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Culture & Employee Engagement

Team Dynamics in a Hybrid Setting: Challenges and Best Practices

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Hybrid work environments present unique challenges for maintaining positive team dynamics. With employees splitting time between the office and remote locations, building cohesion, alignment, and accountability across your entire team can be difficult. However, you can foster effective team dynamics even in a hybrid setting by implementing a few key best practices.

What Are Team Dynamics and What Are Their Challenges?

Team dynamics are the behavioral relationships that shape interactions between group members. This includes both relationships between individual employees and broader dynamics that emerge at the team level.

Some key elements of team dynamics include communication, flexibility, goal alignment, and the ability to handle conflict constructively. However, issues like a lack of accountability, cohesion, and trust among team members can easily lead to poor team dynamics.

When working in a hybrid environment, further unique challenges emerge that can undermine group dynamics if left unaddressed. These include:

  • Poor communication
  • Diminished opportunities for relationship building between team members
  • Lack of visibility into work progress
  • Increased complexity for managers trying to support a dispersed team

4 Best Practices To Improve Team Dynamics in Hybrid Workplaces

As a manager of a hybrid team, you play a key role in cultivating positive dynamics and facilitating team building by putting certain practices and structures in place. Consider implementing some of the following strategies:

1. Establish Effective Communication Channels

Clear and open communication is the foundation of good group dynamics. However, facilitating seamless communication between in-office and remote employees can be tricky.

Begin by establishing communication norms and channels that enable transparency and alignment. For example, you could implement weekly team meetings over video chat and daily standups or check-ins via instant messaging to ensure every team member is kept up-to-date.

Clarify preferences for different communication mediums to match the urgency and complexity of each message. For example, use email for informational broadcasts, phone or video calls for collaborative work, and instant messaging for quick questions. Overcommunication is key for a good team, so share more progress updates rather than less. Tools like Scoop enable you to easily organize and spread the word about in-office days where face-to-face communication can occur.

Most importantly, model the communication behavior you want employees to emulate by being proactively communicative yourself.

2. Define Common Goals and Company Values

Alignment around common goals and values enables the type of collaborative teamwork required for hybrid teams to function. Clearly communicate company values and larger organizational and team goals so every member understands core priorities and how their role matters.

Then, work with your team to define group objectives and metrics for success. Facilitate brainstorming around how to track progress toward accomplishing goals and ensure accountability measures. Shared values and a goal-oriented team diminish friction between team members and orient everyone's efforts toward shared goals.

3. Create Strategies for Team Conflict Resolution

Disagreements and interpersonal conflicts within teams are inevitable in team dynamics, even in well-functioning groups. However, unaddressed tensions can swiftly undermine cohesion and team performance.

As a team leader, you play an essential role in conflict resolution, so don't turn a blind eye, and hope clashes resolve organically. Proactively put structures in place to facilitate constructive conflict resolution when issues arise.

For example, you might establish recurring touch-base meetings where employees are encouraged to raise any tensions or frustrations they're experiencing or implement anonymous surveys to allow team members to report issues they may not feel comfortable voicing directly.

4. Foster Accountability and Trust Among Team Members

Cultivating a healthy workplace culture of accountability builds trust and interdependence between team members, which are critical components of team effectiveness. However, managing accountability across hybrid teams comes with added complexity. Tactics like status updates, progress reports, and defined checkpoints can help. However, take care to strike the right balance. You want employees to feel trusted and empowered, not micromanaged.

Leading with empathy and compassion is equally crucial for a strong team. Be flexible with timelines if employees are struggling with work-life balance. Incentivize helping behaviors between team members, such as assisting overloaded colleagues.

Model accountability in your work, consistently follow through on commitments and hold everyone (even remote staff) to the same standards. Over time, employees will mirror your behavior.

Foster Positive Team Dynamics in Hybrid Settings With Scoop

Facilitating strong team dynamics across dispersed groups is far from simple, but through intentional communication, alignment on accomplishing goals, constructive conflict resolution, and collective accountability, you can build successful teams capable of succeeding in hybrid environments.

Don't let outdated modes of workplace management undermine your hard work in building an effective team. With Scoop, instantly create shared in-office days right from your existing work tools to help reinforce rapport between colleagues. Hybrid teams will depend more than ever on the in-person time they get together, so leverage Scoop to ensure it's time well spent.

Get Scoop for hybrid work and guide your high-performing teams to even greater heights!

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