While the hybrid work model has introduced unprecedented flexibility and work-life balance for employees, collaboration (or the lack thereof) continues to be a major pain point for hybrid teams. After all, it can be a challenge communicating with team members who work in different locations—and, in some cases, different time zones. Not to mention, the sheer volume of communication platforms can cause digital exhaustion or burnout, further derailing team collaboration efforts. Here are a few team collaboration strategies to make the hybrid work model easier.
1. Retool Team Meetings for Hybrid Working
With team meetings attended by both in-office and remote employees, it’s more important than ever to make sure you have a policy in place to ensure your meetings are as collaborative, inclusive, and efficient as possible. Follow these tips to give your meetings a hybrid-friendly makeover:
- Schedule well in advance, so all participants have time to prepare.
- Invite only the team members who actually need to be in attendance.
- Email an agenda to everyone ahead of time, so they’re familiar with the talking points.
- Ask directly for input from quieter attendees — both on-site and off-site — to promote engagement.
- Ensure in-office attendees speak directly into their cameras so as not to exclude remote attendees.
- After the meetings, send out meeting notes with clear, actionable next steps to all invitees, even those who were not able to attend.
2. Rotate Seating
To foster incidental collaboration and build relationships, take advantage of revolving in-office schedules by introducing a rotating seating chart that changes up where your team members sit on a biweekly or monthly basis. Aim to mix up desk arrangements not only within your own team but also within the department and organization at large to promote cross-departmental collaboration as well.
3. Set Limits on Meetings
While it may sound counterintuitive, holding fewer meetings can actually give collaborative efforts a boost. According to Microsoft research, the amount of time spent in virtual meetings has doubled since the start of the pandemic and meeting length has also increased. What’s more, 62 percent of virtual meetings are unscheduled, causing interruptions which, according to another study in 2019, can increase stress, reduce attention spans, and cause errors.
In an environment where meetings are a source of stress and negatively impact productivity, one can hardly expect team members to enter collaboration sessions at their best. Save meetings for when they’re critical, keep them as short as possible, and invite only those who truly need to be there. You can also designate a day of the week as a “no meeting day” to help your team increase their focused work time. With these policies in place, you’ll likely find your team meetings to be much more effective when you do hold them.
4. Be Intentional About Boosting Team Spirit
Without much face-to-face interaction with colleagues, it can be difficult to establish the type of camaraderie that fuels team collaboration. Not only that, employees in a hybrid work model can feel isolated and less inclined to work together. Here are some tips on how to help build better work relationships:
- Remind your team members frequently about the greater mission or purpose behind their roles
- Set exciting but realistic goals for the whole team that will motivate everyone
- Make team-building activities a consistent, integral part of your organizational culture
- Encourage employees to carve out time in their schedules to check in with each other
- Prioritize one-on-one meeting with employees to build rapport and collect valuable feedback
- Coordinate monthly whole-team meetings — ideally held on site — to ensure that
- everyone is on the same page
5. Invest in a Hybrid Team Digital Platform
Team collaboration in a hybrid setting requires seamless coordination between in-office and remote employees, making hybrid team software essential for the new hybrid workplace. For example, with a platform such as Scoop, your team can see who will be on-site and who will be at home, simplifying collaboration and scheduling. On-site team members can also book desks and make their seating visible to their colleagues, making it easier for everyone to find each other and coordinate in the office.
Team Collaboration Is Key for a Successful Hybrid Work Model
With employees scattered in various locations, it can be a challenge to maintain effective team collaboration. However, with these strategies above in your toolbox, you can help your hybrid team build a strong culture of collaboration.
For more help with hybrid team management, download Team Sync for free—the first hybrid team assistant purposely built to eliminate time spent coordianting schedules.