10 Practices You Should Know About Hybrid Collaboration At Work

When the lockdowns began, not many of us were working from home. However, a few months later, the majority of the employees were working in a remote setup. Meanwhile, there was a panic to put systems in place that would enable individuals to work from anywhere (or at least maintain hybrid collaboration at work).

Surprisingly, many organizations made it through the shift. And, for the major part, predictions of reduced productivity as a result of a completely remote workforce were incorrect.

In reality, according to a 2020 Mercer survey on flexible work, 94 percent of businesses indicated productivity remained stable or improved after the lockdown.

Companies and HR directors are now facing a new dilemma as more employees return to traditional workplaces: How to enable hybrid collaboration at work?

Data supports the notion that the hybrid work trend is the future: According to Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index, 73 percent of employees desire more freedom, and 67 percent want more in-person interaction and cooperation after the pandemic.

In many ways, ensuring hybrid collaboration at work is more difficult to manage than an all-remote or all-in-person team. It is why firms must develop successful hybrid work practices.

As said earlier as well, many businesses have stated that they want employees to be working back in the office (partly, if not completely) due to a potential loss of company culture and feared decreased collaboration.

According to the Gartner 2021 Survey regarding hybrid collaboration at work, nearly 70% of HR professionals are more concerned about employee collaboration now than they were ever before (precisely before the pandemic began.)

This blog post brings you hybrid work environment best practices to implement better collaboration at work.

Practices For Effectively Working In A Hybrid Environment

1. Ensure that everyone is on the same page

Don’t be hesitant to over-communicate with a remote team.

You don’t want to make the mistake of assuming something and unintentionally slowing your project as a result.

It’s also important to remember that tone, facial expressions, and gestures do not transfer in chats or emails, so be specific in your directions.

Clearly define roles and duties at the start of a project.

When employees understand their deliverables and how their work affects the rest of the project and team, things are less likely to slide through the cracks. It also helps to hold people accountable while also reducing possible finger-pointing if something goes wrong.

Additionally, post information such as organizational charts and crucial deadlines where everyone can see it.

Set a check-in frequency, like weekly or bi-weekly, and decide which communication platforms to use for specific projects: Perhaps a weekly WorkHub Connect’s video session on a near-deliverable project.

Finally, be open and honest.

Being honest about everything lets everyone feel like they’re a part of the team. If something goes wrong, make it public to everyone’s notice right away so that everyone can work together to remedy the situation.

2. Cut unnecessary meetings, so remote teams stay involved more

Cut unnecessary meetings, so remote teams stay involved more

You’ve probably seen the meme, “This meeting might have been an email.”

Many meetings are pointless, especially those held to prepare for later meetings. However, some are still vital, so take advantage of them!

With your remote teams, there are the following few things you can do to keep the structure, establish the tone, and make everyone feel involved:

A daily check-in meeting allows everyone to communicate their goals for the day as well as any barriers that need to be removed.

Face-to-face video chats on a regular basis hold employees responsible for team goals.

Moreover, incorporate team meals or activities into lengthier projects because it allows workers to connect outside of the workplace and creates friendship.

Lastly, you can also leverage technology to reduce the number of meetings. So, rather than holding another status meeting, send a message on WorkHub Connect to your team with the latest update or request approvals and feedback on a shared document.

3. Make room for both synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (not real-time) collaboration.

Make room for both synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (not real-time) collaboration

When you consider hybrid communication in the workplace, organizations must consider not only where teams are situated and distributed but also if employees are working together in synchronization or not.

In this regard, live videoconferencing can be a very beneficial method of collaboration.

Employees in a hybrid environment, on the other hand, do not have to be working at the same time to work ‘together.’

Additionally, there are occasions when it is preferable to share documents offline, such as before critical meetings, which guarantees that participants may process the information at their convenience rather than having to deal with new information in real-time.

So, collaborative workspaces should be designed to support both synchronous and asynchronous workflow.

4. Use technology to promote hybrid collaboration at work

When people work together in a physical area, there are countless opportunities for unexpected interactive collaboration.

Managers in a mixed work environment must offer opportunities for employees to engage informally with one another. However, in a hybrid setup, if not handled carefully, planned surprises may not work as expected.

You can create dedicated locations or channels, including on social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or maybe on WorkHub Connect, where individuals can hold chats, share images, or catch up on the latest business news. And it is one way to encourage ‘water-cooler’ moments (see here if you are not familiar with the term water-cooler).

This can make employees feel better connected and can also help inspire some fantastic ideas and foster a healthy workplace dynamic.

A strong team chat tool can assist in getting team interactions started. Such apps are similar to reaching over to a colleague’s desk, which provides an informal, enjoyable, and simple method to interact.

You can also offer informal dedicated hours. Such hours are dedicated to discussions, which can help in the transition from formal team catch-ups to informal dialogues, encouraging the remote participants to engage with their in-office counterparts.

In this regard, members might be requested to provide advice on specific themes, participate in remote team-building events, or brainstorm together.

5. Give people some space

According to Nadella, hybrid work is most successful when the team’s immediate boss creates the correct tone.

