How To Avoid Communication Gap In A Hybrid Team Environment?
The communication gap between the employees who work remotely and their in-office counterparts widens due to lack of communication
After working from home, remote work, or hybrid work has become a norm, preventing communication gap(s) in the workplace has become necessary.
Teams had to learn to adjust to their new surroundings. Along with that, the use of hybrid communication methods became the standard.
Then, in 2021, as employees began to return to work, additional issues emerged: The communication gap between the employees who were still working remotely and their in-office counterparts appeared to widen virtually overnight.
Meetings held in person may appear to favor those present, with those who a part of it from home reduced to observers.
Flexible schedules, which previously defined pandemic professional life, now frequently give way to traditional 9-to-5 workdays: Another communication gap in the mixed workplace.
But this does not have to be the case. The key to successful hybrid communication in the workplace is to balance daily encounters between office workers and remote employees while also understanding the problems that your team experiences.
We will discuss in this article how organizations can be helped avoid communication gaps while their teams work in a hybrid work setup.
The Hybrid Work Model’s Challenge of Communication Gap
Whatever your business or team size, the communication gap is practically unavoidable.
Because team members in a mixed work style may not always engage in the same workspace, communication issues will occur. For instance:
- Messages will not be received (or responded to) by everyone at the same time.
- Emails and chat apps do not always express tone or sentiment.
- People frequently switch to their own work preferences in the absence of guidelines.
Consider your own communication style: When working from home, you’re likely to rely on email and messaging apps to remain in touch more than you would in the office.
On the contrary, it’s far easier to have a brief discussion in person than it is to type emails and message replies when working remotely,
How Can A Hybrid Team’s Communication Be Improved?
Whether you’re in charge of project management or people management, it’s vital to overcome these obstacles and keep everyone on your hybrid team communicating successfully.
Fortunately, there are five basic, yet effective, tools and tactics you may apply right away.
1) Examine your present communication approach
Before implementing new workflows and communication techniques, it’s a good idea to evaluate your organization’s current systems.
To acquire a clearer sense of the present state of your communication strategy, consider the following questions:
- How are day-to-day tasks conveyed among team members?
- How do we generally share crucial information with the team?
- How do we have confidential, one-on-one interactions with employees?
- Do we include our remote staff in face-to-face conversations?
- Which tools do we use the most when communicating remotely?
- Can everyone on your team use these communication tools?
Your responses will help you identify the strengths and flaws of your current communication methods and workflows.
However, if your firm is like most, your present processes are likely to favor the in-office team members on your hybrid team. But don’t be alarmed. You can even make use of your strengths now that you’ve discovered them. And, as for your communication flaws, you now have the opportunity to work on them.
2) Inquire about the preferred communication techniques of team members
Whether they realize it or not, everyone on your hybrid team has a preferred communication style.
Some employees prefer face-to-face interactions and in-person meetings, while others believe a thorough email is sufficient.
Some people prefer team communication tools, such as WorkHub Connect, when working remotely. Others, on the other hand, may prefer the formality of a conference call to replicate the in-office experience.
This activity isn’t only about determining how your team members prefer to engage and communicate but it’s also about acquiring new perspectives on how effectively they support one another.
Because the demands of a brainstorming session differ from those of weekly check-ins or huddle meetings, the inability of a phone conversation to visually convey ideas may be a problem.
To conclude, you’ll have the insights and information you need to get everyone on the same page if you have a deeper grasp of each team member’s communication habits.
3) Use collaboration software and tools
The most significant disadvantage of most hybrid communication initiatives when working remotely is a lack of immediate engagement or continuing collaboration with their in-office counterparts.
The back-and-forth nature of email can become inefficient and time-consuming. Especially if the entire staff is occupied with a never-ending stream of reply-all emails.
Moreover, sharing documents that require comment on time-sensitive initiatives is also ineffective.
But by using a comprehensive communication tool for hybrid work such as WorkHub, your team’s work becomes much more dynamic and productive. Everyone, regardless of where they work, can share documents, answer in real-time, and feel like they can actively engage in meetings.
4) Compare synchronous and asynchronous communication methods
Most conversations in a workplace are synchronous.
Drop by the desk. Monday water cooler talk. The weekly conference room sessions: These are the workplace contacts that foster familiarity and team relationships.
Synchronous communication is frequently used to discuss sensitive themes, difficult challenges, or emergency situations where there is no space for misinterpretation.
But synchronous communication isn’t always an option for a hybrid team.
For a remote employee, it may be a problem of differing work schedules or time zones. Therefore, expecting remote workers to reply in real time might sometimes be more disruptive than productive.
Now, asynchronous communication is common in hybrid communication, and it does not necessitate a prompt response.
It can take the form of an email, a note posted in a project management system or collaborative tools such as WorkHub.
With fewer work interruptions and more time to provide intelligent responses, asynchronous communication gives hybrid teams more autonomy and allows them to plan out their day.
Asynchronous communication, on the other hand, can create a distinct communication gap for a hybrid team as some initiatives benefit from quick action or unplanned brainstorming sessions.
Additionally, isolation can be increased by a lack of in-person conversations or contacts.
Nevertheless, hybrid teams can establish a balance and gain the most by attempting to maintain a balance of asynchronous and synchronous communication and modifying as needed.
5) Establish explicit communication guidelines and expectations
Consider your team’s hybrid communication methods on a daily basis. This should be the first thing that comes to mind once you’ve asked about their own communication preferences.
This covers how they engage with one another, how they communicate with clients, and how they manage projects. For example, do employees communicate when working for the day using email, SMS, or other?
Consider your own tastes: Do you like team members to have a video-based meeting or just for project presentations to clients using WorkHub?
Leaders must, therefore, set clear expectations for the team’s hybrid communication norms. And, of course, some encounters benefit from the written documentation inherent in email, while others benefit from the body language or facial clues of a video conference.
Also, in a simple but direct manner, assign which communication channels will be used. For instance:
- Email is used for company announcements as well as early client interactions.
- Weekly huddles, brainstorming sessions, and client presentations via Workhub.
- WorkHub Connect can be used to have impromptu meetings or talks throughout the day.
- When assigning tasks, examine whether collaboration software and tools are readily available to your team (and clients) and whether there are any redundancies or overlaps with any of your hybrid communication channels.
Importantly, setting extra guidelines for how your communication technologies are utilized can be beneficial for a hybrid team. And this might be as simple as requiring that every meeting held in the office includes a video link so that remote employees can fully participate.
Using WorkHub, you can also capture client presentations or other important meetings and make them available afterwards.
After you’ve established the communication standards, keep your team members accountable for adhering to them.
Allowing team members to disregard convention or defer to their own preferences would simply add to the confusion and deepen the team’s communication gap.
The growing acceptance of remote work and hybrid teams has given today’s employees a whole new degree of flexibility and freedom. So, to get the most out of hybrid communication, we must all put in the time, effort, and cooperation.
But, as workplace technologies and techniques change, leaders should adapt to them.
How WorkHub helps avoid communication gaps in a hybrid team environment?
WorkHub is fundamentally designed to enable better communications between hybrid teams.
Furthermore, it is one of the most economical, if not the most economical, platforms that helps eliminate communication gaps in a hybrid team environment.
So it is an excellent choice in this regard!
It integrates internal and external communications to deliver a one-stop solution for all of your remote and hybrid communication demands.
WorkHub’s technology also combines external communications, thus allowing any external client to speak with members of the internal team.
Book a free demo for WorkHub to learn how its functionality explicitly helps improve communications in a remote and hybrid team environment.