As the restrictions are easing across the UK, one solution being offered to employees is the flexibility of a hybrid work environment. This means that some tasks will be followed out in the office while the rest of the workload may be done at home, splitting the week up between the office and home.
Building teamwork in a hybrid work environment is new to most of us. As we have discovered over the last year there have been many factors to consider when thinking about the future of our businesses, our employees, their needs, wants, productivity and well being.
When selecting the hybrid team it is first and foremost important to look closely at your employees. Look at the type of work each of them has, their individual personalities, their home situations and try to find a way to offer a mixture of solutions. Remember it’s important to be creative and personalised. The changes in the workforce are not ‘one size fits all.’
Hybrid working requires a significant culture shift and establishing new ways of working which will inevitably benefit both the company and the employees.
Here are some ways to maximise growing a strong, enthusiastic, effective and healthy hybrid work environment:
1. Be supportive, create team unity and health focus
Leaders need to be empathetic and approachable, they should model productive behaviours as team members will primarily take work cues from leadership. Call out and demonstrate the ability to time-shift for things like a sick child, a doctor’s visit and so on. Take time to have social distance or one on one video call conversations with employees, check in on them and ask them how they are feeling and how their circumstances are going. Try to find out any concerns or worries. The team wants to feel safe and cared for, and show them that we are in this together.
2. Organise a coffee or lunch break together
This doesn’t have to be done in person, it can be a mixture of both. Have something set up in the office while organising something else to be sent to those who are at home, scheduled in a time for all members to be able to attend and bring the team together. Just because half of the team will be at home does not mean that they need to miss out on a social gathering.
3. Organise online events, challenges, or workouts to do together
Organising events brings the team together. It encourages teamwork, boosts productivity, enables focus, and improves moods. There are many exercises to be found online however at Citrus Connect we do a weekly/monthly quiz night. The benefits we found from this we’re through the roof – stronger relationships and understanding of each other’s different personalities, increased relationships, and communication. Give your team ownership, make a few suggestions of activities that you can do, and let them decide/vote on which ones they are happier to participate in. Remember it’s just as important to keep this open for suggestions too!
4. Connectivity and communication
Make sure that you have clear programs and platforms which are used within the company for effective communication. Create group chats in which tasks and questions can be talked about freely. Create that unity virtually. Make sure to have regular meetings – group meetings and individual meetings. Encourage employees to reach out to one another and yourself when needed. Elaborate on how important it is to stay connected and unified.
5. Create time for a pitch day
Set aside some time every month or few months to allow for a pitch day, this can be anything from new ideas and routes for a certain project to how working as a team may be improved. You could set out a theme for the day to keep it structured and keep it open to anyone who has big or small ideas. The pitch day could stay anonymous and a nice incentive would be to offer a prize for the best pitch. This does not have to be anything big, maybe an extra half-day off or a voucher for a yoga class or something like that.
Generating and retaining teamwork in a hybrid environment is the absolute key to the effectiveness of the company in reaching its goals as well as the well being and productivity of team members. Cultivating teamwork success relies on a company’s culture shift, and it starts by understanding the barriers to teamwork, its benefits, and the tools that can be used to enhance collaboration and connectivity.
Create that strong, open, and connected soul-mate hybrid team and make sure that your employees know how much they are valued and how much they contribute to the success of the company, even when working from afar.
We will leave you with this snippet from the Harvard Business Review on “What Psychological Safety Looks Like in a Hybrid Workplace”, “Psychological safety — the belief that one can speak up without risk of punishment or humiliation — has been well established as a critical driver of high-quality decision making, healthy group dynamics and interpersonal relationships, greater innovation, and more effective execution in organizations.”