In our previous blog post on the hybrid work model, we gave a brief introduction to the hybrid work culture, the different commonly adopted models of hybrid work, and how work happens in those models. Although hybrid work has the potential to become the business world's new normal and in many ways has proven to be successful, there are some definite pitfalls to address. As we delve into this topic, we'll discuss how to overcome the challenges in hybrid work, and how to communicate and collaborate effectively in that environment.
Possible pitfalls in hybrid working
No proper hybrid setup planning
Planning is a crucial element in setting up your hybrid work model. Without proper planning, you likely won't be able to implement it effectively. Before rolling out hybrid work for your organization, be sure to thoroughly research how other companies are making this work for their business.
For example, at the beginning of 2021, HubSpot came up with a well-devised plan for how it would be adopting the hybrid work model in its offices. Employees were allowed to opt for a 3-day in-office, 2-day in-office, or all-remote work style. HubSpot also now offers location-agnostic benefits and perks, and this new model has been working well for them.
It's imperative to be prepared when moving to hybrid work. Since most companies would have employees distributed across locations in this model, proper communication and collaboration are key. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work, so you should analyze the must-haves for your organization, create a clear vision for your ideal hybrid work policy, and communicate clearly with your employees so that everyone stays on the same page.
The gap between working from the office and home
Working from home full-time or even most of the week might not offer the same experience as working from the office. Office-based employees are often exposed to unquantified perks and remote workers might feel they are missing out.
Another important challenge in hybrid work is bringing teams together and nurturing team bonding. When workers often work together in the same location, it's easier to plan team building meals and activities. It isn't quite as easy when those employees are distributed, but team managers can make the effort to plan and schedule activities like multi-player games and unwind sessions using online platforms and video meeting tools.
Not communicating enough
Since communication is the backbone of in-office, remote, and hybrid work, it's better to risk over-communicating and keep everyone in the know so there's no possibility of missing significant tasks or details. To make team communication stronger, it's essential to give your teams the right tools. Just as implementing hybrid work without planning will fail, your entire hybrid work setup is likely to crumble without the proper tools.
Communication and collaboration in a hybrid work model
Hybrid communication involves connecting workers at the office and in remote locations, and as we all know, communication is about much more than just passing on a message. How you communicate, and when you do it matters more. In the context of business and the hybrid work model, communication can be categorized into two types: synchronous and asynchronous.
Synchronous communication involves working together simultaneously, whether you are together or apart. For example, attending a team meeting requires the presence of all the teammates at the same moment to start a discussion. Video conferencing tools and audio calls are a great way for hybrid teams to engage in synchronous communication.
Asynchronous communication involves working alone, whether you are together or apart. For example, coworkers often use email to communicate regardless of the time or their location. You could draft an email any time you want and send it whenever you're ready. The recipient of the email can open and respond to it at their convenience.
Both synchronous and asynchronous communication tools are vital in a hybrid work environment. Since hybrid work involves people working from multiple locations, video conferencing and audio calls have become common means of communication. Here are some things to note while communicating in a hybrid work model:
While setting up meetings, double-check the proposed time works for teammates working from different countries and schedule accordingly.
Organize inclusive meetings to make sure all participants in the call feel valued and not left out.
Keep your meetings efficient and short so you can spend time on tasks that matter more.
Always have an agenda for the meeting. This helps your team save time and energy.
Set a target response time for asynchronous communication. For example, you can set an ideal turnaround time for team emails to make sure everyone can work efficiently.
Not every meeting has to be an official discussion. You can also organize fun chats or unwinding sessions.
Communicate better to collaborate better
Communication helps strengthen team collaboration in a hybrid work model. Employees should be provided with all the necessary communication and collaboration tools to ensure productivity. But how do you zero down on the necessary tools for communication and collaboration in your organization? It is important to talk to the employees in your organization to understand their requirements and the struggles they face while trying to collaborate with their co-workers. This is the first step towards streamlining communication and collaboration in your organization. Once you have gathered enough information on the required tools, you can opt for the tools that work best for you.