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Webinar Highlights: Top Strategies for Building a Hybrid Workplace
February 7, 2022

Here’s how workstream collaboration platforms like Workplace from Meta can help managers build hybrid teams that work for everyone.

Nel B, Senior Content Writer

Missed our latest webinar or don’t have the time to watch it? Don’t worry, we compiled the most important highlights here.

In our latest webinar, Bill Cushard, Executive Director & Global Head of the Future of Work and Customer Education Practices at ServiceRocket, began the session by discussing the frustrations that are occurring in the workforce due to complications of leading a hybrid team.

These new modes of work bring a unique set of challenges for managers especially when it comes to communication. The webinar explores common hybrid work challenges and five principles that you can use to help manage hybrid teams guidelines that you can set to drive effective team collaboration. Finally, we will show you how to put these principles to work using Workplace from Meta.

Hybrid Work is Here to Stay

One important takeaway from the webinar is the acceptance and understanding that hybrid work is here to stay. The pandemic has brought forward immense change in the way we work and manage our teams. This question of return to work has led to the great resignation, if employees are forced to make a decision, they prefer to look elsewhere.

Some companies have been reluctant to allow a hybrid work arrangement, leaning into the myth that work doesn’t get done or that employees are regularly slacking off. But a recent report from Gartner on the Future of Work showed evidence of companies making record earnings, even with employees working from home.

Innovation is Deliberate

The Gartner report goes into further detail around the idea that innovation is deliberate and that there are processes you can set up to do it. Whether you're remote, hybrid or in the office. Innovation happens as a consequence of us being deliberate about looking for the next iteration in our business model or products, or who we hire or what customers we serve as all kinds of things we can do deliberately.

Before Remote Work was the Norm

Before the pandemic, ServiceRocket was primarily an “in office” company with an “in office” culture. There were very few remote workers as employees primarily worked onsite. Bill himself was in the office every day for six straight years.

The immediate challenge was how do we make this work if we are going from office to remote or hybrid. Here are some things to be aware of:

Visibility:

When you’re used to being in the office everyday, decisions are made, conversations are had and initiatives are started in person. Employees are talking to each other everyday and can make all the decisions because physically, they are there. If your team follows a hybrid work model, it's important to be inclusive in the decision making processes.

Access to Information:

When working in an office, there are people you can ask, offices you can visit and files you can view in order to do your job effectively. When you are remote, these things become less obvious and need some extra attention in order to direct employees to the correct resources.

Instilling Trust, A Manager’s To Do:

Before the pandemic, there was a commonly accepted notion that if you are working in the office and you are visible, you’re probably working better and harder than others. But if you are in a remote world, how do people prove themselves? Managers have to be the ones that start with trust. We have to start trusting people to deliver on work and not be in the office the entire day, or chatting all day long.

There's just plain fewer opportunities to bump into people and build those relationships. We asked ourselves if there was something we could do to create the digital equivalent of the hallways, and Workplace really honed in on the solution for the future of work.

5 Principles to Effectively Manage your Hybrid Team

The Workplace report that you would have received upon registering talks about a set of five principles on how to effectively manage your hybrid team.

Principle 1: Communication

Communication is a two way street. It can either be synchronous (meaning at the same time in live events or meetings) or it can be asynchronous (people respond on their time and not right away in real time. Asynchronous communications is an integral part of managing hybrid teams as it provides flexibility but ensures employees have access to the information they need.

Workplace from Meta example:

Groups allow for every team around the organizational structure to come together in the group and talk to each other to enable knowledge sharing. You can compose messages, you can respond to messages, you can do videos, you can share images, all on your own time. The knowledge library is another idea for keeping track of publishing documents, procedures and policies.

Principle 2: Inclusive Collaboration

This principle goes back to the idea that if you are hybrid, this implies that there is some separation between those that work in office and those that work remote, even though we are all part of the same team. Managers need to design their workplace so that everyone on the team can readily participate. As a manager, it’s important to sit down with our team and create agreements and guidelines around how you're going to work.

Workplace from Meta example:

Leverage the “top of mind” posts, where everyone on your team, including you as a manager, does a short post at the beginning of the week and encourages others to engage with the post. Some things you could post about are; what’s happening this week, progress on a project or help you might need from others.

Principle 3: Team Building

In a hybrid environment, there is the sentiment that employees don’t have equal access to each other or opportunities to meet up. It is important to be intentional about bringing people together.

Workplace from Meta example:

Live meetings and events are a great way for employees to chime in and ask questions at any given time. Even though you can’t hang out with your team on a regular basis, there are still things you can do as a team to build your culture into a community. Some virtual events we have livestreamed here at ServiceRocket include a wine tasting, tea tasting and a murder mystery.

Principle 4: Balance and Trust

This principle is about having balance in our lives and allowing ourselves to set boundaries. It isn’t always necessary to make everyone aware that you are online. There is also the belief that if you don’t respond to something fast enough, people might think you are slacking off. As a manager, it’s up to you to set the stage that people can feel like they don’t need to prove they are online 24/7 and to set an example. Getting a snack is normal. Going out for lunch is normal. Taking a break is also very, very normal.

Workplace from Meta example:

Empowering your employees with the ability to set their own status, giving them the autonomy to say when they are available and setting digital boundaries when it comes to how you use your time during your work hours and what you are comfortable with outside of work hours.

Principle 5: Recognition and Digital Presence

This principle is really about recognizing and amplifying the work that people are doing on the team. Individual praise is an important element, however amplifying this across the team sends out a positive message to everyone.

Workplace from Meta Example:

One way Bill likes to do this is using a method called “The Two Cent Strategy”, where as a manager, you can ask your team for their “two cents” on 1-5 posts on Workplace everyday. These comments can be very valuable and provide fresh insights. It’s essentially making employees feel seen and heard by their leaders.

The Success of your Hybrid Team is Largely Dependent on You as a Manager

It is important for you to have a manager mindset. You are the one that sets the tone for your team. If your team doesn't feel like they can take a break or set boundaries or feel heard or participate, it's up to you to trust them and allow them to do that. Every moment of the day, it's up to you to take the first step and live it by example, but also set guidelines for the teams and then reinforce those guidelines.

Don’t miss out on our upcoming webinar, How to Overcome Slack Fatigue in the Future of Work, where we’ll explore hybrid work design principles that prioritize trust, inclusiveness and a positive work/life balance

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