Due to the rapid rise of COVID-19 infections in the UK, at 8pm on Monday the 23rd of March 2020 the British Prime Minister ordered a national lockdown. Similar instructions came from many leaders around the world and soon a high percentage of the global workforce was finding for the first time that they were now going to be working from home.
Over twelve months later, with the help of mass rollouts of the new COVID vaccines, the world is now planning to cautiously open up. The unique challenge that companies now face is that their employees are now used to the convenience of working at home and many do not wish to return to that daily commute and working in an office five days a week, they want a hybrid working approach. Organisations too can see the benefit of their people working in this new hybrid world, although they are approaching it with trepidation.
During the last year, concerns have been raised about the challenges of both remote and hybrid working to teams and individuals. Let’s address a couple of the top issues here.
If I can’t see them, how can I trust the team that they are actually working?
I remember the saying, ‘shirking from home’ instead of working from home. Both last year and the near future lots of managers have struggled with getting the right balance between giving their team the space to get on with their work and needing to know exactly what they are working on each day and potentially coming across as a micromanager.
To help resolve this issue, we shared the following approach, with the leaders that we have worked with. Hold regular team meetings, approximately 15/30 minutes in length, on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays. The agenda is simple. If this is your first meeting ask each attendee, including yourself, one at a time the following:
- What are you working on today and tomorrow?
- Are there any blockers/things that could prevent you from achieving your goals?
For every subsequent meeting ask this additional question:
- How did you get on with your tasks over the last two days?
- Repeat the previous two questions.
This approach will give that balance between giving your people space to work and the need to know what they are working on.
How do we build/maintain team spirit when we are working remotely?
This is a common question as when teams are working together in the same location both the team communication and team spirit will tend to grow organically. So how do leaders replicate this organic growth when our team are working remotely/hybrid?
First, leaders often default to trying to solve these types of problems themselves, but they have a whole team, filled with the best people that money can buy to help them. So, get the team involved in the solution. Ask them the question – how can we build/maintain our team spirit in this remote/hybrid world and listen to their thought and ideas? Don’t be put off if it doesn’t work first time, or you don’t solve it the first-time round, it may take you all a little while to get used to this and come up with the answers. Have faith in the process.
How to lead hybrid teams when they are working in different locations – split between home and the office?
This is a common challenge both now and moving forward into the future as more and more companies, teams and individuals move to a hybrid way of working.
Typically, humans do not like change and working in a hybrid way represents a large change to many people. As with many other changes we have experienced we not only survived them but many people have found a way to thrive in the new environment. Although it may seem like a complicated situation to deal with, the approach to use is relatively simple and we can help address what leading in your Hybrid teams could look like.
Our top 3 tips for transitioning to Hybrid Working
- Hold the regular team meetings, to create the communication opportunities now missing. This will keep everyone up to date with what is going on and allow them to feel included in the team.
- Build team spirit with the team, not on your own. We would suggest taking this challenge to the team to solve. Some of their suggestions may surprise you. This also will help team members feel engaged and increase the team spirit.
- Start the transition to Hybrid working by engaging OnTrack. We can consult with your people and business leaders to identify the solution for your organisation and provide the resources, learning and consultation to enable your people to make the transition.
Please do call one of us to discuss what Hybrid working means for your organisation, we would be happy to share our findings and help to determine the best way forward for your people with a free no obligation conversation. Schedule a call with OnTrack today to learn how we are continuing to support some of the world’s most successful organisations.