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Best practices – hybrid teams training

For many leaders, managing remote teams is still something they’re trying to understand how to navigate as it is relatively uncharted territory and mistakes in management happen quite often. However, with the steps to recognize and correct these errors outlined above, you can steer your team and your business back on the right track.

According to a 2020 survey by Enterprise Technology Research (ETR), the growth of remote workers in 2021 in the U.S. was expected to double. Technological advances and the pandemic have accelerated the transition from traditional workplaces to remote work; this is obvious. As a result, many companies have made permanent provisions for full-time or part-time remote work options for their employees. However, with this trend comes the challenges of knowing how to correctly manage your remote teams in the most sustainable and efficient way.

As much as you think you may have figured it all out, there is always room for improvement, so grab a coffee/tea, and tune in for a few minutes while we share some crucial warning signs that indicate you’re doing remote wrong, and what you can do to get back on track.

Managing hybrid teams training

Forget what worked pre-hybrid

Co-located traditional workspaces allow near-instantaneous communication with and between employees, as workers are able to physically interact with each other. A mistake many businesses make while managing remote teams is attempting to recreate this constant flow of communication in the virtual workspace with endless video calls and group chats.

These meetings take up several hours of the workday, and employee productivity can take a hit from zoom fatigue and other constant interruptions, leading to missed communication, and impaired focus. It’s erroneous to attempt to apply the same formula for the traditional workplace to remote work since they are two unique scenarios. Instead, it’s vital to evaluate your remote team’s needs and develop systems and processes that suit them best.

An approach many leading remote-first companies like GitLab have taken is that of asynchronous communication. It’s difficult for synchronicity to work 100% of the time among distributed teams, especially those divided by time zones. Therefore, your employees will benefit from a mode of communication that allows them to communicate without expecting immediate feedback or input from other team members.

An async form of communication also gives your employees more control over their workday. Asynchronous collaboration tools allow you to streamline your business’s communications with planners, goal tracking, and templates for async meetings. Communication asynchronously is particularly advantageous for remote companies with staff across various time zones, so work can keep going around the clock without requiring all employees to be awake at all hours.

Managing hybrid teams training

Avoid overdoing group communications

A paper published in 2020 by the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that remote workers were having 13% more meetings than their office counterparts. Although these additional meetings may not be necessary, they’re still taking place, and this is where the problem starts.

Managers often attempt to perform a virtual communication balancing act that allows all deadlines, communications, and project updates to be reported synchronously.

In addition, informal communications, or those “water cooler conversations”, which are vital for maintaining interpersonal relationships among your employees, are taking up a good chunk of time during these meetings, often derailing work conversations and forcing postponements or extensions of meetings, resulting in…you guessed it, more meetings.

On the other hand, you may be calling for more meetings because you do not trust your employees and so are forced to micromanage them (more on this in the next point). All of these can be extremely exhausting and distracting for both you and your employees, reducing productivity across the board.

Daily team updates work best

Once again, asynchronous communication provides a good solution to the above problem. Instead of having short meetings for every piece of communication, daily updates can be shared on an asynchronous meeting platform and reviewed in a single meeting. Ensure that your meetings are concise by having an agenda planned and shared with your employees beforehand so that everyone is on the same page. And, don’t forget to take meeting minutes – here’s some info on how to take minutes that don’t suck. There is no magic formula for managing remote teams, but there are key habits you can adopt that will help build your skillset as a great remote team.

hybrid teams training

Avoid micromanaging your remote staff

While managing a remote team, you may often find yourself crossing the line between supervision and micromanaging. Many managers struggle with working around the urge to micromanage. It’s easy to assume employees aren’t focusing enough on work while at home, so you need to check up on them constantly with regular emails and instant messages. You may even install employee surveillance software to ensure your employees are working when you think they should be. If you’ve gone this route, its best to re-think your management style, or, at least, know the laws and ethics of employee monitoring and privacy. Contrary to your expectations, using employee monitoring software will actually lead to a drop in productivity.

Plus, micromanaging can be very distracting for an employee, as they’ll often have to pause in the middle of work to respond to an email or do a requested task that may be unrelated to the work at hand. This type of managerial behaviour communicates a lack of trust in your employees, which can lower their morale, and create more work not just for your employees, but for you as well.

Aim for ‘accountability without micromanaging

This is the golden question.☝️ Knowing how to perform your supervisory duty as an employer without stepping over the line is something that takes some people years to learn. Zapier, a global remote company, encourages an accountability without micromanaging model of management. The week starts with managers having one-on-ones with their direct team, and, at the end of the week, everyone publishes a Friday update outlining the progress they made during the week and what their priorities are for the coming week.

This is a very effective approach, as it ensures good communication without the need for regular check-ins. Another way you can avoid micromanaging is by focusing on the “what” instead of the “how”. As long as employees are getting the work down, there is no need to follow them step by step.

Flexibility is a key aspect of remote working. Let your employees complete tasks on their own, in their own way, and in their own time, as long as it still fits within the company’s deadlines and requirements. If your employee is knowledgeable and skilled, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t trust them to do their job right, even while working remotely.

Managing hybrid teams training

Evaluate future hires in the remote working world

Business owners often assume that remote work and remote hiring mean much less work on the HR front, and that is not true. When hiring remote workers, HR needs to be well versed in how to evaluate candidates for the remote working world. For example, in a remote environment, written communication skills become far more important than the ability to lead a meeting, so, when hiring, this should be one of the qualities HR evaluates on.

Additionally, when hiring remotely, you have a greater chance to increase your hiring pool and look for more diverse candidates. Hiring people who look like you to fit in at the office Christmas party should no longer be a priority, now is the time to hire people based on their skills and culture-add, not culture fit.

Provide new hires with development opportunities

Many managers often overlook corporate training for their remote teams. This lack of development opportunities can make employees feel like they’re not valued, or that there is no future for them within the company.

The following are a few steps you can take to ensure remote employee satisfaction:

  • Design a comprehensive onboarding process. Ensure that all your new hires feel like they’re an integral part of the business. Establish rapport with them quickly.
  • Conduct regular check-ins with your employees to ensure they’re maintaining a healthy work/life balance.
  • Arrange team building and interaction exercises to make employees feel like part of a team. Invest in corporate training for your remote workers. Developing their skills will enable them to take up more roles in the business, negating the need for new hires all the time. Empowering employees so they feel like a part of the company’s future will pay off!
  • Using feedback from employees, reevaluate and adjust managerial styles and habits as needed to create a healthy work environment for your staff.

Provide all the software and equipment your diverse, individual remote workers require

  • Remember that your employee’s working conditions are your responsibility.
  • A manager cannot expect continuous output from them without any input on your part.
  • A printer is a typical example of the type of office equipment that certain remote workers may not have access to (immediately) at home. Of course, the office’s fast broadband is the most likely feature. This ommission will affect their productivity quite drastically.

hybrid teams training

Onboarding Deserves Special Attention in the Remote Work Era

A year of isolation and anxiety has taken its toll on millions of workers around the world. It’s crucial for hiring and onboarding teams to make these employees feel welcome and introduce them to their new roles with empathy and encouragement.

How to support remote working teams

More hiring professionals said training and onboarding new employees was a challenge in 2020 than in 2019. Of course, it’s difficult to imitate the camaraderie and natural interactions that take place in the office from behind a screen. But this doesn’t mean companies shouldn’t try. The remote onboarding process has to go beyond:

  • Training on digital productivity tools
  • Information about the company and the employee’s new role
  • focusing solely on logistical issues.

Finally, How to run a hybrid team meeting.