The manager of the team should allow employees to create a schedule that supports their non-work activities.

Managers should particularly allow teams to work outside of the usual 9-to-5 framework. For example, a worldwide team might stop working at 5 p.m. Boston time to allow some team members to spend time with family before returning to work later, say, at 9 p.m., after children have gone to bed while their colleagues in India have begun their work day.

Business executives should also respect team break times.

For example, if teams opt not to work over the weekend, managers should avoid sending emails over the weekends. Or they may schedule their delivery for Monday to avoid team members feeling obligated to respond during their vacation time.

7. Move new staff to hybrid work

Business leaders must urge their managers to coordinate new employee onboarding. But this is a significant difference from before the pandemic when people in roles such as human resources and information technology helped with new employee onboarding.

Microsoft provides management approaches and technology to help organizations in being “the full-service concierge” for onboarding new employees to hybrid work, as described by Nadella.

He further claims that Microsoft’s Framework, Coach, Care managerial structure, and its Viva experience platform, for example, can support such onboarding for hybrid collaboration at work.

8. Perform a soft relaunch

When workplaces shut in March 2020, there was hardly enough time to ensure that individuals had the tools they needed to work from home, let alone develop best practices for remote work.

Now, nevertheless, is an excellent moment for businesses to come up with a strategy to implement hybrid collaboration at work.

As part of the strategy, employees can debate how their company’s hybrid work environment will appear and what role they will play in it. It is also suggested that each department or group create its own team communication strategy, which may include the following:

  • An agreement that defines how team members will approach the hybrid experience individually and collectively.
  • A strategy that takes into account team members’ specific circumstances, such as family obligations, commutes, or other individual matters, as well as their chosen work styles.
  • Guidelines that ensure remote workers can contribute to decisions and provide feedback on hybrid working.
  • Expectations for response times and communication tools that team members should adopt.
  • A basic timetable that allows for flexibility while also including core hours for collaboration.

9. Interactions scheduled on purpose

Working in the same office affords several opportunities for both unplanned and planned interactions. 

People converse while taking the lift or while waiting for a meeting to begin. They eat a meal together or go out for drinks after work: Such cross-departmental contacts frequently inspire brilliant ideas.

Those exchanges can still occur in a hybrid workforce, but they need to be more intentional. Meaning that you need to schedule the ‘water-cooler chat’ time. The importance of encouraging connectedness and joy at work is therefore emphasized.

Other suggestions for developing better hybrid collaboration at work include the following:

better hybrid collaboration at work

a) Non-meeting meetings should be held

Non-meeting meetings are occasions when a boss and an employee, or even two colleagues, can talk. These meetings should run between five and thirty minutes and should essentially have no agenda.

b) Make more connections

Collaboration entails more than just workers within the same team or at similar job levels performing together well.

Identify cultural advocates and form “Kaizen” teams of employees from all levels of the company dedicated to improving business procedures.

Relevantly, the Kaizen idea, which refers to gradual and continuous development, was established in the 1980s by an effective Japanese organizational consultant.

c) Reconsider the office’s function

Prior to the epidemic, the office was a place for both collaboration and solo work.

For hybrid collaboration at work, the workplace may need to shift its focus more toward collaboration.

Companies, for example, may expect staff to participate in quarterly all-staff training sessions and meetings but not simply sit on their seats five days a week and do work that they could easily accomplish at home.

d) Bring the good times

The ability of employees to maintain social relationships has been crucial in making hybrid collaboration at work successful.

Keeping staff engaged has always been one of the company’s primary initiatives. And this requires designing activities in which both in-person and remote employees can participate by utilizing tools that allow people to share screens in real-time and chat.

10. Accept Vulnerability

The pandemic created an imbalance between home and work.

It gives insight into the private lives of coworkers as they went about their work while balancing barking dogs, inadequate child care, a public health crisis, and overcrowded accommodations.

Basically, we were able to see each other’s puppies and lunch. Furthermore, we partied by doing loads of laundry in between meetings and wearing goofy hats to surprise someone on their birthday (and that whole thing happened through our laptops).

It also implies that the decision to implement remote and then hybrid improved the relationships between its members.

In conclusion, a healthy professional line between work and home life is crucial in the workplace. Furthermore, one beneficial result of the epidemic was that it broke down boundaries between members of the team and between employees and managers.

Accepting the Vulnerability of hybrid collaboration at work helps counter the negative impact of hybrid working.

How WorkHub helps you implement successful hybrid collaboration at work?

How WorkHub helps you implement successful hybrid collaboration at work

WorkHub provides solutions that facilitate both types of communication (synchronous and asynchronous), allowing your teams to stay connected across different work hours and time zones.

One of its solutions, WorkHub Connect, comes with the ability to allow screen sharing during video conversations as well as recording important meetings for later use. It also allows you to create rather informal channels so your team can have a break from all the professional stuff.

It also comes with other tools that play a significant role in making teams working remotely and from the office collaborate and connect better.

Precisely, WorkHub is specifically built to make hybrid collaboration at work a success.

You can learn more about WorkHub and the wonders that it does concerning hybrid work by booking a free demo here.