Hybrid teams: Post C19 Future of Work

June 2020

Last week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, in a forward-thinking, unprecedented statement, told his employees that they may remain working from home forever. “We want employees to be able to work where they feel most creative and productive,” a company spokesperson said.

Spotify with regional offices in 79 countries around the world announced they will let employees work from home until the end of the year. But many other companies struggle with the home-office workers’ productivity

A Gallup poll found a majority of American adults working from home would prefer to continue doing so “as much as possible” after the pandemic.

However, the downsides of work from home can not be denied. Trying to meet on Zoom from a kitchen table with children and spouses in the background is hardly good for concentration.

Researchers warned that problem-solving and creativity suffer when workers are isolated from one another. Isolated work can lead to loneliness and boredom. Remote workers have also reported they have had to work even longer hours. Building and maintaining trust in the virtual team and avoiding free-riding is a big issue for remote team effectiveness.

Hybrid teams: Balance is best

From all of this back and forth, neither extreme is best. Gallup surveys show that fully remote workers are among the least engaged of any worker, but so are employees who always come in. Just 30% of employees in both groups are engaged.

The general consensus from numerous remote work studies is that working remotely two to three days a week allows for a balance of collaboration (at work) and concentration (at home).

The Future office

The office of the future is morphing into something more organic, less structured and more focused on employee wellbeing. It gives people space to get away, to concentrate, collaborate, meet and socialize. It provides a welcoming, enjoyable, more productive experience, but attendance is optional.

The digital drive will continue to enable people to work from anywhere they want. More workers will also join the contingent workforce – working for multiple companies. We’ll shift to a liquid gig economy, as younger workers demand more and more flexibility.

The challenge

The new challenge for companies and their managers will be not only in optimizing the offices but also in optimization of the interaction between teams. Although, no one seems to be using real team collaboration data to design their workplaces. Companies should optimize environments based on efficient collaboration patterns and needs. Managers should be able to manage mixed-up teams and maintain trust through open communication to keep people engaged.

What might be the 5 challenges for hybrid collaboration?

Relationship Building

Organising people in hybrid teams can decrease the probability the people will meet personally with each other and will be able to strengthen both their professional and personal relationship.

Remote workers need to advocate for themselves more than their onsite colleagues

Due to our human nature, we are more likely to build relationships and align with people we physically meet every day. Team members may not be as familiar with those members not in the office. Remote workers need to be more vocal and advocate for their work in a stronger way.

Availability of the whole team

An employee may have a flexible schedule in terms of when they work, but they must report to a physical office. On the other hand, an employee may have the flexibility to work remotely or wherever they are optimally productive, but they are expected to work during specific times of the day. Creating alignment about working hours across all the team members may be more difficult.

Self-identification with the team

While regular teams often have a team belonging as a badge of honour, hybrid-remote teams don’t describe themselves as a team that much. For employees, it might be much harder to self-identify with a structure and team which is more organic and fluid.

Communication gaps and team momentum 

Informal conversations that happen in the office are hard to replicate to support alignment with the remote team members as well. Team momentum is hard to translate into a digital way and raising an objection from your home office into a face to face meeting is always difficult.

Still, it’s unrealistic to expect all work to be completed in the office all of the time. The office should be a destination worth the trip. Otherwise, can you blame anyone for phoning in?

Find out more on how to optimize your team and company set-up no matter where the people work from.

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Where does Sociomapping come from?

Our CTO, Cyril Höschl, PhD., and Associate Professor Radvan Bahbouh PhD invented Sociomapping, to visualize interrelationship data. This powerful science, also used by NASA and Army in the military missions, reflects social and team dynamics in a way the human brain can understand, and within seconds. Whether you want to develop a remote, agile, or leadership team, Sociomapping visualizes the current and optimal team set-up and reveals potential issues within collaboration culture.

Do you want to develop your team effectiveness?

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2020-09-25T11:15:46+02:00