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Hybrid Teams And How They’re Shaping The Future Of Work

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the idea of working from home has taken center-stage. Some companies have fully transitioned to remote working, whereas some intend on going back to the office after the pandemic subsides. On the other hand, many companies plan to adopt a hybrid team with both on-site and remote workers. This new model is transforming the way we work, and every employer, employee, and company needs to know about its strengths and weaknesses. This article provides a comprehensive guide on hybrid teams and how they operate. 

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What Is A Hybrid Team?

In a hybrid team, some employees work remotely while others commute to work. In some cases, hybrid team members can rotate between working remotely and from the office on a semi-regular (monthly, bi-weekly, weekly) or flexible basis. The set up isn’t static and can change depending on the load and demand. This arrangement offers flexibility, and the workers can choose which suits them best in terms of convenience and productivity. Before the pandemic, hybrid teams were mostly reserved for distributed teams. However, as a result of COVID-19, this arrangement is becomingly widely prevalent as many people are reluctant to return to the office. 

A Gallup survey showed that a majority of 59% of workers in the US prefer to work remotely. The remaining 41% want to work as they did before the COVID-19 pandemic. Another major factor for adopting hybrid teams is that workplaces are concerned about the safety and health issues if everyone returns to work at once. Hybrid teams allow them to maintain the necessary social distance. If executed right, this model can help companies enhance employee productivity and hire talent from all over the world.  

Hybrid teams aren’t exclusive to small companies. In fact, a growing number of multinational corporations such as Google and Amazon maintain their fair share of hybrid teams. In this digital age, hybrid teams are becoming more popular, and it can’t be denied that it’s the future of work. However, it also means that this model will face its own unique challenges and problems. If everyone meets in the office, it’s a lot easier to manage and collaborate. For hybrid teams, you’ll have to come up with a new set-up of management and collaboration.  

What’s Driving The Hybrid Workplace Phenomena?

Contrary to popular belief, COVID-19 isn't the only reason for the rise of hybrid workplaces. In fact, its popularity was on the rise for years, but the pandemic drastically accelerated its advancement. Here are a few reasons why: 

Cost-Effective

For every company, saving money is a huge priority. If you maintain hybrid teams, many employees don’t have to commute daily or live in pricey urban markets. With the reduction in the number of employees working in-office, you don’t have to rent out large spaces resulting in lower rent cost, electricity bill, and office utilities. It might not seem much at first, but in the long run, you’ll end up saving a lot of cash that you can use for something else. 

Flexibility

If the employees are happy, they'll be more loyal. With the kind of flexibility hybrid workplaces offers in terms of location, employees can choose the most convenient place for them to work, eventually increasing happiness and productivity. Some may choose to work from a co-working space while others feel comfortable on their favorite couch at home, but the work will be completed nonetheless. 

The relationship between the employer and employee will also be strengthened as the work will be judged on results and not the number of working hours. This also means that employees can work at any time of the day when they feel the most productive. 

Wider Pool Of Talent

Companies go out of their way to recruit the best talents, and with hybrid teams, this becomes a lot easier. However, if you’re are recruiting only from a particular area, it can be challenging to find individuals with the right skill set. Having a diverse and talented team is the goal of every company, and with a hybrid set-up, you can access the best of the best from across the globe. You don’t have to wait months to fill up positions as many are available online. 

Employee Prioritization 

The hybrid work model has allowed better work-life integration. Allowing employees to work from home requires trust and flexibility from the management side. These days, some companies have even provided their employees with orthopedic furniture, standing desks, and other office supplies to break the monotonous routine at home. 

A large number of companies are even implementing one on one meetings to check in with their remote working employees. This allows a company team to discuss essential milestones and update each other on challenges and achievements. 

The Best Of Both Worlds 

Perhaps the most significant advantage of a hybrid workplace is that you can have the best of both worlds. Working in-office, sharing ideas, and communicating is much easier. However, by maintaining remote workers from across the globe, you can acquire different ideas from a perspective outside the office. This fuels a company’s efficiency, and they'll be more capable of handling challenges. 

Hurdles For Hybrid Teams 

Like we’ve mentioned before, hybrid teams will have to deal with their unique set of challenges. One major problem is that since it's a hybrid team, a one size fits all approach will certainly not work. Since you’ll be dealing with two different types of workers, the old techniques of dealing with office-based employees won’t apply. As a company, you'll have to deal with a lot of trial and error before finding the right modus operandi. 

With remote workers, it’s quite common for them to feel left out of the company culture. In an office setting, employees can easily communicate and interact with each other, so they don't have to deal with this problem. In a hybrid environment, you must find a way to foster the employees' relationship and comradeship. There are various ways to deal with this. Regular meetings can be held in the office or online, not just for work but also to catch up. 

With the inclusion of an on-site and remote working team, communication can also get complicated. There's always the possibility that watercooler conversations will start all over again, and crucial decisions will be taken without the remote team's inclusion. To deal with this, remote workers must be updated via messages if any meeting was held in the office. For a hybrid team, you'll have to update the current rules and allow the environment to adapt to the new arrangement. 

Conclusion

The pandemic will fate, but remote and hybrid teams are here to stay. Since it's very different from the traditional office style, it's obvious that there will be skepticism and challenges as well. However, it's a model that has wide-ranging benefits and must be implemented if possible. It ensures that both the employers and employers are on track with productivity, commitment, and safety so that they can be the best in their personal and professional life. If you're transitioning toward a hybrid team and want it to be successful, you must consider both your teams' needs and find the right balance so that everyone will work in their best way possible. 

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