How To Successfully Collaborate In A Hybrid Workplace
If this pandemic has taught us one key lesson, it’s that the importance of social interactions and connections can’t be overstated. As we all transitioned to either a remote or hybrid work model, we’ve been behind screens that are sometimes states, provinces, or oceans away from our colleagues. And while it’s great that there’s been this added flexibility of working virtually from any corner of the world, there have been several challenges that have emerged as a result of this momentous change.
One of the challenges that many organizations have been trying to solve is trying to spark more in-person interactions and collaboration as restrictions and lockdowns slowly lift. According to Microsoft’s 2021 Work Trend Index, even though 73% of employees want a greater degree of flexibility in how they work, 67% desire a hybrid workplace that offers opportunities for collaboration and in-person activities. This physical interaction and collaboration is key to fostering creativity, a robust work culture, and productivity.
A Flexible Work Environment Takes Work
Though you might assume that simply switching to a hybrid workplace is going to automatically flip that ‘I’m going to collaborate more with my team members’ switch amongst your employees, this isn’t necessarily true. Employees need the support and structure to help them thrive in an environment where collaboration and teamwork thrives. We’re going to delve into some things you can do to create this flexible and collaborative work environment to ensure your organization thrives as it shifts to a hybrid workplace.
What You Can Do
Though employee interactions have become more spontaneous and sporadic in a virtual or hybrid work workplace, these following suggestions can help you create an environment that’s ideal for collaboration and teamwork.
1. Create a Culture of Collaboration
Before you do anything, ensuring that you have a culture that supports collaboration is one of the most obvious, if not overlooked, aspects of building a work environment that’s both flexible and conducive to teamwork.
2. Encourage Informal Interactions
Informal interactions, whether it’s water-cooler chatter or a quick checkup on a busy day, were important in helping strengthen the three C’s that so many companies strive to get right: culture, collaboration, and communication. If you’d like to build a flexible work environment that strengthens these aspects between your team members, encourage them to schedule 10 minutes of informal discussion either before or after online meetings.
3. Facilitate In-Person Meetings
As more and more employees crave flexibility and one-to-one interactions with their peers, holding once a week in-person meetings has been a great way to address both of these wants. If it’s safe to do so, nudge your teams to set aside at least 30-minutes each week to have a discussion with their coworkers, peers, or other stakeholders.
4. Use Face-To-Face & Offsite Meetings
Face-to-face meetings and interactions are critical to helping hybrid teams become more cohesive and collaborative. To ensure that your teams are on the right track, schedule periodic face-to-face meetings that are either quarterly, bi-annual, or annual events, which are incredible opportunities to focus on teambuilding, fine-tuning your organization’s strategy, and keeping that communication a two-way
5. Leverage Technology To Facilitate Teamwork
In this digital day and age, there’s really no excuse in refraining from using amazing collaborative tools such as Slack to help streamline communication and collaboration in a hybrid work environment. At billie, we’ve even developed a feature that helps streamline collaboration and teamwork in a hybrid work environment. Teams was designed to help hybrid teams collaborate much more effectively and efficiently. It enables this by letting you create team workspaces, seamlessly book and schedule these team workspaces on a digitally rendered floor plan, and assign users to different teams across multiple office locations. If you’re interested, check out a free demo to discover how you can use technology to collaborate smarter.
If you follow these suggestions, you’ll create opportunities that’ll foster collaboration and cohesion between your employees within their respective teams or departments. It’s a framework that you apply to ensure that your hybrid teams are successful as they complete their transition into a more flexible work environment. Normally a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for all organizations because of either the nature of their business, their size, and the resources that they have available, however, at least some of these helpful pieces of advice will ensure that you create the groundwork needed for a collaborative and flexible workplace.
Austen, M. (2021, February 12). This is how I encourage teamwork in our hybrid workforce. Fast Company. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://www.fastcompany.com/90604434/this-is-how-i-encourage-teamwork-in-our-hybrid-workforce
Baker, M. (2021, June 14). Collaboration in hybrid work environments takes intentional effort. Gartner. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/4-modes-of-collaboration-are-key-to-success-in-hybrid-work
Dishman, L. (2021, June 8). 6 steps to jump-start collaboration in a hybrid workplace. Fast Company. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://www.fastcompany.com/90644852/6-steps-to-jumpstart-collaboration-in-a-hybrid-workplace
Kerravala, Z. (2021, July 23). Council post: How companies can use collaboration tools to facilitate hybrid work. Forbes. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2021/07/23/how-companies-can-use-collaboration-tools-to-facilitate-hybrid-work/
Raymond Sy, D. (2021, June 2). 5 tips to make collaboration work in the hybrid workplace. reworked.co. Retrieved December 15, 2021, from https://www.reworked.co/collaboration-productivity/making-collaboration-work-in-the-hybrid-workplace/