How to improve collaboration for a hybrid workforce?

How to improve collaboration for a hybrid workforce

The hybrid workforce is here to stay. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a sudden shift to remote work. Though some business leaders assumed the shift would be temporary, positive discoveries about the productivity and efficiency of remote workers have been impossible to ignore. That is why, today, we are on the brink of a disruption equally as significant: the shift to hybrid work – a blended model where some employees return to the workplace while others continue to work from home. 


Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft says “Over the past year, no area has undergone more rapid transformation than the way we work. Employee expectations are changing, and we will need to define productivity much more broadly — inclusive of collaboration, learning, and wellbeing to drive career advancement for every worker, including frontline and knowledge workers, as well as for new graduates and those who are in the workforce today. All this needs to be done with flexibility in when, where, and how people work”. 


Hybrid work promises companies and their employees all the benefits of flexible remote working, with the bonus of regular face-to-face interactions and in-office productivity. However, there are challenges to consider too. Here are some ideas which can improve hybrid collaboration: 


  • Create and Maintain Clarity 

It is always important to offer clarity and information whenever possible. Gartner research shows that an employee’s understanding of decisions made by an organization about change is crucial to their continued engagement. Your hybrid staff should always remain in the loop. For that you can use intranet, collaboration hub, virtual conferences or meets. 


  • Unified Collaboration Platform 

For employees to collaborate in any environment, they should have equal access to platforms and tools, regardless of where they are. Hybrid work culture offers a unified environment where business leaders can support employees with access to the same process tools, contact hubs, and other valuable technology.  


  • Keeping Employees Up-to-date 

Provide your employees with regular updates and insights into what’s happening in your business and set expectations on how you expect them to behave, and which values you consider important. This will make them feel like a valued stakeholder of the organization. 


  • Recognition 

It’s easy to remember to give a pat on the back to people you see in the office. However, in a hybrid work environment, this could easily lead to an imbalance between the recognition given to different team members. With that in mind, it’s important to set up a recognition system that supports both groups equally. Effective recognition motivates the person in question while simultaneously reminding other employees of the behavior they need to emulate. Fortunately, there are various tools like “Connect” that can integrate with services like Microsoft Teams to support digital recognition today.  


  • Rewards 

Employees can earn points through completion of tasks, which they can eventually trade in for prizes when they reach a certain level of accomplishment. You can also keep a close eye on who’s driving the best outcomes for your company with wallboards and tracking tools. 


  • Competitive Environment 

Analytics will show you which of your staff members you should be thanking for their work. You can even create digital displays where your staff can check on their performance compared to their peers, allowing for an extra level of gamification and casual competition. 


  • Support & Feedback 

As companies progress into a new hybrid working age, it’s more important than ever for every employee to feel like a valued member stakeholder in their organization. Team members need to know that they can share their concerns with their employers and make an impact on how the environment they work in. Having a system in place where your employees can send anonymous or signed feedback is a useful tool in this regard.

However, you should also be holding team meetings specifically for the purpose of finding ways to improve. Take notes, record the meeting if you must, and respond to the feedback that your staff give. We’re in a tricky period of growth right now, but the hybrid workforce could be an amazing thing if teams have a way to build it together. 


  • Flexibility and well-being- pivotal for engagement and retention 


Recognizing and understanding the workforce’s diverse needs can be the key to employee engagement and retention. A hybrid model is based on the fundamental concept of flexibility. There is no hard-and-fast rule to stick to a particular workplace or work hours. It creates a win-win situation once employers understand their teams’ diverse requirements and accommodate their preferences. Flexibility can include choosing between remote and in-office work arrangements, depending on the roles and requirements.  


It is crucial to prioritize employee well-being and experience to prevent burnout. A common aspect that leads to burnout is not having boundaries between work hours and personal life. This aspect is a key challenge of hybrid work and is important for employers to acknowledge and understand. Moreover, conducting employee engagement activities involving team-building activities and well-being sessions, either in-person or virtual, can boost morale and drive engagement. 


  • Effective onboarding and continuous learning opportunities 


Effective onboarding has a vital role to play in having a successful and engaged workforce. It connects and engages new hires to the team and builds a strong bond. In a hybrid environment, employers must ensure that the new employees get a good onboarding experience and access to the required resources and training, irrespective of location. Whether virtual or in-person, an excellent mentoring experience is essential. 


Similarly, employees should get adequate learning and development opportunities that keep them updated with industry trends and skills. Regular training sessions and access to online courses boost employee morale and enhance engagement. Both are essential in the long run for the employee and the organization. 


Summary- The transformation to a hybrid workplace provides myriad opportunities to address both old and new challenges with key collaboration technologies. These technologies can provide reliable solutions for both home-based and in-office workers while also creating hybrid workplaces. The key to make this hybrid work culture work is collaboration of employees, and to achieve that, it is essential to find the right technologies, solutions, and providers. This technology must be highly reliable and easy to manage remotely, as IT teams will likely also be working from home. 

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