How can your organization thrive in a hybrid work environment?

By Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder
Published: Apr 1, 2024
Thriving in a hybrid work environment requires a combination of the right tools, clear policies, and open communication. In this article we'll provide a quick guide to make it work.

Thriving in a hybrid work environment requires a combination of the right tools, clear policies, and open communication. Here’s a quick guide to make it work:

  • Embrace the Right Tools: Use video calls, chat apps, online storage, and virtual whiteboards for seamless collaboration.
  • Set Clear Rules: Outline when to be in the office, how to handle meetings, and the expectations for communication.
  • Ensure Inclusion: Regular check-ins and making remote workers feel part of decisions are crucial.
  • Focus on Cybersecurity: Implement strong online security measures to protect your work.
  • Adapt Leadership: Leaders should communicate openly, encourage feedback, and include remote workers in team activities.
  • Employee Practices: Maintain a work-life balance, establish a productive home workspace, and stay connected with the team.

By following these steps, organizations can harness the benefits of hybrid work—such as improved work-life balance, access to a wider talent pool, and cost savings—while overcoming challenges like collaboration obstacles and communication barriers.

Benefits of Hybrid Work

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Flexibility and Work-Life Balance

In a hybrid work setup, people have more control over their work schedules. This means they can fit work around their personal life, not the other way around. For instance, they can:

  • Stay home to look after kids or elderly family members when needed
  • Skip the long drive to work a few days each week
  • Plan work tasks around personal stuff, like doctor’s appointments
  • Take breaks to do something fun or relaxing, like walking the dog or going to a kid’s school play

This kind of flexibility makes people less stressed and happier with their jobs because they can manage their time better.

Expanded Talent Pools

With hybrid work, companies aren’t just looking for people who live close by. They can hire from anywhere, which is great for finding the best people for the job. This means:

  • Getting to choose from a wider, more varied group of applicants
  • Filling positions faster
  • Spending less on finding the right people
  • Not having to compete as much with local businesses for top talent

This way, companies can pick the best person for the job, no matter where they are.

Cost Savings

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Moving to hybrid work can save money on office space. With not everyone coming in every day, companies can:

  • Use less space
  • Talk about cheaper rent deals
  • Pick a less costly location

Even saving a little on space can mean big savings overall, allowing companies to spend on other important things.

Productivity

You might think people would get less done working part-time from home, but it’s often the opposite. Here’s why:

  • Fewer interruptions at home
  • More focus on important work instead of commuting
  • People feel more in charge of their work and schedule
  • Everyone’s less stressed and better rested

Having the freedom to manage their own time often means people get more work done.

Challenges of Hybrid Work

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Working together in a hybrid work setup can be tough because team members are spread out. Here are the main issues with teamwork and how to solve them:

Collaboration Obstacles
  • Less chit-chat: With some folks working remotely, there’s less chance for those quick talks that help come up with ideas or fix issues. This can lead to people working in their own little worlds.
  • Out of sight, out of mind: When we don’t see our teammates regularly, we might forget to include them in projects or share info across different groups.
  • Hard to schedule: It can be difficult to arrange times that are good for both office and remote workers to meet, especially if they’re in different time zones.

To improve teamwork, companies can:

  • Suggest using chat apps for everyday conversations
  • Set up virtual coffee breaks or game nights
  • Be open to meeting at different times to include everyone
  • Make sure everyone shares what they’re working on with other teams
Communication Barriers

Talking about complex stuff can be harder when you’re not face-to-face. This brings up a few communication issues:

  • Missing body language: It’s tougher to get what someone means without seeing their gestures or facial expressions on video calls.
  • Tech problems: Bad internet, noisy backgrounds, or not knowing how to use video call tools can mess up meetings.
  • Not as close: Having less in-person time can make it hard to build strong relationships with coworkers.

Companies can tackle these issues by:

  • Getting good video call equipment
  • Teaching everyone how to be on video calls properly
  • Planning times when the team can meet in person
  • Training leaders on keeping remote folks feeling included
Technology Issues

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Using tech to make hybrid work possible also means dealing with tech troubles. Some common ones include:

  • Internet woes: Bad internet connection or not enough speed can slow down work from home.
  • Equipment not up to par: Not having the right tools, like monitors or microphones, can make remote work hard.
  • Not knowing the software: Not being familiar with online tools can make it hard to get the most out of them.

Companies should:

  • Make sure everyone has fast enough internet at home
  • Help out with getting the right home office gear
  • Offer training on how to use online work tools
Data Security Risks

With more people working from different places, there’s a higher chance of security issues, like data theft or privacy problems. Other concerns include:

  • More ways in for hackers: With employees using their own devices, there are more chances for security breaches.
  • Weak home networks: A home internet that’s not secure enough could be an easy target.
  • Not following rules: There might be issues with keeping up with laws on how to handle data when using cloud tools or accessing data remotely.

