid work model is to define the expectations for each employee. Employers must be clear about how often a worker is required to go into the office, or perhaps how many hours a day they need to be available to answer calls or email.  Setting clear and reasonable expectations can prevent needless conflict in the future.

In our next article, we’ll get to the bones of the hybrid work model by discussing recruitment, retention, training, and expenses.