Hybrid and Remote Work is Here to Stay

As the pandemic enters its third year, every organization is developing its own unique solution to working. What’s happening at your organization? Are people going back to the office? Staying fully remote? Hybrid, with employees coming in on certain days? Can your employees choose remote vs. in-office? The possibilities and permutations are endless.

One thing, however, was becoming clear to Ashley — a team leader for a growing logistics company. For the foreseeable future, this is how work is going to be. Period. Ashley’s executive coach said to her recently, “People can do almost anything for a while — a year, maybe two. But how will you lead your team and develop a truly productive way of working for the long haul?”

“Good question,” thought Ashley. Her team had gamely managed virtual meetings, adapted to shifting project priorities, and dealt with all types of at-home working arrangements. She gave them a lot of credit for staying upbeat and rolling with the punches.

But there was always an unspoken belief that this was all temporary. We really all want to go back to September 2019, right? Ashley is a creative and enthusiastic leader. She developed a number of ideas for adapting to her company’s new (most likely permanent) hybrid approach to work. Her ideas included:

  • Defined blocks of no-virtual-meeting time to get work done.
  • Regular rotating schedules to normalize and coordinate hybrid in-office work and remote work.
  • Twice weekly rapid-fire virtual meetings for team check-ins.
  • Once-a-month virtual pizza lunches for everyone to connect and socialize.

For more, read “3 Tips for Leading Your “Forever” Remote-Hybrid Team,” from Arden Coaching 

One Size Does Not Fit All

Ashley’s coach noted that the effectiveness of many of her ideas depended upon the nature and personality of her individual team members. For example, are her team members more introverted or extroverted? Are they craving missed social connections, or do they love working independently and getting right to business in virtual meetings?

Were Ashley’s ideas what Ashley wanted, or what the team needed?

Ashley thought about this and realized that she should speak with the team about what they thought would help them normalize their new hybrid work environment. She further realized that it would be best to speak with team members individually — and invite written comments, knowing that some people were comfortable speaking off the cuff, but others liked to mull things over and organize their thoughts in writing.

Using this approach, Ashley and her team identified four ways they could improve their work together:

  • Everyone loved the idea of establishing “no-meeting-zones” — agreed upon blocks of time reserved for getting things done
  • Gratitude Thursdays! At the beginning of every Thursday staff meeting, the team decided to spend about 15 minutes talking about how they were feeling, what’s going on in their life, and what they especially appreciate this week.
  • Team members wanted written agendas for all meetings to help set expectations, clarify meeting objectives, and improve productivity.
  • The team also wanted to better share their work schedules — so they would know which team members were working remotely or in the office during the week.

Not being able to “pop in” to people’s offices whenever she wished, Ashley also recognized that she needed to be more deliberate and thoughtful about how she delegated work. For more, read “Leadership, Delegation, and Working Remotely.” 

The Fundamentals of High Performing Teams Still Apply

And don’t forget, the basics of building high performing teams still holds, regardless of whether you are working virtually, in-person, or in some hybrid configuration! Read “How Is Your Team Performing? A 5 Point Check-Up.”

To learn more about creative approaches to building and improving team performance, and improving your leadership skills, contact the executive coaches at Arden Coaching at [email protected] or 646.684.3777.