To fix these security issues, companies need to:

  • Use extra security steps, like multi-factor authentication, on all devices and accounts
  • Set clear rules for how to handle and share company data when working remotely
  • Make sure home internet setups meet security standards
  • Check regularly for any security risks

Best Practices for Hybrid Team Success

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Collaborative Tools and Strategies

To work well together when some of us are at home and some are in the office, we need to use some smart tools and ways of working:

  • Video calls on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet let us have meetings no matter where we are. Make sure everyone can get on these calls and knows how to use them.
  • Chat apps like Slack or Microsoft Teams are good for quick messages and updates. Tell your team to use these a lot.
  • Online storage like Google Drive or Dropbox means we can all see the latest files and stay on the same page.
  • Virtual whiteboards like Miro or Stormboard are great for brainstorming when we can’t be in the same room.
  • Online team fun like games or digital get-togethers can help us feel connected.
  • Set simple rules for how we talk to each other online, like how quick we should reply or how to act in online meetings.
Leadership Tactics

If you’re leading a team that works in different places, here’s what helps:

  • Check in with everyone regularly to see how they’re doing.
  • Be open about what’s happening with the team and the work so everyone feels in the loop.
  • Make sure remote workers feel included in meetings and decisions.
  • Show how it’s done by using the same tools and following the same work-from-home rules you ask of your team.
Individual Employee Tips

For those of us working in a hybrid setup, here are some tips:

  • Have a daily plan that sets when and where you’ll work, helping keep work and home life separate.
  • Set up a good work space at home with fast internet and comfy chairs to help you stay focused.
  • Make clear boundaries about when you’re working and when you’re not, to avoid work taking over your life.
  • Talk clearly about when you’ll be available and if something’s in your way, so your team knows what’s up.
Cybersecurity Measures

With more of us logging in from different places, keeping our work safe online is super important:

  • Use security software on all our devices to keep the bad guys out.
  • Control who can see what with VPNs, two-step logins, and setting who can access certain files.
  • Learn about online safety to know how to avoid scams and risky situations when working from the cloud or using the internet.
  • Check our systems regularly to find and fix any weak spots that could let hackers in.

Following these straightforward steps can help our hybrid teams do their best work together, no matter where we are.

Creating a Hybrid Work Strategy

The back view of a person looking at a wall covered in various notes and images for project planning.

To make hybrid work really work for your company, you need a clear plan that spells out the rules but also lets people be flexible. Here’s how to set up a hybrid work strategy that does just that:

Set Clear Objectives

First, figure out what you want to get from going hybrid, like:

  • Better work-life balance for your team
  • Being able to hire top talent from anywhere
  • Saving money on office space
  • Getting more done

Make sure everyone in charge agrees on these goals.

Create a Hybrid Work Policy

Write down the details on:

  • Who can work hybrid and what they need to do so?
  • How often should employees be in the office compared to working from home?
  • Can employees pick their office days, or will those be set?
  • How will you handle meetings to make sure both office and remote workers can join in?

Decide if this policy will be the same for everyone or if some teams can tweak it.

Provide the Right Tools

Make sure all employees have:

  • A good internet connection
  • The right laptops and gear
  • Access to tools like Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams for working together

Managers should also have ways to keep track of everyone’s work.

Train Managers

A businesswoman in a white blouse smiling while looking at her laptop, sitting at a table in a bright room.

Help managers get good at leading hybrid teams by teaching them about:

  • Checking in with their team often
  • Including remote workers in activities
  • Solving problems that come up with hybrid work
  • Using tools to set goals and see how work is going
Promote Open Communication

Make sure everyone knows what’s going on in the company. Encourage your team to talk about any issues or ideas they have for making hybrid work better.

Continuously Improve

Keep asking your team how things are going and be ready to change your plan based on what they say. This helps make sure your hybrid work setup stays good for everyone.

By following these steps, you can make sure your team does well with hybrid work. Remember to adjust your plan as you learn what works best.

Conclusion

A side profile of a woman in a high-neck sweater holding a takeaway coffee cup, working on a laptop.

Mixing office and home work, known as hybrid work, can be great for companies. It can help people get more done, save money, and make employees happier. But, making it work well takes some planning and effort.

Here’s what companies need to do to make sure their hybrid team does well:

  • Use the right tools and show everyone how to use them. Give your team easy-to-use tools like Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams for chatting and meetings. Make sure they know how to use these tools when working a hybrid schedule.
  • Make the rules clear. Write down exactly what you expect from your team, like when they should come to the office and how they should communicate. But, also let them have some flexibility.
  • Make sure no one feels left out. Leaders should regularly check in with people working remotely and make sure they’re included in all meetings and decisions. This helps everyone feel like they’re part of the team, no matter where they’re working from.
  • Talk openly. Encourage your team to tell you what’s working and what isn’t. Be ready to change things based on what they say.
  • Keep your work safe online. With more people working from different places, it’s important to use strong online security, like multi-factor authentication, to protect your work.

By taking these steps, companies can enjoy all the good things that come with hybrid work, like reaching out to more job candidates and making employees happier because they have a better balance between work and life. It’s definitely worth the effort to get hybrid work right.

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Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder

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