Skip to content
team-hands_1920x1080

Six tips for managing a hybrid workplace

Listen to Audio Version:

What is a hybrid workplace?

A hybrid team is a group of employees made up of some working from home (or elsewhere) and others working from a central, physical office.

A hybrid workforce is now the norm for employers in the UK. Ever since the pandemic restrictions started to ease, many companies haven't returned to the full-time office workforce that was operating previously. In fact, in February 2022, 84% of workers who had to work from home said they planned to carry out a mix of working at home and in their place of work in the future.

Hybrid working has arguably been a catalyst to an increasing demand for more flexible working initiatives, such as the 4-day work week and non-linear working. Business leaders need to be equipped in not only responding to flexible working requests but managing a hybrid workplace effectively to protect team alignment and business objectives.

So, here are our top six tips for business owners on how to manage a hybrid team.

Flexi world quiz CTA

#1 Approach your hybrid workforce

Don’t just assume that a hybrid working model is what all your employees want. How can you find out?

An employee engagement survey or similar would be a great starting point, preferably organised by HR if you have the resource inhouse. Start with understanding how your team are coping both mentally and physically working from home, and what they would like the split to be.

#2 Communication is key

There is a huge opportunity to step back and communicate your expectation for the next few years.

Team communication has never been more important. Draw a line under what has been and demonstrate what you want to achieve for the business. Not only that, but what do individuals want to achieve for themselves?

Build time in to speak with teams and employees on a regular basis, in whatever way works for them.

#3 Technology is your friend

Simon Banks, TAB Facilitator in Leeds South, is also the managing director of Sampson Products Ltd and explained the four simple steps he followed to create a mobile office for all his employees:

  1. Provided everyone with a MacBook Air
  2. Partnered with a cloud-based management accountant who has transitioned us on to a cloud based accounting system.
  3. Partnered with an IT provider who has moved all our files on to a cloud based server.
  4. Introduced a more flexible working time and location, based on a trust that the work would still be done.

Using and introducing collaborative technologies, like Microsoft Teams, will make everyone’s lives a little easier when leading a hybrid team. Remember though, to consider how to protect your business from cyber-attacks.

#4 Introduce a new a flexible working policy

We've heard a lot of people using the term 'remote' worker for those in the hybrid team who aren't office based.

Jonathan Smith, TAB Facilitator in Aberdeen challenges the idea of labelling remote employees. Instead, he suggests using a phrase like flexible working.  Remote can create a micro-inequity of perception that whoever isn’t in the office somehow isn’t in the real business.

Here are a few more words from Jonathan:

Introduce a flexible working policy if you don’t have one already, to describe your organisation’s approach.  Stick to it.  People like transparency and consistency of treatment and a policy that’s adhered to helps.

A flexible working policy will also force you to be clear on what the actual requirements of roles are, so be ready: it might reveal gaps in your existing performance management processes.  That’s a good thing!  And the time and effort required to get it right will be worth it.

Flexible working guide

#5 Train your team and yourself!

Train people in virtual working.  There are many options out there.  For instance, virtual working can easily miss the casual chat that happens when people are in the same place and time zone, so build in time for that.

Beware of a negative self-fulfilling prophecy: if you find yourself thinking or perhaps even saying that virtual working is going to be difficult, try reframing it and start thinking that you rely on it.

Consider the difference:

  1. “For the Whizzbang product development, we’ve got a team of 3: Simon in the office, Elliot working from home in York, and Mags working from home in Harrogate.  I recognise the challenges this will bring, but I know you can overcome them.”
  2. “For the Whizzbang product development, we’ve got a team of 3: Simon, Elliot and Mags.  It’s going to be great.”

Jonathan Smith

#6 Get the team together

Introduce ways to bring everyone together in a virtual environment that puts all the voices in the room at the same time, building a consensual picture of how the business is doing as well as how the teams and individuals themselves are doing.

Get together for a meal or 'team day.' Just because you are managing a hybrid team, doesn't mean you can't physically get together from time to time.

  • Bosses could use the acronym CARE for conversations with people they haven’t seen in a while
    1. What’s Changed since the last time we spoke/met?
    2. Achievements have you had?
    3. What Requirements do you have of me?
    4. Is there anything I need to know about your working Environment?

Jonathan Smith

....

Conclusion

Some people really do prefer to stay at home, and others don’t. To truly manage a hybrid workplace effectively, business owners and leaders need to find out what is right for their employees.

Be compassionate, listen to their needs, value them, and keep them communicating.

Weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of flexible working for your team should set you in good stead for this new style of team management, and for your hybrid team to stay healthy and productive for the long-term.

Have you got more specific issues regarding team management? Our advisory boards exist so that business owners and leaders can seek advice over their business challenges from other entrepreneurs just like them.

Become a TAB member

team-hands_1920x1080

We've got boards running across the UK

Discover more by finding your nearest TAB board facilitator.

Latest insights and articles

How to Train Employees to Spot Social Engineering Attacks

24 May 2024 | 4 minute read

Stay protected from social engineering attacks with our complete guide. Get tactics, training, security policies, and technology to keep your business safe

The 4 D's of Time Management: Boost Your Productivity and Achieve More

23 May 2024 | 4 minute read

This is a comprehensive guide on the 4 D’s of time management and how to apply them to your business. Learn all about the time management D’s.

Time-Based Management: Definition and Strategies

21 May 2024 | 4 minute read

This is a comprehensive guide on time-based management, what it is and how to best apply it to your business. Learn all about utilising time-based management with this in-depth post.